What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why Fewer People Are Sticking With The Parties

Cynthia Ruccia



As the year started off, we got this report from Gallup that the number of people who consider themselves as Independents is at an all time high of 40%. To me, it shows that people are finally awakening from a long slumber to understand that the ties that have held them to a party have broken. If 40% of the U.S. voters can't identify with one party or another or are pissed off with both sides, I see this as a very positive sign. The Independents are refugees from both parties and are Independent for alot of reasons. But the main reason is that the rhetoric coming from both parties has produced very little of what was promised, and people are tired of being corralled by the same empty verbiage year after year  after year. When I was a Congressional candidate in the 90's, we were taught continually that the voter must be treated with respect because the voters are not stupid. It seems that that advice is now very old fashioned and out of favor because the politicians keep treating us as a bunch of rubes, promising the moon and handing out crumbles of green cheese at best. Why do they keep doing it-----making those promises? Well, it's probably because we fall for the same old empty reassurances every single time.



But it appears that more of the American electorate than ever is seeing that what once worked in getting their votes isn't going to work again. I guess I'm not the only one who can't be bought off by describing the other side as bogeymen who will take your rights away from you and leave us with some kind of monstrosity that can't be tolerated. That kind of fear motivation is a lame tactic. We are taught in sales that fear motivation is the lowest, last tool to use to persuade someone. Why do the politicians think that it is any different for them?

I have come to the conclusion that the people who continue to adhere to the parties without question, that is the remaining 27% who call themselves Republican and the 31% who call themselves Democrat, fall into two categories.

First you have the "party hack" or "professional party member" for lack of a better term. These people make their living as party and political people. These folks have staked out careers at all levels from local party employees all the way up to the president of the United States. You have the people who work as bureaucrats, the political consultants, the elected officials, the lobbyists. For better or worse, these people MUST preach the party religion at all times in order to preserve their livelihoods. You can add their family members on to this roll call for obvious reasons. Also included in this group are people who must use government to make their businesses run smoothly. And then there are the academic theorists that provide the grist for message development. All of the above need a political structure in order to survive.

The second group are people who adhere to the party for almost religious reasons. They adhere to the party because they believe that the philosophies espoused by the parties line up with how they want to live their lives. There is a certain amount of idealism that must be present for the people who belong in this group. That idealism after a period of time can also be turned into an intellectual laziness. We humans are creatures of habit and once we form habits, they often become the foundation upon which we build our lives. The problem with that idea is that if we buy what is being sold and we build on top of it, it can be very difficult to change from those ideas even in the face of overwhelming evidence that what we had assumed was working really isn't. I call it intellectual laziness because it is much easier to just keep on doing what we have always done than it is to stay focused on why we decided to adhere to that philosophy in the first place.

And that is where we find ourselves in the evolution of procuring women's rights and women's parity. We have just stuck with one party or another even though the time has long passed when either party is paying much attention to what women really require to be equal players, a desire women have long had.

New evidence continues to pile up about the institutional sexism in both parties. First we have this report from U.S. News that two studies have confirmed that media sexism sunk Hillary Clinton's campaign. And one of the reasons that the media is so sexist is that they too have few women in their presidential press corps. Now you might argue that it was the media not the parties bearing responsibility for this problem. And that would be correct. HOWEVER, a party REALLY representing women's interests would have used its bully pulpit and been been extremely vocal about how shameful and wrong this sexism was. Very little of that was done because that sexism was used by the parties for their own benefit. That this approach has backfired is confirmed by another academic report as referenced in this article that 20% of Hillary's voters left the Democratic Party and became Independents mostly. By my calculations, 20% of 18 million is 3.6 million voters, not a small number, and certainly a number contributing to that 40% of the population that considers themselves Independents.

The evidence of sexism on the Republican side is just as bad. This article is a post mortem on the Michele Bachmann campaign, and reason number five out of nine as to why her campaign failed was sexism, pure and simple. It's a high bar that continues to befuddle women in getting to the top. Legitimate questions have been raised as to whether a woman could ever win in Iowa or states with similar demographics. And although many like to smirk about how Sarah Palin sunk McCain's ship, the opposite of that is actually true. Palin energized a section of the electorate that would have stayed home and not voted in 2008. I remember going to Palin events here in Ohio and they were jam-packed with people---------lots of women, and families, and fathers holding their little girls aloft to show them that they could dream of being president, just like with Hillary's crowds. I even remember the time I spoke at one of these events as a former Hillary supporter, and when I left to drive home, my pink Cadillac had nails in the tires. I always wondered if that was coincidental or not------but thank goodness for AAA!!!! At least the Republicans have never  claimed that they are the party of women.

All this to say that if people are leaving their parties and declaring themselves Independents, we women can use this opportunity to exact some promises from the parties about appointing and promoting women. After all we still have to vote for someone, and we are continually told that we Independents will decide this election. Let's make them work for our votes and not take us for granted. Let's get vocal and demand a 50% female cabinet and a female VP running mate. So what if we asked for it before and were rebuffed. Some people have thick heads and need to hear these ideas a whole lot more before they sink in. I still believe in the power of ideas and female parity is an idea whose time has arrived!!!! Let's go!!!!

15 comments:

  1. Where to start..where to start??

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  2. I just think we have to start where we are. Talk to everyone you know about a different point of view. You never know they will use the info even if they appear hostile. The more the word is spread the more it just gets into the mainstream. I know it seems so trivial to say such a thing, but nothing will happen if we do nothing.

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  3. We should inform them that independent feminists are watching to see which party(s) choose a female vp. Then we will vote...

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  4. AnkleBiterIdiotMoronBitterClingerJanuary 21, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    You have to keep talking and talking and talking about some issues. We win people over slowly, over time. And you have to keep at this whole meme of the "Party for Women," vs. reality.

    As for contacting your representatives blah blah blah, here is my situation: They are ultra lefty in the tank for Obama males who are all but lifers in their positions, and seem to reap a lto of financial benefits to. It is a total waste of time in my district in New Mexico.

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  5. Gloria Steinem was at Chatham Hall, down the road, Tuesday. Audience participation was encouraged. I told her about WW2. Also told her about our views about politics. Hope she will contribute to the discussion.

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  6. Gimme a break- - I have no hope for women voters at all. No matter how much you humiliate , or degrade or insult them -- they do dumb ass things.

    In 2008 they (the dem ladies) went back to the DNC after all they did to Hillary, now the Republican ladies landslided Gingrich in SC after he attacked the press for asking about his womanizing.

    Friggen women were more interested in beating up on the left wing press than over that cheating pig who stood there and called his ex wife a liar. They ( the righteous religious conservative women of the South could have choosen Santorum (for God's sake )but no they ran to Gingrich.

    Ya know - right now I want to just kick some women in the ass or shake the shit out of them and tell them to just not vote at all!

    As far as Independents- our best hope is Romney at least he is a Moderate which will stick it to the far right and the far left and he can win! AND I'm hopeful he will choose a woman VP. Newt won't , Santorum won't.

    If we want to change things we have got to break the Left/Right monopoly two wings from the same vulture- we have got to go with the new guy- outsider- non-christian and make him choose a woman ! We must have a female VP this time and neither of the others will do that!

    Let's mobilize for the NON- right wing NON Left wing candidate! Mitt is close to INDEPENDENT so the right says! Let's believe them!

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    1. Mitt Romney is not a Centrist or Independent--he is THE MOST beholden to the Corporatists; have you seen how much those Super-PACs are pouring into his campaign. But, specifically regarding his position on WOMEN, just go to his website and look at his POLICY POSITIONS regarding women. He is to the Right of Center with policies that are ultimately detrimental to women and my 18 year old's generation. The Christian Right continues to move the agenda of the Right.
      It's so sad that there are no REAL alternatives, and even sadder as I see younger and younger women accepting SEXISM as part of their daily lives. Media, t.v., the Music industry is daily bombarding them with misogynistic messages, and there is NO REAL ADVOCATE. Recent studies show the direct correlation between this phenomenon and VOTER APATHY among the younger generation of women.

      Hillary remains THE ONLY voice even addressing this message in our country and in the world.

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    2. I would say anonymous that in terms of the misogynistic messages sent our daughters, we need to look in the mirror to find the culprit. We women took our eye off the ball when we made a little progress and stopped working at solving these issues. We keep telling our girls that they can be anything they want. Really? Show me the proof of that? What are women running in our country? Not much!! We women need to step it up again and start using our voices. There are MORE OF US than there are of men, and if we would unite we could move mountains. Each of us needs to start where we are and speak up!! We need to do it in spite of the difficulty. Cause if we don't do it, we deserve what we get.

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  7. A female vp on the Icket would go a long way toward getting my independent vote even if the nokinee is the insane Gingrich. Lets make it simple. Woman vp gets the vote. Another man, I'm staying home.

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  8. I left the Democratic party after many years to be an Independent. I'll never be a Dem again. But I guess I have enough animus in my past to remember what a destructive force Gingrich is. But if he gets the nomination and has a woman VP on his ticket, I'd even vote for him.

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    1. I left the party to become a republican for the purpose of helping a young neighbor get on the ballot for town supervisor. I stayed hoping there would be a republican I wanted to vote for in the primary....oh well, forget that. I WILL change back to democrat because it fits me and also because I want to make sure all my votes for republican women register with the democratic party. If there were a woman's party I would belong to that.

      Teresainpa

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    2. Our Ohio primary is coming up on March 6, and I haven't totally decided what to do. I'm guessing that I'll vote in the Democratic primary for two reasons:

      1) there's a woman running for Congress who I want to be sure to vote for and

      2) I have a real itch to write in Hillary.

      We'll see if I change my mind or not. I don't want any party to think I'm signing up for anything. I'm still a proud Independent no matter how I decide to vote!!!!

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  9. There is not a chance in Hell I will vote for Obama or for Newt. So what I am wondering is what name should I write in. We should decide a name which pro woman people who are fed up with the sexism in both parties can write in and make a web site to go with the name. That would let pro woman people self identify and have a place to congregate. Also we should just put up various issues to discuss and vote on on that website which would both show the power of pro women people and develop some stats about what women thought was important. At first I thought Minnie Mouse however that name is copyrighted. So how about Mother Nature or Venus. Other suggestions are welcome. I will definitely vote because of the local issues but we might as well all write in the same symbolic name.

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    1. Yeah, how about Hillary? That sends a message. It says everything we want to say.
      I am still hoping for a third party candidate from the middle, one who is populist and reform minded and a feminist. Why oh why can't we have someone like that?

      Teresainpa

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