As promised, I'm taking up the subject of what we can do in November to elect more women. By the title above, I'm not implying that voter suppression is taking place to keep us from electing more women. I've just got voter suppression in general on my mind this morning. But before I go on, I want to remind folks new to this blog that we LOVE discussion, but we have congenial conversation here. That means that if you insist on character assassination, ridicule, shaming, name calling, nasty abortion talk, demeaning (I think you get my drift) your comments will be deleted. Sorry. We aim for a serious debate on a very serious subject, women's disempowerment. No exceptions.
First of all, in order to elect more women, we need to do our best to encourage everyone we know to get out and vote this year. And we can even take it a step further and get involved in any party's GOTV efforts (get out the vote) to get their voters to vote.
I bring up voter suppression because the efforts to voter suppress go on in both parties and I'm just feeling some ugly echoes from the 2008 election. The calculation needed in order to win is simple. Every campaign starts out with a number telling them how many votes they need to get to win. Once that number is established, a strategy is crafted to figure out how to get to that number. The typical scenario includes (but is not limited to) the following:
1. party line voters that need to be kept engaged, but if done properly can be counted on
2. poll tested slicing and dicing of the persuadables
3. care and feeding of the persuadables
4. voter suppression
So what we are seeing right now is a campaign of both sides balancing out the above activities to bring them over the finish line. It is particularly intense because the presidential campaign remains in a virtual dead heat so we are witnessing a real grudge match at this point and it is pretty ugly.
The Republicans are playing a more public game of voter suppression. For example, here in Ohio, there is an ongoing court battle initiated by the Republicans to tighten up the voting laws to their advantage, and they don't appear to have won very many rounds. Because of our very real ugly history of Jim Crow, rightly or wrongly, any effort to voter suppress on the Republican side gets quickly subverted into a racist message. Voter ID laws and changing any of the ways to vote makes the Republicans immediately susceptible to being accused of racism. Although I am sympathetic to the forms of racism in our society, I have also been critical of the use of the racism charge at every turn. The problem with the racism charge in this case is that although it may feel like racism, it isn't. It is a typical voter suppression tactic that is used against whites, blacks, hispanics, Americans in general. It is just one of the ways that a campaign is waged. How long are we going to have to pay for our ugly racial past? There comes a moment when we cross a line and go too far in the other direction and we are getting perilously close to that.
The Democrats are waging a voter suppression campaign as well in two main ways. First, they are playing the race card constantly. Everyone who disagrees with the President is accused of being a racist. Some like me have been called a racist for 4 long years for supporting Hillary Clinton and speaking out. I am not a racist, but I have resigned myself to the accusations as the cost of speaking out for what I passionately believe in-----the cause of female power and economic parity. How that makes me a racist I couldn't tell you. But I have learned that if you don't say the right words, the left will go after you with a vengeance. Free speech is no longer allowed from the left. But don't take my word for it, you can read about that subject from voices much more acclaimed than mine here, here, here, here, and here to name a few. Of course I will be criticized for putting up examples that come from non leftist sources. However, the problem is coming from the left and they aren't in a mood to criticize themselves right now so I am putting up sources from Democrats who have chosen to speak elsewhere than the usual leftist press haunts. Bur my point is that there are many who will go along because they don't want to be accused of being racist, and the use of the race card in this instance is counting on that phenomenon.
The second way that the Democrats voter suppress is an all too familiar tactic to us Hillary Clinton supporters. They will say that the race is already won by their person, that it is all over, that there is no way for YOUR candidate to win. It is a verifiable form of voter suppression to get you not to vote. After all, if your candidate can't win no matter what, why bother voting? Of course, it could always boomerang by convincing your supporters that they can sit at home too because the victory is in the bag. The problem is that the election is never over until it is over. Who quits a race before the finish line?
I bring this voter suppression subject up because for those of us who want to see more women elected, we can't allow ourselves to be swayed by such tactics. We need to keep our eye on the ball for OUR goal, the one that will being us to equal representation and an equal number of seats at the power table.
In the past, I had talked alot about voting for women no matter what. I got some blowback on that because I kept hearing that there are just some women that some women just couldn't vote for. It wasn't always the same woman, and each woman had a woman or two that they just couldn't abide and vote for. The proof of that reality is when it happened to me as well. So in a bow to reality, I've come up with a modification of that strategy. I've written about it before on a previous blog, but it has been a long time ago, or so it seems. I call it the 3M strategy and here it is. If most of the women (or men) vote for most of the women most of the time, we will get more women elected, even in 2012.
Our pickings are smaller than in 2008 or even 2012. We don't have a woman at the top of any major party ticket. We do have two women at the top of the Green Party ticket as an alternative for those of you who want to vote for a woman. There are more women running for Congress than ever before, which is fabulous, but none of them may appear on your ballot. But for sure there are likely plenty of women running further down on your ballot at the state level and local level. Why not give these women a boost so that they can start building their resumes? Unless you vote a straight party ticket (and few of the readers of this blog do), all things being equal, why not vote for your local women, if not all of them, most of them? Those will be our choices this year, and if we don't act on them, what good is the desire to have more women in office other than just a whine and a kvetch? We need to put our money where our mouth is.
If there is a woman or two you just can't vote for, fine. But what about the rest of them? It is up to us to start boosting these women up. In the end, if the parties see that more and more women WIN, more women will be welcomed on the ballot, and conversely, more women will run. There are big problems getting women to run. Just google "why women don't run for office" and you will get 308 million links. The amazing thing is that there is an almost complete agreement on the left and the right as to why women don't run. Why ladies----we have FINALLY brought the two sides together!!!!
At any rate, there are few reasons not to support most women on the ballot in November unless you are a rank partisan. To move ahead with getting more women in office, these are the conditions we find ourselves in in 2012. No woman president this year. And I'm very disappointed about that. But I'm not going to let anyone suppress me from voting and neither should you. We've got a few cards of our own to play, and we need to play them.