What Do Women Want at the Polls?

As the 2014 campaign season enters its final stretch, women voters nationwide are finding themselves the objects of political affection. Both Republicans and Democrats, and male and female candidates, have recently geared much of their political messaging at females. In the tightly contested Colorado race for U.S. Senate, national media coverage remains focused not on issues of national security or infrastructure spending, but birth control. Just last week here in Los Angeles, the LA Times claimed “Democratic candidates are working hard to get women to the polls.” And Mark Pryor, the current Senator from Arkansas, announced yesterday an entire state tour geared towards “issues most important to women.”

Women traditionally vote at greater percentages than men during general election years, but research indicates that, like every other demographic, their voting habits decrease during midterm elections when no presidential candidates are on the ballot. Democrats in particular are motivated to turn these women out to the polls this year, thanks to their slight advantage in female voter registration compared to the Republican party. In Texas, the Wendy Davis for Governor campaign targets many of their mailers and social media campaigns towards left-leaning “Drop-off Voters”— those who only vote in general elections, and who supported President Obama over Mitt Romney by a notable margin in 2012.

In 2014, the fact that appealing to women voters is a hot topic worthy of substantial media attention is both pathetic and amusing. Like all voting blocs (“soccer moms,” gun owners, millenials, baby boomers, etc.), the notion that every woman’s voting habits can be characterized and appealed to with a commercial is patronizing and absurd. But, it’s hard to turn away from the attention when for too long women have been considered less important voters than their brothers, fathers, and boyfriends. Any attention paid to our reproductive health, our families’ health, and equal pay is a win from the policy perspective. More than anything, this attention will hopefully encourage more women of diverse backgrounds to seek office themselves.

These issues are on our minds as the WLPPD Board, and we’re really excited about our event this month featuring Rep. Karen Bass—“Women Succeed.” We’ll talk more about why women should vote every chance they can, and also about inspiring and recruiting more women to run for office in the first place. Also, there will be food, drink, and merriment with current students and alumni. We hope to see you there!

In the meantime, don’t you dare forget to register to vote if you haven’t already and, of course, to show up at the polls on November 2nd!

“Women Succeed”
October 28, 2014
Reception @ 6:30 pm, program @ 7pm
THH 102, USC campus

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