Democrats Actually Have a Pitch To Make to Female Voters Tonight

What Women Really Think
Sept. 4 2012 3:33 PM

Democrats Actually Have a Pitch To Make to Female Voters Tonight

151199694
Michelle Obama rehearses her convention speech.

Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages

A week ago tonight at the Republican National Convention, the Romney campaign made what will likely be its biggest push to attract female voters, culminating in a speech where Ann Romney appealed to female voters by suggesting that being a conservative means getting to play the female martyr card. While it was a pitch that likely warmed the hearts of true believers, odds are that the Democrats will do a much better job this week of reaching out to women who are undecided or unsure if they intend to vote at all. Even though the first night will be capped, as the RNC's was, by a speech by the candidate's wife, tonight's roster suggests that there will be plenty of talk about policies designed to make women's lives better, not just "I love women" lip service.

Before Michelle Obama mounts the stage to share the shocking news that she likes her husband and believes you should, too, Nancy Keenan of NARAL and Lilly Ledbetter will be on hand to speak about reproductive rights and pay equity. Kathleen Sebelius will almost surely remind voters that while health care reform helps all Americans, women especially will benefit. The face of the labor movement on stage tonight will also be female: Mary Kay Henry of SEIU. Though the Republicans made the female-heavy profession of schoolteachers their major villain when bashing labor during the RNC, the image of unions is still quite masculine. Henry may be on hand to try to change that.

Advertisement

Getting the women's vote is key to the Democratic campaign strategy for one very important reason: Women vote more than men, and have done so every election since 1980. In swing states, having women strongly prefer one candidate over another can mean winning the election. Particularly with young female voters, who overwhelmingly prefer Obama, the difference is critical. In 2008, 55 percent of women ages 18-22 turned out to vote, and getting them to turn out again will help seal the deal for Obama's re-election. The mission of the Democrats this week isn't so much to persuade female voters to come over to their camp—they  have the majority of the female vote sewn up—but instead to convince young women and single women to turn out in the same numbers that they did in 2008. By fore-fronting so many strong feminist voices, they have a good chance of accomplishing that goal. 

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Doublex

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

The Only Good Thing That Happened at Today’s Soul-Crushing U.N. Climate Talks

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM Why Is Autumn the Only Season With Two Names?
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.