The College Republican National Committee thinks it has unlocked the key to speaking to young women about pending gubernatorial elections: Make it about pretty wedding dresses. That’s how the party is attempting to win over a demographic it has long struggled to attract.
The committee is spending $1 million on digital ads like “Say Yes to the Candidate.” Each one show a young woman eagerly browsing wedding dresses, in the mold of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress,” and treating each prospective dress as if it were a real-life candidate for office in states like Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, and Kentucky. ”The Rick Scott is perfect,” she gushes in the Florida version of the ad. “Rick Scott is becoming a trusted brand.” Her seemingly unstable mother puts in a plea for the “Charlie Crist” dress, named after Scott’s Democratic opponent, saying it’s “expensive and a little outdated, but I know best.”
“It’s our goal to start the conversation by presenting ourselves in a culturally relevant way,” Alex Smith, the committee’s chair, told The Wall Street Journal. Culturally relevant, or culturally stereotyping? The ad even boasts the time-honored pop culture trope of the black best friend.
Ironically, Republicans still do quite well among married women — it’s unmarried women, who make up a growing share of the female population, with whom they struggle. That hasn’t stopped party leaders from telling women wedding bells will get them out of poverty. Apparently, some Republicans also think a white dress will also solve their demographic problem.