When Democratic policymakers started a fight over the Paycheck Fairness Act, Republicans responded by dismissing it as a hollow, election-year stunt. Sure, it was a substantive policy response to a legitimate issue, but GOP officials said the debate itself was little more than a cheap political exercise – which women voters would see through immediately.
And speaking of cheap political exercises that women voters will see through immediately…
The Republican National Committee plans to a new initiative, “14 in ‘14,” to recruit and train women under age 40 to help spread the party’s message in the final 14 weeks of the campaign. […]They are encouraging candidates to include their wives and daughters in campaign ads, have women at their events and build a Facebook-like internal database of women willing to campaign on their behalf.
I see. If Democrats push the Paycheck Fairness Act, they’re cynically trying to give the appearance of helping women in the workplace. But if Republicans include more women in campaign ads, that’s just quality messaging.
The “14 in ‘14” initiative, it’s worth noting, is actually a fallback plan of sorts. The original strategy was to push “Project GROW,” in which Republicans would recruit more women candidates to run for Congress in 2014. That project failed – there are actually going to be fewer Republican women running for Congress in this cycle than in 2012.
Presumably, “encouraging candidates to include their wives and daughters in campaign ads” is intended to compensate for the misstep, while hoping voters overlook the GOP’s opposition to pay-equity legislation and its preoccupation with issues such as restricting women’s reproductive rights and access to contraception?
Greg Sargent also had a good piece questioning the utility of the “14 in ‘14” plan.
Democrats are actively building their women’s economic agenda around the broader ideathat women face unique economic challenges. A recent CNN poll found that 55 percent of Americans, and 59 percent of women, don’t believe the GOP understands the problems women face today. A Republican National Committee spokeswoman recently admittedthat Republicans need to do a better job appearing in touch with women.Republicans oppose a minimum wage hike; oppose Dem proposals to address pay inequity (while admitting it is a legitimate problem); and are telling women that their economic prospects can be improved by repealing Obamacare (and its protections for women). Indeed, they are even telling them that the push for pay equity is nothing but a distraction from the health law. Yes, Republicans could win big this fall with such an agenda. But this could also prove another area where structural factors ensure that Republicans win in 2014 in spite of the failure to address the need — which they themselves have acknowledged — to broaden their appeal to women with an eye towards future national elections.