California Republican National Committee Chairwoman Harmeet Dhillon and Democratic strategist Sarah Badawi went head-to-head on the topic of suburban women voters’ intentions and motivations on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” Tuesday night.
“I think it’s perfectly sustainable … You just raise the cap on the income tax,” declared Badawi (shown above left), a senior lobbyist for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, referencing the solvency of funding for Social Security.
She insisted this was an important issue for women voters.
Dhillon (above right) countered firmly about the single-issue idea, “Women are more complex than that.”
She added that the Democrats’ solution to most problems is simply to raise taxes.
Host Laura Ingraham said a strong economy coupled with women’s reactions to the Justice Brett Kavanaugh hearings debacle suggest Democrats could be making a mistake if they’re counting on women’s votes to secure midterm victories.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that women’s labor force participation rates (for women of prime earning age) have risen to more than 75 percent, and unemployment among the group is at its lowest number since the 1950s.
With respect to employment, women are undoubtedly winning in the Trump economy.
“For each of these women who likes to have a job, some of them also like to have the choice of working at home and being moms, and that is a perfectly legitimate choice,” said Dhillon. “And they want their husbands and they want their families, and they want their kids to have futures that are bright and have a lot of opportunity.”
Dhillon also pointed out that caricaturing women as monolith, single-issue voters is not only inaccurate — it is patently offensive.
“I think that Democrats are taking us for granted [with] sort of a cookie-cutter approach,” she added, pointing out that women are also business owners who don’t like paying high taxes and are keen on looking at all sides of an issue.
“I think the electorate of women engaging with this midterm election is going to be completely different than what we saw in 2016, especially in the suburbs,” Badawi countered.
“[Suburban women] are more diverse than ever, they’re younger than ever … [and they’re] turning out in record numbers in special elections,” Badawi said, adding that some women are “appalled” by the GOP’s trying to “strip health care from millions of people.” She gave little or no evidence for the latter point, however.
The strong turnout by women on which Democrats are relying, however, may not come to fruition this time around.
Despite what some mainstream media outlets have reported, many women reacted to the Kavanaugh hearings not with outrage over the allegations, but with outrage over the lack of due process afforded to the accused.
As Dhillon noted, “Women don’t like to hear things like [senatorial candidate Rep.] Kyrsten Sinema [D-Ariz.] say that women who stay at home are bloodthirsty leeches.”
“We don’t like caricatures,” said Dhillon. “And that’s what the Democrats are painting us as.”
“The women I know, the women who work in the professional world, the women who own businesses and the women who want futures for their kids, they are looking at the whole panoply and saying, ‘I like having more money in my pocket. I like having choices in my health care. And I like my government not going bankrupt because of dumb Social Security policies that are unsustainable,’” she concluded.
Suzanne Venker, a cultural critic known as “The Feminist Fixer,” offered an astute appraisal of suburban women’s take on President Donald Trump’s personality and policies in a piece Monday in the Washington Examiner.
If the midterm election is a referendum on President Trump, and if the suburban women’s vote is a crucial determinant of the outcome, there is much for political prognosticators to gain from understanding their perceptions of the man.
“We can separate the caliber of the man himself from the job that man is doing. Do we wish his personality were different? Absolutely. But it isn’t, so we have to make do with what we’ve got,” wrote Venker.
“And what we’ve got is working.”
Last week, President Trump said in a tweet, “College-educated women want safety, security and health care protections — very much along with financial and economic health for themselves and our country. I supply all of this far better than any Democrat (for decades, actually). That’s why they will be voting for me!”
College educated women want safety, security and healthcare protections – very much along with financial and economic health for themselves and our Country. I supply all of this far better than any Democrat (for decades, actually). That’s why they will be voting for me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2018
If President Trump is on the mark, the oft-predicted blue wave at the midterm elections may prove little more than a feeble trickle.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.