It’s been said that as a woman, what I should care most about when I go to vote in the Presidential election this November is the economy and job creation. These two things I do care about, as well as which candidate is going to build a better America in the long-run for my children. But I am also a seasoned voter so I know the Oval Office has limited impact on the economy. (In my opinion, the bulk of the impact on the economy comes from the U.S. Congress.)
Economies cycle, and while the current recession has been more prolonged than originally predicted, the economic rebound is reliant on many complex factors. Today in fact, the New York Times reports that unemployment fell to 7.8 percent, and 114,000 jobs were added in September. Progress is being made.
As a woman voter, what I care most about, it turns out, is whether or not my President is right for women. For instance, I believe choices about women’s health are personal decisions, not a politician’s to make. I am also passionate about encouraging other women to vote. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women who don’t already have the voting habit must be urged to vote through a personal appeal. Apparently, the more personal the contact with a voter, the more likely she is to vote. Okay, this makes sense. Born in 1936 in New York City, Carol Gilligan is an internationally acclaimed psychologist and author. She received her doctorate degree in social psychology from Harvard University in 1964 and began teaching there in 1967. Her theory of psychology basically says men think in terms of rules, and justice and women are more inclined to think in terms of caring and relationships. So here I am, caring about women like me. I am urging women to vote this November. Criss-crossing the country herself to get out the vote, Alicia Keys says, “We are a powerful force.” And I agree.
Washington Post reporter Krissah Thompson wrote in August,
“…chances that GOP women will swing their support to Obama are slim, said political strategists and those who study women’s voting patterns.
‘Who they are trying to go after with those ads are not so much the Republican women but independent women or the swing voters who haven’t decided yet.’ said Susan Carroll, an expert on women’s participation in politics and a professor at Rutgers University.”
It is understood that the outcome of the Presidential election this year will likely hinge on two factors: independent and swing voters, many of whom are women. The Presidential race is very close. According to the Washington Post’s Election Guide today, Obama is ahead in the polls but only by a thin margin (49% for Obama vs. 47% for Romney).
Colorado, where I live, is considered one of the key swing states this fall. It is also home to giant military bases, the Air Force Academy and strong military contractors, including Lockheed Martin. So where do women fit into this? As of September 2011, of the 1.48 million active duty military personnel, 214,098 were women, according to the U.S. Dept. of Defense and the U.S. Coast Guard. Another 72,790 women were members of the National Guard and military reserves. Bottom line: that’s a lot of women with military interests in my state.
I would propose that these women care not only about the economy, but also, again, about which candidate is right for women.
Look at women voters who are also mothers. It turns out these women are more than a little sensitive about “Sesame Street” and other public television programming, for good reason. During the debate here in Colorado this past Wednesday, Romney made a remark about cutting government funding of public television if he were elected.
Laura Bassett, contributor to the Huffington Post, wrote today:
“’An often overlooked benefit of a show like “Sesame Street,’ blogger and single mother Laura Roe Stevens points out, is that single or low-income parents often depend on it when they have to rely on a grandparent or young babysitter to watch their kids. ‘I have so many single moms writing to me in such dire straits,’ she said. ‘They can’t afford preschool, so even if they can’t get the most fabulous nanny for their kids, they know that for at least one hour, their kids are getting something really good with “Sesame Street,”’ she said.”
Bassett also suggested:
“Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have some ground to make up before November if he hopes to gain more support among female voters, a majority of whom have consistently shunned him in the polls. But his comments during Wednesday’s debate about cutting funding to PBS are not likely to do the trick.”
It is vital for domestic issues beyond the economy and job creation that women vote.
With just days left before the final deadline of October 9 for those who are eligible to vote in Colorado to register, I hope women will step up, register and vote. Voters are more likely to follow issues, volunteer, and engage friends and family members (Philanthropy for Active Engagement, 2008). So voting is not only good for our country, it’s good for you.
Women often bring a different lens to the conversation. Not surprising. Voters with military interests, in swing states like Colorado and all over the country, will factor these into who they vote for. Many mothers will factor Big Bird into who they vote for.
For most of my life, I was an independent voter and to some extent, I still am. A lot may change but one thing won’t. I am voting this November. And thanks to some outstanding Get Out the Vote efforts in our nation this year so are hundreds of new women voters. Now, let’s see what the 2012 Presidential and local Colorado campaigns do to recognize the power of women today to influence the future of America.