Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Single Girl's Guide to Sex Presidential Elections

Are you planning to vote in the 2004 presidential elections? Sometimes reading opinions about the likely outcomes throws me into the deep pit of liberal angst and despair: the world is indeed against us and what's more, it's populated by pod-people. Here's one commentator's pessimistic take on the future:

Unlike any other presidential election in our lifetime, a right-wing dominated Republican Party will go into the 2004 election with a majority in the House and Senate. Moreover, they will, most likely, keep those majorities, especially since they have assiduously been gerrymandering Congressional districts (in places like Pennsylvania and Texas) to guarantee their control in the House. In addition, it's also likely that Republicans may pick up some seats in the Senate, especially from Southern states where Democrats like Hollings, Edwards, and Graham have relinquished their incumbency. To neglect this historically significant moment of Republican congressional majorities is to blind oneself, either out of moral myopia, political obtuseness, or sectarian stupidity.

I'm not quite so pessimistic as I sense some grumblings deep below the ground, and these might rise up to the grassroots at any moment. But neither am I convinced that we will win at the end. Life is not The Lord of the Ring: Part III. But there are things that ordinary liberals and other non-conservatives, compassionate or not, can do, nay, even must do. And one of those is to vote in the oncoming elections. I plan to do so, and I'm not even a registered voter, so what's your excuse?

The idea here is to use shaming to make every right-thinking lefty rise up and press the buttons on election day. And yes, I know all about the Diebold controversy, but we can't even complain about that if we didn't participate in the farce first. So vote, boys and girls!

And if you are a single woman, it's your special responsibility to go out to vote this year. Why? Because you belong to a crucial group, a group that just might win us the presidential election. Here's why:

FORGET THE ANGRY white men of 1994, the soccer moms of 1998 or the NASCAR dads of 2002. This year, Democrats believe that single women -- one- fifth of the nation's population and 42 percent of all registered women voters -- are the demographic-swing group that could decide a close election, oust President Bush and alter the political landscape in Congress.
Who are these unmarried women? They are never-married working women, divorced working mothers raising kids alone and widows who are worried about their economic security.
Last December, Celinda Lake and Stan Greenberg, two well-known Democratic pollsters, released the results of a survey that Democrats are taking to heart. "Unmarried women represent millions more voters with very clear concerns about the economy, health care and education," said Lake.
To this, Greenberg added, "If unmarried women voted at the same rate as married women, they would have a decisive impact on this (2004) election and could be the most important agents of change in modern politics."

So how did they use this power in the 2000 elections? Here's the sad news:

The problem is that single women just don't exercise their electoral power. In the 2000 presidential election, 68 percent of married women went to the voting booth but only 52 percent of single women cast a vote.
That means that 6 million single women failed to vote in an election that hinged on a little more than half a million votes nationally and a few hundred votes in Florida.

Single women are more likely to vote Democrat than Republican, when they vote, so it's imperative to get them all interested in voting. The Democratic party is supposedly beginning an outreach program for this demographic group, but more needs to be done. Shaming by blogs is one small step in the process. I'd also like to see childcare at the voting day for all single mom voters to use, and maybe some transportation help for those impoverished widows the quote mentioned. But most importantly, I'd like to hear the Democratic primary candidates explain loudly and clearly what the Bush administration has done so far to make single women's lives harder, and how the Democrats are going to correct all these problems. Come to think of it, they haven't said that much about these important issues. Maybe I've been trying to shame the wrong people here?