Viewed through women’s lenses

Suppose you run for the White House. And suppose one evening during the campaign you address 10,000 voters.

Your advisors tell you that maybe 60 percent of them are women. What types of issues do you suppose you will choose to talk about with this group? And do you suppose you might make sure a lot of women are on stage with you?

Will you use boxing analogies in your talk? (“We need to deliver a knockout blow!”) Or military analogies? (“We’re attacking with all guns firing.”)

Or will you instead use softer language? Will you speak of what is “fair” and “unfair”? Because such words tend to resonate more with women than with men. Will you – like the brilliant campaigner Bill Clinton – tell the voters you feel their pain? If the group was all men, I bet you would not. Men are more likely to feel you should “suck it up.” More likely to feel winning is more important than fairness.



The candidates face an electorate that is about 60 percent women. Women outnumber men by several million. And a higher percentage of them vote.

So, guys, if you don’t want to see Obama and Romney pander to women in this campaign, don’t turn on your television. These guys will focus on women, women, women.

Consider the propaganda flung at you in the last few weeks. Rush Limbaugh insulted a woman. The President pounced on it. The White House released a big report titled “Keeping American Women Moving Forward.” One woman writer called it a 70-page campaign flier.

Headline: Obama White House pays women less than men. Another: Both parties count women’s vote. Another: Truth about war on women. Another: Obama campaign runs from Democrat strategist’s insult on Ann Romney. (The strategist said Ann Romney had never worked a day in her life. Romney’s campaign pounced on that and sent out old photos of Ann and her five boys.)

We had the duel between the President and a Roman Catholic cardinal. Over whether Obamacare could force Catholic institutions to cover contraception for their employees. Hmmm … A President standing up for contraception for women vs. a celibate guy in a ball gown. His church protected priests who preyed on small boys. And cloistered women. I think the President’s advisors rolled the dice on this, knowing the dice were loaded.

I could cite another dozen headlines regarding the candidates and women’s issues. Just from the past few weeks. Here are two more from the last few days: Senate Democrats fundraising pitch: Republicans have been waging a war on women. Nancy Pelosi says Republicans are waging a war on women’s rights.

What lies ahead? Hundreds more such headlines and features in your television news. Candidates kissing the hems of women who have television shows. Candidates in the kitchen. Candidates talking about childcare and problems working moms suffer. And talking about single mom problems. And education. And equal pay for women. And talking about whatever issues researchers tell them will excite women.

Every major speech will be vetted through women’s lenses. Every talking point for the debates will be tested with panels of women. Every line the candidates rehearse for debates will be viewed from women’s points-of-view. So will the ties they wear. And the colors and fit of their slacks. The photos that the campaigns release will mostly have women in the background or surrounding or hugging the candidates.

I could go on and on. But I don’t have to, because they will.

Women, just like a big chunk of the book industry … and the entertainment industry … (We’re talkin’ chick-lit and chick-flicks here) this campaign is for you.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows and new TV shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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