During this election year, you can expect to see a change in tone in many political ads. If you're wondering if this means that they'll finally be less dumb, I'm sorry to disappoint; they are, unfortunately, going to get even more dumb, because conservative strategists have decided that the best way to reach ladies is to avoid facts and instead appeal to emotions.
At least, that's according to an NPR piece about how the GOP is instituting a tone change this year by replacing what they consider man-ads (spots that feature facts and a male narrator intoning about numbers) with what they consider woman ads (spots that feature female voices telling stories that don't contain facts). I'm serious.
"Women process information differently than men," [Republican ad maker Ashley] O'Connor says. "So much of political advertising focuses on conflict, and facts and figures, and I think that we're already starting to see, when reaching women voters, there's just new techniques need to be used, and a different tone, and more storytelling." [..]
"This is a 60-second ad [for Dr. Monica Wehby] and it's not particularly issue-driven," O'Connor says of the spot. "It sort of goes to this point that when talking to women, I don't think you necessarily have to be delivering factual information to move them. I think connecting with their heart and really trying to build emotion is more effective."
What do these fact-free ads sound like? Here's some actual copy from an actual woman-friendly ad currently airing.
People don't like political ads. I don't like them either. But health care isn't about politics. It's about people. It's not about a website that doesn't work ... It's about people, and millions of people have lost their health insurance. ... Obamacare doesn't work.
So, to review, ads now are going to sound even more like the ramblings of the proudest idiot on the bus ride home regurgitating chunks of talking points they heard but did not understand and repeating those barfed chunks over and over again until, in the barfer's mind, they become true. Like a circa 2008 Sarah Palin stump speech.
I sincerely believed after last election and resultant hive of political clusterfucks that there was no way pandering to women could bet more blatant or transparent or squicky. And one might think that in the ensuing months, during which Republicans were urged by their party's leadership to take classes on how to speak to women yet continued to spout a continuous stream of sexist, clueless bullshit, it's become even clearer that the right wing has been so hijacked by religious nuts that they have no hope of ever winning back female votes.
But while that might seem like it would be a sensible way for reality to behave, that's not true. Republicans are very popular among married women and white women; they voted for Romney in 2012 and in Virginia, they voted for Ken "Mandatory Transvaginal Ultrasounds" Cuccinelli in 2013.
When the GOP says they're going after "the female vote," they're not trying to convince someone like me to vote against my self interest. They're not trying to convince a young, citydwelling single mom to vote for a candidate who promises to make her own life a lot more difficult. They're reaching out to the only women who, in their eyes, matter: married ones and white ones. Especially if the married white ladies are really not into facts.