Women's enduring disdain for Mitt Romney has been one of the defining memes of the 2012 election cycle. He's stilted, weird, off putting, and condescending, and his policies regarding women are the political equivalent of a chili powder laced tampon. So when both candidates made the bizarre choice to completely leave any mention of women out of Wednesday's debate, it brought to mind a scenario frightening enough to merit the Hollywood horror film treatment. What if the only people who voted were men? What if all the women stayed home on Election Day? (Cue series of dramatic organ chords.)
Obama's omission was at best an irritating missed opportunity and at worst a disastrous political gaffe. Over at The Daily Beast,, Jessica Arons claims that Obama "blew it" with women by failing to bring up any of their special lady issues during the debate on Wednesday, but that he still has time to redeem himself in the next two debates. Indu Chandrasekhar at the Telegraph has a less dire prognosis, writing that Romney "has alienated the majority women voters, and he has no idea how to win them back." His goose is cooked, she reasons, because no matter what he says or does, he's already turned the women off. Election: Obama. No sweat.
But neither piece addresses a third possibile outcome of Obama deciding to treat American women like an ever-more-distant boyfriend treats his girlfriend he's planning on dumping — what if women just don't vote?
Let's walk through this bone-chilling scenario. First, let's clear one thing up: if any women are going to vote for Mitt Romney based on his performance in the debate, it's going to be a teensy, weensy measly statistically insignificant number of voters; Chandrasekhar is correct on that point. A woman who cares enough about politics to watch an entire political debate would likely not be so uninformed about every other aspect of the candidates that she'd base her entire decision on a candidate's aggression or fatigue level during a single 90-minute span. So what if Romney basically held Jim Lehrer down and cut his hair off live on national TV? A woman fleeing from an apathetic Obama to an actively hostile Romney would be like the pursued female protagonist in a slasher film seeking shelter from her masked assailant an a knife store. Or running toward the cemetery during a zombie apocalypse. A female Obama-to-Romney vote migration would be like going into the attic during a rainstorm armed with just a single candle when a one-eyed fortune teller already told you that the place was a portal to hell. Voting for Romney makes no sense for a woman who felt compelled to vote for Obama because of his stances on women.
What might happen, instead, is that women who had been excited about Obama may choose to stay home on November 6th and not vote at all. When women vote in large numbers, liberal candidates win. When liberal candidates win, they don't tend to waste everyone's time on mandatory transvaginal ultrasound bullshit (liberals waste their time on other sorts of bullshit, but at least their bullshit isn't going to force anyone to give birth). But when women stay home, as they did in 1994, conservative candidates win. And the conservative party of today is much, much scarier than the conservative party of 1994. You can bet your silver bullets that the GOP has swung precipitously rightward. And that spells terror for not only the Presidency, but also Congress (See: Todd Akin, multi-term Congressman). In 2008, for example, 8.8 million more women voted than men. And while Obama pretty much wiped the floor with McCain in the electoral count, the now-President won the popular vote by about 10 million votes. 56% of women voted for Obama, compared to only 43% for McCain. Obama only won the man vote by a single percentage point.
So the choice is: Vote, or don't. But if you don't vote, why don't you just save yourself some time (and get a jump on the inevitable) by taking your shoes off, quitting your job, and retreating forever into the kitchen to bake pies for your husband until he comes home from his porkpie hat wearing job at the factory? Obama's failure to mention women on Wednesday was an obnoxious slight, but an even more obnoxious slight would be the self-sabotaging decision not to vote at all.
The calls are coming from inside the house.
Image via AlexanderZam/Shutterstock.