All The Single Ladies (Are Getting Politicians Excited)!
I don’t have much money to donate, so I assume politicians don’t care about me personally. But I guess I forgot about various “voting blocs” and how I’m probably listed on a sheet somewhere as “female,” “middle-class” and maybe “shrieking feminist harpy.” Even though — obviously — all Latinos or veterans or parents don’t vote the same way, politicians and their henchmen know they can reach these groups by appealing to issues that are important to them. And according to The New York Times, the voting bloc du jour, the one that could make a difference in the 2014 midterm elections, are single women.
A little refresher course for those of you who were zoned out in American History class: midterm elections don’t get the same turnout that presidential elections do (when single women “overwhelmingly” supported Obama). In fact, the Times notes, turnout is especially low during midterms among minorities and unmarried women, meaning the people who are making the decisions about YOUR elected officials are “older, whiter and more conservative.”
That is great news for, well, conservatives. So the Democratic Party is hustling to get it together to appeal to women, particularly single women, before November. This is a huge voting bloc, given that 56 million adult women over the age of 18 aren’t married, according to the Times. Political campaigns are trying to target these women on a whole host of issues that they care about, which can span everything from education (single moms) to reproductive rights and pay equity (The Frisky staff) to the economy. Of course married women care about all of these same issues, too. But for reasons I don’t quite understand, unmarried women seem less networked into the political process. I do think the overwhelmingly male face of politics — as well as the overwhelmingly male face of the news talk shows — gives some single women the impression we aren’t welcome.
It saddens me on a deep level that politicians focus on single women when they want our votes, as if our influence is only important when it can give them something. Alas, maybe voting in the midterms will get more single women engaged? “Older, whiter and more conservative” voters are most definitely not who I want speaking for me.