Election 2012: The Other Half
Now that the Republican nomination process is coming to a close, Democrats are beginning to define their campaign by focusing on critical issues that are sensitive to most voters in order to draw a clear contrast between itself and the GOP on both the budget and women’s reproductive rights. And in some cases, the Democratic Party is combining the two issues into one. President Obama held a White House forum for women last Friday and spoke to potential constituents on not only expanding access to free contraceptives, but closing the gap in salary between men and women. The president also took the chance to advocate for his health care cause, explaining that women should be concerned about more than just contraceptives. In light of the threat of Obamacare being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the president warned the group that not only are women with preexisting conditions in danger of being turned down by insurance companies, but millions of young women will also be kicked off the health care plans. Health coverage as a whole is at stake for women across the country, and they are showing their concern in the polls. According to USA Today, although Obama and Romney are neck and neck amongst male voters in swing states, the President holds a 15 percent lead over the governor amongst women. Polls for candidates running for seats in the Senate in battleground states also show growing support for Democrats among female voters. In a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, incumbent senators of the Democratic Party in Florida and Ohio are also showing around a 15 percent lead against their Republican opponents.
Republicans are probably regretting attacking the Obama administration in February for requiring all employers to cover contraception for their employees. In trying to claim that the administration is imposing itself on religiously affiliated organizations, Republicans have shot themselves in the foot. The Democrats have a strong argument in claiming that the right wants to roll back women’s birth control rights – especially when the alternative to the Republican frontrunner is so far right from the average citizen’s social values – or when Republicans in Virginia propose a bill to require ultrasounds of a fetus for women planning to have an abortion. In addition to their demographic woes, the Republican Party can also expect to be hammered for its very conservative budget plan. President Obama derided the plan presented by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, claiming that it is a “Trojan Horse” that will promote “Social Darwinism.” Republicans plan on cutting funding for many programs that low and middle income Americans rely on, and Democrats will be able to antagonize the GOP for its tough stances. Although the right wing is correct in pointing to our growing national debt, Democrats hope that implementing a Buffett Rule will close the deficit gap. Asking the wealthy to give up their tax break loopholes to help the struggling middle class may appeal to the majority of the country, which consists largely of low- and middle-income citizens. The Democrats certainly have a handle on which issues to press against Mitt Romney and the Republican Party for the upcoming November election.