Republicans And Women: Single Women Vote Democratic Because They Wish They Were Married, Pundit Says
Skimming this article over, I think it gets a few things wrong, but he may be right about one or two things.
This is one of those times I’m not firmly on either side. I think the liberal lady who responded to this guy’s editorial (which I link to farther below) made some good points, but I feel he made some good points, too. I feel she maybe got a few points wrong, but he did too.
I happen to be a woman, single, want to get married, but I never vote Democrat. I’m a Republican.
There were a few other comments or assumptions this guy made that struck me as strange.
His assumption that single women want to get married is highly novel.
Why do I say that? Because most of the time, my fellow right wingers assume that the reason women are single into adulthood is that they are all men-hating, leftist feminists who hate marriage, do not want marriage, and prefer focusing on their career over getting married.
There may be some women who want to stay single, or who place a career before marriage, but I don’t think that is true of most women, but it is an assumption I see time and again by Republicans and conservatives, and by Christians.
Some of this guy’s (Reno’s) views about women, why they feel as they do, or why they are not married, and a host of other things is condescending in some parts.
Recall again that I myself am a Republican. I doubt I will ever agree with most Democratic positions on much of anything, but this does not mean I always agree with every last position stated or held by other Republicans.
I don’t know about the Republican Party, but – I do think more Christian churches should serve as match-making vehicles for adult singles who want mates, the ones who would welcome the help. An adult’s single’s basic choices for meeting someone past the age of 30, boil down to
- 1. friends 2. dating sites 3. bars and nightclubs.
I never had a huge network of friends, so option 1 never worked for me. My adult single female friends would ask me to fix them up on blind dates with men, but I told them I didn’t know any, or I knew the same ones they already knew.
As for 2, that is not successful. Most of the Christian men who are on dating sites are crass morons. As for 3, bars have always seemed sleazy to me, especially during my time as a devout Christian. So. Churches need to fill this gap and start playing match maker for singles who are interested.
I’m not sure about overall American population, but based on about every survey, poll, and article I’ve read about evangelical/Baptist adult singles in the past five or so years, the reason why adult women are staying single boils down to a numbers game: the single, Christian females vastly out number the single, Christian males.
One article I saw said that the reason singles aren’t marrying is due to economic factors – young males are having a hard time finding steady employment and don’t feel they can marry without a steady paycheck.
(Link): This post at my blog also quotes a writer who mentions the phenomenon.
This post also covers it: (Link): Over 10 Million Men of Prime Working Age Are Unemployed in the US and Experts Think It’s Causing Declining Marriage Rates
The author, R R Reno, who blames liberals in part for why women who want marriage are remaining single, should be fair and acknowledge that conservative Christians also play a role in keeping women single, the ones who want marriage.
As you already are aware from this blog, and reading what other singles have to say, Christians encourage adults singles over the age of 30 to remain single and actively discourage or block singles from getting spouses.
On the one hand, Christians gripe and complain about singles being single, but when Christian singles take steps to get married, such as asking married friends to pray for God to send them a mate, or when they ask church friends to set them up on blind dates, they get patronizing lectures consisting of unbiblical attitudes such as,
- “be happy where you are,” ‘the Lord is your husband, don’t bother dating,” “don’t try to get married; if it’s in God’s will, he will send Mr. Right to you,” and “be content in your singleness,” and “if you are still past age X, it means God has called you to a life of singlehood.”
With attitudes such as those, conservative Christians are keeping adult singles single. They are acting as barriers to Christians who wish to be married; it’s not just liberal Democrats who may be at fault, it’s right wingers, as well.
Winning the women’s vote has been (Link): an acknowledged problem for Republicans in recent elections, and one conservative pundit believes he has the way to fix it — namely, “reinforce the authority of traditional culture.”
R.R. Reno, editor of (Link): the online political journal First Things, published his essay, “The Dilemma Facing Social Conservatives” on Thursday, in which he argues that the the typical unmarried woman who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and tends to vote Democratic in most elections, simply “wants to get married and feels vulnerable because she isn’t and vulnerable because she’s not confident she can.”
The reason such women reject Republican candidates, Reno says, is that they feel “judged” by Republicans, who oppose same sex marriage. Because Republicans advocate banning all marriages other than those involving heterosexual couples, Reno’s hypothetically typical unmarried woman feels that the GOP is telling her that “her life isn’t on the right path.”
In fact, as (Link): Slate Magazine writer Amanda Hess explained Reno’s argument, an ummarried woman, “should support the party that wants to force people into traditional marriages, thus improving her chances of getting married herself.”
…Reno admits that he is puzzled by why “a woman whose 401K already exceeds $1,000,000 and who owns a condo worth almost as much (would) be so concerned to expand public support for in-home care of the elderly?”
Rejecting the possibility that the empathy such women feel for elderly people may derive from basic human decency, Reno concludes that this position arises in a woman “because she’s not married and feels as though she’s going to have to take on all the responsibilities of life on her own—a prospect that is indeed daunting.”
…[Reno later replied to a liberal criticism of his editorial] At the same time, Reno attacked the arguments of Hess and other progressives against his position regarding unmarried women and Republicans as “painfully simplistic.”
Liberal critique from liberal site:
By A Hess Aug 29, 2014
Wednesday, Politico published a leaked report [Exclusive: GOP poll of women: Party ‘stuck in past’] commissioned by two Republican lobbying groups on how the party can better attract female voters.
The report, based on a recent poll of 800 female registered voters as well as a series of focus groups, is titled “Republicans and Women Voters: Huge Challenges, Real Opportunities.”
The central challenge facing the Republican party is that women—particularly single women and women who have graduated from college—are “barely receptive” to its policies, and are likely to consider the party “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion,” and “stuck in the past.”
Here’s where the “real opportunity” comes in: If only the Republicans could explain to these women that they are wrong, their votes would come flooding in. The report says that it is a “lack of understanding” between women and Republicans that “closes many minds to Republican policy solutions.”
Republicans can attract the female vote by attacking the Democratic claim that GOP policies do not promote “fairness” for women and dealing “honestly with any disagreement on abortion” before moving on to “other issues.”
Today, R.R. Reno, editor of First Things (a journal that promotes “economic freedom” and a “morally serious culture”), published a very helpful essay illustrating how this fresh new strategy might work in practice.
Reno begins his piece with a richly-drawn portrait of a hypothetical female Democratic voter:
She is a “single, 35-year-old McKinsey consultant living in suburban Chicago who thinks of herself as vulnerable and votes for enhanced social programs designed to protect against the dangers and uncertainties of life.” (Reno does not specify the number of cats she owns, but for the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume the answer is “several.”)
(Link): WOMEN, VOTING, AND SOCIAL CONSERVATISM by R R Reno (reply to A. Hess)
In that explanation I make an assumption: The overwhelming majority of women want to get married. This isn’t controversial and it doesn’t involve me telling women what they “really” want.
A 2013 Gallup poll shows that only 9 percent of single 18- to 34-year-olds don’t want to get married; only 3 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds. Moreover, those with college degrees desire marriage more fervently than those without college degrees.
… I then make a second assumption: It’s not easy for single professional women to find mates. Here I can’t cite survey data.
Instead, I point to the huge number of articles in recent years in places like The Atlantic and elsewhere written by women anguishing over the problem of finding men to marry.
Or consider the great uproar over Susan Patton’s open letter to female Princeton undergraduates warning them that they’d be wise to land a good man while in college, because our culture has otherwise made such a hash of the mating game.
Add these two assumptions together and you get unhappiness. And not just unhappiness, but a sense of vulnerability.
My imagined McKinsey consultant has done everything right. She’s knocked the ball out of the park in school. She’s disciplined herself to succeed in her job. She’s saved for retirement. She’s exercised and avoided fatty foods. But in a very important and fundamental way her life isn’t working out.
Here, my explanation of the profound difference between single and married female voters involves a final assumption: The Democratic Party is the party that promises to expand government to take care of people whose lives aren’t working out. This doesn’t mean Republicans are cold-hearted. It’s just that, for many different reasons, Republicans don’t think government can or should take care of all our needs.
… I’m a social conservative who thinks there are moral truths we need to promote simply because they’re true. But I also think those truths humanize and fulfill us. For example, a pro-marriage culture that affirms the male-female difference is true—and true to the way we are.
The problem I address is that promoting such a culture makes single women feel more vulnerable.
Not only are they frustrated that they’re not married, but they’re also feeling judged and marginalized as “failures” by people like me who are saying that marriage should be the norm. This is politically counter-productive—and not my goal as a person who, though I don’t want government to care and provide for us, does want a culture of care and provision.
Where he writes,
Not only are they [single women] frustrated that they’re not married, but they’re also feeling judged and marginalized as “failures” by people like me who are saying that marriage should be the norm.
— end excerpt —
I would add that is very true of American Christian culture as well.
Most churches hold up marriage and parenthood as norms, and anyone who does not engage in one or both are either ignored or treated like freaks or weirdos, or, they are assumped to be God hating, family hating, liberal feminists.
If I had a nickel or dollar bill for each time I heard a pastor or Christian insist that “motherhood is a woman’s most important calling” or “godly role,” I’d be rolling around in more cash than Warren Buffet twenty times over.