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“Trump Plays The Man’s Card”: It’s Like A Credit Card That Isn’t Accepted Anywhere But Carries A $3,000 Annual Fee

Republicans have often been indignant at being portrayed as waging a “war on women,” and the rhetoric sometimes was, indeed, a bit over the top. Until Donald Trump showed up.

Trump seems to be trying a strategy of what Ted Cruz would call “carpet bombing,” insulting Carly Fiorina’s face, Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle, Heidi Cruz’s looks and now Hillary Clinton’s “woman’s card.”

This is the card that in the United States earns women just 92 cents to a male worker’s dollar, less than one-fifth of the seats in Congress, a bare 19 percent of corporate board seats, an assault every nine seconds — and free catcalls and condescension! Frankly, I’ll stick with my MasterCard.

Yet many on the right passionately believe that Clinton and other women get a pass because of this woman’s card (Rush Limbaugh, even more blunt, calls it playing the vagina card). Really? A twice-elected senator and former secretary of state is benefiting from a gender shortcut, even as her male opponent would be the first president in history never to have held elective, military or cabinet office?

To me, it looks as if Trump is playing the man’s card!

The evidence is that the woman’s card is less than worthless: There’s abundant research showing that men and women alike tend to judge women more harshly than men. One of the best-known experiments is called the Goldberg paradigm, and it asks research subjects to evaluate an essay or speech. In countries all over the world, both men and women judge the same piece more negatively when they are told it is by a woman, more positively when they believe it is by a man.

In a more recent experiment, more than 120 scientists around the United States were asked to evaluate an application for a job as laboratory manager. In half the cases, the name on the application was Jennifer, in the other half it was John, but everything else was identical.

The scientists recommended John more highly than Jennifer, were more willing to mentor John than Jennifer, and on average suggested a salary for John that was 14 percent higher than the one they suggested for Jennifer. It didn’t seem to matter whether the scientists were male or female.

Likewise, female musicians are rated more highly when they perform in gender-blind auditions from behind a screen. One study found that conducting auditions from behind a screen increases by 50 percent the chance that a woman will advance out of preliminary audition rounds.

The problem isn’t exactly misogyny. We’ve come a long way since President Richard Nixon told an aide why he wouldn’t appoint a woman to the Supreme Court: “I’m not for women, frankly, in any job. I don’t want any of them around. Thank God we don’t have any in the cabinet.”

Today it’s not a clear-cut case of men oppressing women. It seems to be more about unconscious bias, a patriarchal attitude that is absorbed and transmitted by men and women alike — which is one reason women often aren’t much help to other women.

“Women aren’t particularly nice to women,” notes Esther Duflo, an economist at M.I.T. who has studied gender issues. She observes that in Spain, researchers found that having more women randomly assigned to a committee evaluating judiciary candidates actually hurts the prospects of female candidates. A similar study found that on Italian academic evaluation committees, women evaluate female candidates more harshly than men do.

A central challenge is that it’s difficult for women to be perceived as both competent and likable: If they’re seen as competent, they’re grating nags, while if they’re perceived as nice, they’re airheads. There’s no such trade-off for men.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a Harvard Business School professor, has conducted pioneering studies of women in the business world and says that the first women at their level tended to be stereotyped in one of four ways: as a mother figure, as a sex object, as a cheerleader or as a tough-as-nails “iron maiden.” “If you have to be stereotyped, that’s the best one, the iron maiden,” she adds.

Indeed, the first women as leaders in democratic systems — people like Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel — have often been tough, hawkish figures, and Kanter says it may be easier for voters to support this kind of woman rather than one who is more traditionally feminine. Hillary Clinton also fits into that hard-bitten, hawkish archetype.

So what do we make of this research? I’d say that if Clinton leads Trump in the head-to-head polls, maybe it’s because of gaps in experience, policies, temperament and judgment. It’s certainly not about the “woman’s card,” which is like a credit card that isn’t accepted anywhere but carries a $3,000 annual fee.

It has been said that Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did — just backward and in high heels. Now that’s the woman’s card.


By: Nicholas Kristof, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, April 30, 2016

May 2, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Republicans, War On Women | , , , , | Leave a comment

“Outreach To ‘Lady People’ Campaign”: The GOP Wants The Ladies To Love Them, (Just Not Enough To Need Birth Control)

So, the announcement that Republicans had formed yet another political action committee targeting female voters – a lady-centric Super Pac named the Unlocking Potential Project – came just as America was digesting the supreme court’s decision to allow certain corporations to deny women birth control coverage based on religious objections. Did Republicans think this was genius counter-programming, or what?

Forget the obvious irony that limiting access to birth control is the definition of denying women their full potential: could launching a women’s outreach program the day we’re reminded of just where the GOP stands on women’s issues – on top of them, stomping down, mostly – ever be genius, or is it just run-of-the-mill tone-deafness?

It is nearly impossible to keep track of the number of times the GOP has rebooted this “outreach to lady people” campaign – there’s already an entirely separate Pac, called RightNOW, aimed at recruiting female candidates (launched this year), and a parallel effort by the National Republican Congressional Committee, Project GROW (from 2013). The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) launched yet another, similar recruitment project this summer – 14 in ’14 – primarily because the number of Republican women running for Congress actually shrank between 2012 and 2014. One presumes the party will keep holding recruitment drives until the number of female Republican candidates reaches zero.

(Republicans’ time and money is probably better spent on the other NRCC project relating to female candidates: workshops for male candidates on how to not to sound like dumbasses when running against them.)

GOP voters have stymied the NRCC’s efforts by rejecting women at the polls almost as fast as the party leadership can put them on stages and point to them as evidence that the party has no problem with women. In the 2012 primary season, female Democratic candidates won their races about 50% of the time, but female Republicans did just 31% of the time. This House primary season doesn’t look to be turning out much better: female Democratic candidates are winning their races about twice as often as Republicans, and some of those losses have been particularly nasty.

Former Miss America and Harvard Law School graduate Erika Harold, running as a Republican against incumbent Rodney Davis in Illinois, found herself the object of dirty tricks and vile slurs: “Rodney Davis will win,” wrote the chair of the county Republicans in an email to a GOP newsletter, “and the love child of the DNC will be back in Shitcago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires.” Denied access to GOP voter data by the party – an invaluable source of information for both fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts – she lost, 55-41%. In other words, a female Republican candidate straight out of We Are the New GOP central casting got slimed by the kind of racist nonsense Republicans continually declare to be a vicious stereotype about Republicans.

But it’s not a stereotype if the examples just keep on coming.

The most charitable interpretation of Republican outreach efforts to women is “at least they know it’s a problem!”. But the truth is that they’ve known about the political gender gap since 1984, when it first emerged as a potential problem for the party. And, sadder still, they’ve been trying to address it explicitly for at least 20 years – a Quixotic crusade that’s given them the largest gender gap ever (20 points) in the 2012 election and, looking forward to this year’s elections, a double-digit deficit among women in generic congressional preference (50-38%).

The seeds of the party’s failure are clear in a dusty piece in The Atlantic from 1996, “In the Land of Conservative Women”: change a few names and dates and it could run in, say, Politico – tomorrow. The author, Elinor Burkett, spent half her time marvelling at the audaciousness of female Republican staffers wearing short skirts and enjoying rock-n-roll music (said one such rebel: “One girl told me I was the first girl she’d ever met who was pro-life and still cool”). The other half of the story was an earnest appraisal of kitchen-table-bound, pocket-book-cautious moms: “Overwhelmed by bills, worried about their kids, afraid of violence.” Surveying that vein of potential Republicans, she wondered, “If 1994 was the year of the angry white male, 1996 may turn out to be the year of the anxious white female.” (Nope! The Clinton-Dole gender gap was 14 points.)

What Republicans were really hoping to do in 1996, Burkett wrote, was “appeal to female voters by persuading them that a balanced budget, lower taxes, and school choice will do more to improve their lives than will affirmative action, abortion, and funding for rape-crisis centers.”

Well, that’s worked out great. (This strategy’s dismal chances can also be seen in the politician presented as female Republicans’ biggest ally: Newt Gingrich, described as “determined to help women come together”.)

Flash forward to more recent times and the right is still promoting fun-loving gals who like guns and God while writing positioning memos that urge candidates to address “the economic anxiety women feel” and making this familiar argument:

Women tell us their top issues are the economy, jobs, health care, spending. When we start buying into the Democrats’ definition that it’s all about reproductive issues, then we are not playing to our strengths.

That reproductive rights are an economic issue is a stubborn truth that will keep the GOP stumbling for as long as they choose to ignore it.

I’ll give you one hint about the problem with believing that your female compatriots are either lusty libertarian-leaning pixies or Xanax-seeking helpmeets: it starts with “virgin” ends with “complex” and has a “whore” in the middle.

Don Draper’s psyche is not anything upon which to base a political strategy – and if you require Pac upon strategic plan upon public statement to affirmatively appeal to women, you’re confirming the fact that your policies alone no longer do. Maybe work on that.


By: Ana Marie Cox, The Guardian, July 1, 2014

July 2, 2014 Posted by | Contraception, GOP, Women Voters | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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