Moving To The Right: Not An Effective Strategy
Written by Amanda Marcotte for RHRealityCheck.org - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.
One of the occasional great joys of political prognosticating is the chance to go back over what you wrote and see how right or wrong you were, though it’s obviously more fun if you were right. And on October 24 th, I published a column where I argued that Republican candidates might find that being hard right on reproductive rights helps them win primaries, but can be devastating in the general election.
I’m happy to say that I was right. Not every time-- some of the most extreme anti-choice candidates did win--but many of the candidates who lost races that they were earlier predicted to win in a walk were candidates whose extreme views on abortion rights were well-publicized. It wasn’t just Christine O’Donnell, either, though she was probably doomed from the moment it was exposed that her hostility to sexual freedom went beyond opposing rights that make women’s lives better right on to opposing masturbation, a popular activity among men, the ones who generally police and are not subject to the anti-sex police’s policing. Anti-choice extremism wasn’t what you wanted on your side to beat the Democrats this election.
Sharron Angle, who was assumed over the summer to have an easy win against the unpopular Harry Reid in a state with nearly 15 percent unemployment, was beaten for a number of reasons involving her inability to stay quiet about extreme right wing views on everything from Medicare to gun control. But her hostility to women who need abortions---even minors who are raped by family members---haunted her, particularly her quote about said victims trying to turn the “lemons” of rape into the supposed lemonade of bearing a child to give it away.
Similarly, Ken Buck of Colorado was so obnoxiously misogynist that he ended up losing the female vote by a substantial margin, enough to cost him the election. His jokes about women not deserving power, his ugliness towards a rape victim whose case he refused to prosecute, and his eagerness to claim that he would oppose abortion in any circumstance helped build the case against him. To make it worse, he indicated support for Prop 62, a measure that went down in dramatic defeat in part because of fears that it could be used to ban birth control. Carl Paladino, who wasn’t really expected to win the governorship of New York, nonetheless got a larger-than-expected beating because he displayed the same kind of misogyny, though with an even more vulgar bent.
But it wasn’t just Republicans who found that running to the right, especially on health care and women’s issues, actually doesn’t do well for you in a general election. Read more