No, GOP, Launching a Wedding Dress Offensive Will Not Get You Women's Votes
The GOP’s increasingly sad attempts to court the votes of American women remind me of that love-struck guy who just can’t take the hint. He wants your attention, even after you tell him you’re not interested, and you’re not interested because of just how weird he is about women. He tries everything, from arguing that his bad behavior is actually good for you to getting his girl friends (who really should know better) to talk him up. He even hires a relationship counselor.
So it’s hard not to see the Republican party’s latest round of midterm campaign ads – part of a $1m dollar effort to reach young voters with “culturally relevant” messages – as the last-ditch, desperate effort of a long-ago-dumped delusional loser. Playing off the TLC reality show about wedding gowns, Say Yes to the Dress, the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) put out videos on Wednesday comparing the way a woman votes to how she picks a wedding dress. Because ladies like clothes, right? Wedding clothes especially.
The CRNC released six videos for six different candidates; the one about Florida governor Rick Scott, who is obsessed with not letting women have abortions, has been getting most of the attention. They all feature the same young woman shopping for a wedding dress with her mother and some friends. The savvy young woman wants to vote for the Republican dress, but her out-of-touch mom wants her to go with the Democrat dress, Charlie Crist. It’s incredibly offensive, to be sure – as if women can only understand politics, or voting, if you dress them up in reality TV – but it’s sort of difficult to be outraged while you’re busy laughing at how pathetic these Republican get-out-the-vote ads have become.
When I contacted the CRNC to ask about their accidentally/on-purpose viral ad campaign, I was told that “everyone” – yes, every single person at the office of influential but controversial young conservatives of the future – was suddenly in a meeting and I should email their executive director,Matthew Donnellan. I contacted Donnellan and the organization’s national political director, Gus Portela, to request an interview. I didn’t get a direct response, but Portela did accidentally CC me on an email telling Donnellan not to talk to me because I was “clearly biased”. Pro tip: You’re not going to win women’s votes if you’re not even willing to talk to one.
Now, Republicans are very much in the right to be desperately seeking women’s votes and the support of young people – they are utter failures on this front, and Senate seats hang in the balance because of it. But oblivious ad campaigns like ‘The Rick Scott’ video just go to show that no matter how much money the GOP throws at women, it will continue to fail. Efforts to seem hip just look out of touch and sad, and attempts to talk to us feel more like “politics for dummies” than a genuine interest in engaging.
If Republicans want their “woman problem” to go away, they need to stop being such a problem for women. Stop the ongoing attacks on our bodies and health. Stop the stupid comments about rape. Stop questioning our ability to cast a vote. Actually … just stop.