Perhaps the most insightful single sentence of analysis after the election was penned by columnist Mona Charen: “Women want security above all.”
Democrats knew this.
“The Republican message of free enterprise, self-reliance and individual initiative is a harder sell than the Democratic message of ‘Let the government take care of you.’ This is particularly true among single women. Romney won male voters 52 to 45 percent, but he lost women 55 to 44 percent. While Romney prevailed among married women by 53 to 46 percent, Obama’s margin among single women was a crushing 68 to 30 percent,” she wrote.
The Julia ad presented a lifetime’s worth of promised security to single women voters. It begins with a federally funded Head Start program, moves through her education (its quality and affordability guaranteed to federal programs), through her career (equal pay assured), and through her apparently single parenthood — the ad says “Julia decides to have a child. Throughout her pregnancy, she benefits from maternal checkups, prenatal care, and free screenings under health care reform.”
There’s not a husband in sight. Sadly, the ad simply mirrors reality. Fewer than half of American households have a married couple in them. And the illegitimacy rate is now at 40 percent.
The GOP has a different message.
“A Republican has the much more demanding challenge — to persuade voters that smaller government and more free enterprise will improve their lives, their incomes and therefore their security,” she says. “A good paying job is far superior to even the most lavish welfare benefits. That message has the advantage of being true, but it just may require a bit of political genius to sell it effectively.”
Conservatives (and even some liberals, such as Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show”) mocked the Julia ad when it was released.
“It is a mindset that women should find offensively patronizing,” wrote David Harsanyi on Human Events.
But as the election demonstrated, single women found it reassuring. And Republicans have yet to find a response to that.