An article today in Salon about how Republican women won't abandon the party over Brett Kavanaugh wildly misses the point. (You can read it here.) What's most bizarre about the article is that even Salon references polls that say otherwise and the piece notes that 15% of GOP women oppose him. The odd thing is that they treat that as if it's meaningless to show how massively GOP women are "as sexist as Republican men." At one point they explain that "a full 70 percent of Republican women want him on the bench" -- yet basic grade school math shows that 30% of Republican women don't want him on the bench, almost a third! (Alas, the article doesn't make clear how that 15% and 30% differ -- one relates to Republican women who oppose Kavanaugh, the other refers to those who don't want him on the bench -- so I can't help there...)
The author writes that the Kavanaugh nomination "'is not going to have an effect' on the large majority of Republican women." But...but the whole premise of the article wasn't about "the large majority," or most or even just some, it was about how, very specifically, Republican women will not turn on Kavanaugh or Trump. (Look below at the very title of their article, it doesn't get more clear than that.) But here's the thing: 15% is actually massive. Elections can turn on a loss of 2%. And if you lose an election by 8%, that's a landslide. If a party loses 15% of women voters, they are in in profound trouble.
And I'll go a step further -- these numbers may be unnaturally high. The Republican Party could have already lost, let's say, six percent of its women who have left the GOP in disgust. Women who, if they still identified themselves as Republicans, would be deeply opposed to the Kavanaugh nomination. So, that "full 70 percent of Republican women" is likely from a smaller pool than just a year ago.
Even that aside, it's rare that you're going to find 100% of any party agreeing en masse about any issue. I don't expect unanimity on anything, anywhere. (Though if it exists, it will likely be in the lock-step Republican Party, where its god Ronald Reagan talked about the 11th Commandment for Republicans: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.") But we're not talking about gray areas here, about how best to deal with immigration, health care or taxes with so many different directions they can take. We're talking about a single, lifetime choice about someone accused of attempting to committing rape, sexual assault and perjury. And about something that is personal and visceral. And about a nomination that the GOP has gone all in to push through a potential rapists without even questioning any witnesses to whitewash the whole thing. And so, if one thinks Republican women as a whole are not turning on the "all in" Kavanaugh or Bust party choice, and think 30% or even just 15% against him is nothing, you are missing the larger reality.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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