Monday, April 2, 2012

Attacks on women's rights hurting Romney

A USA Today “Swing State” poll, finds that Obama has jumped ahead of Romney among women registered voters 51% to 42%.  Just one month ago, a similar poll had Obama trailing Romney by two percentage points USA Today reports.

The big change is among women under fifty.  Less than two months ago less than 50% of these voters supported Obama, today more than six in ten do as they abandon Romney and the Republicans. Republicans' have an overwhelming support among men over 50 but it "won't be good enough if we're losing women by nine points or 10 points," says Sara Taylor Fagen, a Republican strategist.   She adds that, "The focus on contraception has not been a good one for us … and Republicans have unfairly taken on water on this issue."

The attacks on women’s rights are proving fatal for the Republicans.  The war on reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood are causing women to leave the GOP “in droves” says one commentator.  The Democrats are lapping it up, "American women can't trust Romney to stand up for them." Says Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager.

While polls are not very scientific they do give us some indication of the general mood and its clear that an open war on the right of a woman to have control over her own body and access to contraception is one that the misogynists can’t win.  The attempt to appease the Tea Baggers by attacking women is not simply hurting Romney but the Republican Party as a whole as are the right wing bigots like Limbaugh.   USA Today reports that “While women typically are more likely to identify themselves as Democrats than men are, that difference widens to a chasm in the USA TODAY poll. By 41%-24%, women call themselves Democrats; men by 27%-25% say they're Republicans.”

It would be a mistake to underestimate the actual mood in US society. The mass media would have us believe the mood is overwhelmingly conservative as it limits the political sphere to who votes for Democrats or Republicans.  Beyond this, there are millions that have opted out of the electoral process altogether, disgusted with both capitalist parties.  It is helpful to recall that in the aftermath of the crash, the US Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign to give the image of capitalism a boost.  It found through focus groups that the term “capitalism” was not advisable as most people associated it with the strong devouring the weak and they couldn’t use it.

Polls like these are done among registered voters and are useful as an indication of the what people are thinking at the moment.  Women are not going to be driven back a hundred years, that’s for sure.  The response to the Trayvon Martin killing is also an indication of the increased anger and movement against racism among all ethnic groups.

While the Democrats may well stand up for women’s reproductive rights which is an advantage at the polls over Republicans who won’t “stand up for them” on this issue, the question of wages and working conditions are a different ball game; one that brings the two corporate parties closer together both having the view that in these “difficult economic times” we all have to tighten our belts.

We have not seen the end of social unrest in the US yet. The US capitalist class is forced by the system to take back the gains made by working people over the last 100 years and if there is one thing that history teaches us is that despite times of relative calm and seeming passivity, the US working class will not allow this to happen without a major fight.

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