“We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be granted to us and our daughters forever” – Susan B. Anthony
A few years ago I caught an article (I can’t find it here just now) discussing the correlation between women’s suffrage and the rise of the nanny state. That the two would be correlated is self-evident. The 19th amendment was ratified in 1920, giving us 90 years of data. Then-president Woodrow Wilson was a hallmark of progressivism, which has risen steadily through our governing structures over that same 90 years. But correlation need not imply causality – the two are very different.
The article, as I recall it, did attempt to make a causal link between the two. Namely, that women voted with a more “caring” outlook and therefore gave greater support to social programs to help the poor and needy. I can’t vouch for the correctness of the argument, but it was at least logically formulated.
Before I go too much farther, let me give a rather obvious yet necessary proviso. I fully support women’s suffrage. While I oppose the nanny state and all progressivism, unlike progressives I am unwilling to see a desirable outcome at the expense of principle. We will win the right way, or not at all.
My point in all of this is that there is an argument out there, a narrative if you will, that the nanny state is being sustained on the votes of women. In 2008, a Democratic landslide, president Obama won the women’s vote 56-44 but lost the men’s vote 49-51. (In 2004 Kerry won women 52-48 but lost men 45-55.) Now, none of this is to say that Democrats are solely to blame for progressivism – Republicans have played quite a role in the downfall of freedom too. But, on the whole, big government, tax-and-spend policies tend to be slightly more aligned with Democrats than Republicans.
I’m going to offer a postulation that this demographic voting trend could change, which would portend electoral disaster for the Democratic party as it is currently constituted. (It will obviously change if need be; politicians are quite good at shifting positions to fit the latest polling data.) Allow me to digress for a moment, to show you the potential catalyst for a shift.
Earlier this week, some outfit called “Citizens for the Republic” released a commercial titled “mourning in America” (modeled after Reagan’s 1984 “morning in America” commercial – both can be seen here.) The commercial gives some statistics about how bad things are economically, and how it is impacting families. It is then noted that parents are bringing children into the world saddled with a $30,000 of the national debt, while the screen shot rolls over a peaceful, sleeping baby. I personally think the number is too low, in that it only accounts for the national debt and not “unfunded liabilities” – the actual share should be closer to $150,000 to $200,000. The point is the same though. There is a gripping picture of an innocent baby saddled with massive debt – debt that will jeopardize her ability to live a productive, happy, free life; a life her parents took for granted.
This is the tipping point. This is the game-changer. When mothers, not women in general, but mothers come to complete grips with the knowledge that progressive, nanny state policies are jeopardizing the future of their kids, not “the next generation” but their own kids sleeping upstairs right now, trusting safely in Mommy to protect them; there may well be a holy terror unleashed on progressive policies the likes of which this nation has not known. You can forget about making appeals to care for this or that needy person – asking a mother to sacrifice her children for the sake of some social program is dead on arrival.
Watch for the spin to come fast and furious over this one. Progressives surely understand that if the curtain of pseudo-moral haze is rolled back exposing progressive policies as destructive to the future of the children, the mama grizzlies will wreck shop and shut down the whole game.