“We should show concern for everybody by extending the marriage franchise to everybody,” panelist Mollie Hemingway proposed. “Everybody go out, right now, go get married if you’re not married,” she said to laughter, “and we should be able to solve all these problems.”…
This, they argued, also would have the felicitous effect of making women more Republican. Charen argued that “it is the decline of marriage that is the lodestar for why people’s voting behavior is what it is,” and Hemingway asserted that “we do not have a sex gap here in voting. We have a marriage gap.”
As a matter of statistics, this is true: President Obama’s 11-point win among women in 2012 came entirely from his 36-point advantage among unmarried women. But Republicans will be waiting a long time if they think they can improve their fortunes by persuading more women to get hitched. Essentially, they’re saying that Republicans aren’t the ones who need to change — women are.
There’s a running debate on the trade-offs of feminism, but this sort of traditional assault on the movement is unlikely to boost the GOP’s standing among women. If Republicans want to appeal to more unmarried women, they might reconsider the no-exception opposition to abortion and, increasingly, birth control that dominates the party. Otherwise, a throwback strategy of convincing unmarried women that they have been misled by feminism is tantamount to convincing Hispanics that they have been led astray by immigration advocates or telling young voters that they have been deceived by the gay rights movement.