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Mon Aug 27, 2012, 10:19 AM

The origins of the GOP's war on women can be traced back to the summer of 1980

The importance of women to Barack Obama’s reelection hopes is no secret. The president consistently trails Mitt Romney among male voters, but so far that deficit is more than wiped out by his strength with females – which explains why the Obama team is redoubling its efforts to turn women against Romney and the GOP brand.

The proximate reason for this is the behavior of Republicans, who have placed a new level of rhetorical and legislative importance on reproductive issues in the past few years.

The shock value of Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment a week ago made it an instant national story, but the controversy also focused attention on the lack of a rape exception in the anti-abortion platform language Republicans will ratify in Tampa this week. This came a few months after the congressional GOP picked a fight with Obama over the administration’s efforts to mandate contraception coverage, and after Gov. Bob McDonnell and his fellow Virginia Republicans were forced to abandon a plan to compel women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before having an abortion. (Instead, McDonnell signed a bill that mandates a non-invasive ultrasound.) There’s also been a proliferation of “personhood” amendments at the state level, along with numerous other Republican-led efforts to restrict abortion. All of this has allowed Democrats to accuse the GOP of pursuing a “war on women.”

To understand the roots of the gender politics of 2012, though, you need to go back more than three decades, to the summer of 1980.

It can be hard to appreciate now, but the Republican Party that nominated Ronald Reagan in Detroit that July was far more diverse, demographically and ideologically, than today’s. In some ways, Reagan’s primary season victory cemented the rightward shift that Barry Goldwater’s 1964 nomination had begun, but the old Rockefeller wing wasn’t yet dead. Authentic liberals like Jacob Javits, Mac Mathias and Lowell Weicker remained prominent, and the party wasn’t intimately identified with Southern-tinged evangelical Christianity the way it now is.

more: http://www.salon.com/2012/08/27/where_the_gender_gap_was_born/

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Reply The origins of the GOP's war on women can be traced back to the summer of 1980 (Original post)
maddezmom Aug 2012 OP
cyberswede Aug 2012 #1

Response to maddezmom (Original post)

Mon Aug 27, 2012, 10:57 AM

1. K&R

Really interesting article - amazing how quickly things changed.

But it was Reagan’s convention, and the platform that was presented to delegates in Detroit included only a broad statement of support for gender equality. For the first time since 1940, it didn’t voice support for the ERA — but it did condemn any effort by the federal government to goad states into ratifying it. And it endorsed a “human life amendment,” the first time the GOP had formally weighed in on the post-Roe abortion debate.


The ’80 election is remembered as a landslide for Reagan, but almost all of it was attributable to men, who sided with him by an 18-point margin. Among women, Reagan barely edged out Carter, 47 to 46 percent.

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