In the very long list of people who, in what might come to be seen as the most impressive achievement of his campaign, Mitt Romney managed to alienate (a single, late-breaking example: "He hates Chinese," said the deliveryman who brought around the takeaway to my flat on Tuesday night), the biggest and most damaging group by far was women.
As the results came in, while we had to wait late and long for the final verdict – endure Karl Rove's 11th-hour meltdown; enjoy Diane Sawyer's awesome, possibly mini-bar-assisted close of show banter and louche upper-body sway – it was clear from relatively early on that while the Latino vote came out solidly for Obama, it was women, particularly single women, who made themselves most decisively heard.
This shouldn't have been surprising. The Obama campaign had hammered away at Romney's record on women in pointed campaign ads from way back, targeting the customary staples – Romney's opposition to Roe v Wade, abortion under any circumstance and insurance coverage for contraception – so comprehensively that the danger became one of reduced impact through overexposure.
The sobering fact is that if Romney had won, with three places on the supreme court potentially up for grabs during his tenure, he could have changed the social landscape of the United States. According to exit polls, 68% of single women voted to stop him – women who, I think it is safe to assume, voted partly out of a desire to retain governance of their own ovaries, rather than outsource them, say, to a Republican senator from Missouri. This is as decisive a moment in feminism as there has been. Debates about where we are in a post-post-feminist world, how squeamish women are about calling themselves feminists, whether to wax or not to wax – all the tap-dancing that supposedly must be done these days to engage women in their own political interests – all of that fell away. Red or blue, left or right, "career woman" or "homemaker", they voted as one.
As Obama said on the stump: "Don't boo; vote. Voting is the best revenge!"
What the fuck were ReTHUGs thinking??? Thanks morons!!