The Pew Research Center’s findings on the increase in single mothers, the number of women who are the sole or primary breadwinners and the number of married mothers who out-earn their husbands underscore the need for Republicans to recalibrate their message.
In 2012, Mitt Romney won a majority of the votes of white women and married women. But he won only 31 percent of single women and only 44 percent of the overall female vote.
The message that too many women heard from the Republican Party was negative: finger-wagging at contraception, demeaning women in the military (Rick Santorum), outlandish comments about rape. If women were bewildered by Obamacare, they didn’t hear anything meaningful from Republicans about what they — in many cases, the primary purchaser — could do to reduce health-care costs or to protect them if they changed or lost their job. Many women concluded that the GOP had nothing for them; single mothers concluded that Republicans didn’t really approve of them.
Going forward, Republicans need to communicate to voters that conservatism offers them something. Rather than pushing small or limited government (too vague), Republicans should talk about value for tax dollars. That means ending useless, duplicative spending and redirecting what we spend toward middle- and lower-class people struggling to make ends meet. On the health-care front, replace Obamacare with a voucher for those who want to buy insurance. Domestic energy development will create jobs and lower fuel costs. Again, the focus is on the bread and butter.
Jennifer Rubin is a writer for The Washington Post.