R.I.P, ‘War On Women’

Gary Bauer President, American Values
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The Democrats’ war on unborn babies has failed, and with it their “war on women” meme can finally be laid to rest.

In an attempt to distract voters from President Obama’s poor stewardship of the economy and foreign policy disasters, Democrats again seized on the idea that Republicans were waging a “war on women” because they don’t support the Democratic Party’s extreme platform of abortion on demand.

But it failed, and rather miserably.

In the Texas governor’s race, Democrats ran Wendy Davis, who vaulted to national prominence by filibustering a popular pro-life bill that would have outlawed late-term abortions and required abortion centers to follow basic health guidelines. Davis lost by nineteen percentage points to proudly pro-life state Attorney General Greg Abbott. What’s interesting is not that Abbott won — that outcome was widely expected — but that he triumphed among women by nine points.

In Colorado’s Senate race, incumbent Democrat Mark Udall lost to pro-life Republican Cory Gardner. Udall earned the nickname “Mark Uterus” for his campaign’s obsession with abortion-related issues. According to one study, most of the TV spots run on Udall’s behalf were focused on abortion.

So did Udall scare Democratic women to the polls? It doesn’t seem so. According to ABC News, “Turnout among Democrats is at 28 percent, a record low in CO Senate races dating back to 1992.” And exit polls show that the Colorado electorate was only 47 percent female this year, compared to 51 percent female in 2012.

In a revealing episode, during a speech to supporters a few days before the election, Udall went off on an abortion tangent, saying, “I’m proud to stand with Colorado’s women. I’m proud to stand for reproductive freedom.”

This prompted someone in the crowd to yell, “That’s not the only thing you stand for! Jesus Christ!”

But it wasn’t just anyone who’d yelled. It was Leo Beserra, a millionaire contributor to Udall’s campaign. “I’m trying to figure out who in the hell decided this was how the campaign was supposed to go,” Beserra later told The Guardian. “Who is running the worst campaign? Him. Because f—— abortion is all he talks about. He should not talk about it anymore whatsoever. There are so many other issues.”

In Iowa, Senate candidate Joni Ernst ran as an unapologetic social conservative and beat her Democratic rival by nine points (52 percent to 43 percent). Ernst lost women by just one point, which her campaign should view as a victory considering that President Obama beat Mitt Romney among Iowa women by 19 points just two years ago.

There were other signs that the “war on women” meme has lost whatever appeal it once had. In both Arkansas and Kentucky, Republican Senate candidates easily won the women vote as they cruised to victory. A strongly pro-life candidate surprised pundits by winning a North Carolina Senate seat. And numerous pro-life Republican women won — not only Ernst in Iowa, but also Mia Love in Utah and Barbara Comstock in Virginia.

To top it off, “war on women” mascot Sandra Fluke lost her bid for the California State Senate.

In Oregon, after narrowly winning in the Obama landslide 2008, Democrat Jeff Merkley coasted to re-election against Republican Monica Wehby, who ran as a liberal on social issues. Wehby had many problems as a candidate. But — in what should be a lesson for the Republican Party and its donors — her aggressive support for gay marriage and abortion rights seems not to have helped her, and may have hurt.

I’ll be the first to admit that abortion probably wasn’t at the forefront of most voters’ minds during the campaign, much less on Election Day. But that’s the point: The Democrats tried to make the election about abortion, and millions of voters just weren’t having it.

That said, I don’t really believe 2014 will mark the end of the Democrats’ pathetic “war on women” attacks; they’ll revive them whenever they’re deemed political useful, probably in 2016 if not sooner.

But more and more voters are coming to understand that when it comes to the “war on women” campaign, the real war is being waged against innocent human life and, ultimately, voters’ credulity.