Sunday, September 19, 2004

'Steel Magnolias'

There was a great article in last month's Atlantic that somehow slipped through our collective grasp, until now. It profiles the number of Democratic women who are making in-roads in the South, even while many Democratic strategists are ready to write the whole region off from the voting logs. The piece makes a number of good points. Among them:

All these women hail from the political center-right, favoring a robust military, gun owners' rights, and tax cuts—a far cry from the pantsuited liberals of the Hillary Clinton mold who leap to mind at the phrase "female Democratic senator."

As polls and election results over the past ten years have consistantly shown, these women have a great chance of attracting the very type of swing voters Democrats need, and they do so more naturally than their male counterparts. In fact the Atlantic says just that:

In a region where the white male vote is staunchly Republican, the best chance for a Democrat to win statewide election is by making substantial inroads among centrist and Republican-leaning women. "There are more independents among white women," says Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University, "and women candidates seem to have an easier time reaching out to them than some of the male candidates." If a woman can draw on female solidarity and still attract minority votes in sufficient number, she can eke out a victory.

If we are going to start winning back the once-solid South, this might be the place to start.


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