While neither of the two major political parties has a long history of courting women within their ranks, the Democrats did realize earlier than Republicans the importance of women as voters and as candidates. The Republicans, it would seem, still have yet to get the message.
Republicans have trouble understanding females. John McCain sat back and observed Hillary losing the 2008 Democratic nomination and figured that he could capitalize on that by placing a woman on his ticket - any woman. McCain saw the gender issue in much the same way that his party sees the race issue - any black person represents all black people - a Clarence Thomas is as good as a Thurgood Marshall and essentially represents the same constituency. Sarah Palin was just another way of saying Hillary Clinton - and she was younger and more photogenic. That should seal up the women's vote, shouldn't it?
But even if McCain's logic was valid, which it wasn't, the Republican Party also suffers from a host of whack-a-doodles, some of whom are firmly rooted in the 1950's. I mentioned one earlier this week - a white, male state senator from South Carolina who had referred to women as being "a lesser cut of meat," and reportedly had a history of suggesting the women should be at home baking cookies and "barefoot and pregnant."
Unfortunately, some of the Republican media-mouthpieces are even worse - individuals who don't have to stand for election and therefore feel free to say almost anything that crosses their rancid little minds. Rush Limbaugh has referred to women on-air as "sluts," "whores," and "semen receptacles."
Republicans do elect women, occasionally - but Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Joni Ernst, and even Mia Love aren't anywhere near being representative of hard-working American women who are worried about the health and welfare of their families - having necessities like food, clothing, safe housing, affordable medical care, educational opportunities, and pay comparable to men. Indeed many Republican female office holders seem to be focused on making those life-necessities harder to obtain.
(I did notice today that the National Republican Campaign Committee has released a list of nineteen Democrats in Congress that the organization is targeting for defeat. Not surprisingly, eight of those nineteen are women.)
So as 2016 approaches, a year in which the Democrats are likely to nominate and elect the nation's first female President, the Grand Old Party is still focused on maintaining wealth and privilege and electing only those women who represent the values of their wealthy husbands and fathers. 2016 should be a watershed year for the country - and for the Republican Party. Perhaps it will be the year in which the GOP finally begins to figure out what women are really all about. If they don't do it soon, they may lose the opportunity forever.