Electoral wins and losses have grown increasingly easy to predict… drawing imaginary lines across voters and their seemingly private lives. Woman. Man. Mother. Father. Single. Straight. Gay. Married. Baby Boomer. Small Business Owner. Hunter, er – “Sportsman.” Veteran. They combine characteristics to build little brands. “Soccer Moms.” “Nascar Dads.”
Consultants, more powerful than you may imagine, manipulate enormous amounts of data that include voting habits and consistency, every demographic conceivable. Hard “R” Republicans. Hard “D” Democrats. Graduate degree. No degree. Professional. Service sector.
All of this, and previous election cycle analysis, combines with campaign strategy to produce tiny, virtual countries with predictable populations – responsive to certain language, colors, messages, textures.
Every campaign ad, every ounce of spin provided to the press corps is carefully choreographed to elicit specific response on election night. In my mind, choosing the next president is a bit like seducing a new lover. Especially when it comes to the women’s vote. We want our candidate to want it – and we MUST want him (or her) in return— otherwise, women will just vote “safe.”
It is the electoral equivalent of settling down with the predictable guy. Trading passion for stability. In the wake of 9/11 and the Iraq war – the electorate is hungry for calm. Not peace, because the word infers resolution – something we may never achieve. But a calm, less violent and intrusive time is something many Americans are hungry for.
But which candidate is the “safe” one? Hillary. Hands down. Double entendre, intended. Why Hillary? Because we know how her husband governed. We know what types of folks she will surround herself with. And if the voters are scared, they will vote for the status quo. It is predictable and tangible. Given the historic low approval numbers of President George Walker Bush and the US Congress – women are ready to be reckoned with.
In a nutshell. We are ready for the finale. A word to the powerful consultants, and those who cover this election, this election is about authenticity – but not for the bland reasons you may suspect.
Our society has become increasingly coarse. The pop-tart phenomenon, the heroin-chic rockers, TMZ, reality TV confessional has almost eclipsed our desire for mystery, seduction and courtship. Political punditry is almost grotesque. Folks who have never dropped a piece of literature, worked the phones for a swing precinct, or created questions for a statewide poll, have somehow leaped to the front of the line as “experts.”
Here’s the thing… for those who crave seduction – the last place where we find something elusive and interesting, is election night. For practitioners, it is not the vote counts… it is the personal relationships inside of the political bubble. We map each other… going beyond the Alex Gage Microtargeting Formula… beyond the Jan Van Lohuizen crosstabs… beyond the Swift Boat footage… beyond the issues and responsibilities of governance and… ESCAPE.
Women voters are tired of all the machinations. In 2006, they took scalps on election night. They threw Republicans and all their hypocrites (except for Hastert, who is THANKFULLY stepping down, albeit a year late) out on their collective arse.
2008 will be even more so. We are all voters this cycle. Hillary is definitely beatable. But, whether it is her primary opponents – or a Republican in the General Election – the men running for president have to understand a few things about seduction… Americans need to fall in love again, we are fatigued from the Iraq War… terrorism… and constant sniping. We want inspiring. We want the political equivalent of “The One.”
Barack Obama and Fred Thompson were supposed to be love at first sight. Obama drew comparisons to both John and Robert Kennedy. Thompson was supposed to be the second coming of Reagan. Instead, the men were great at the beginning – but the finale failed to produce a satisfying climax. Maybe the length of the election cycle has spoiled us for enjoying the courtship phase. Life is fast paced. We are all busy.
McCain is past his due date. Rudy Giuliani… is well, a one night stand everyone regrets from 2000.
Mitt Romney is promiscuous when it comes to policy. He’s had a one nighter with every microtarget Pro-Gay Marriage then Anti-gay marriage amendment. Pro-choice, pro-life, anti-gun, pro-gun – remember the varmints! – he’s against socialized medicine but brags about passing a governmental mandate for healthcare. He’s against hot the war in Iraq was prosecuted, but supports the surge, sort of. He can’t take us all to bed. He can’t marry six or seven different policies. It’s against the law to be a polygamist. Just ask Warren Jeffs.
Joe Biden is sexy and safe – but not well known enough to survive. Although I have little doubt, given a chance that he would satisfy the female voter’s appetite for authenticity, gravitas, tangible solutions and charm.
Whether behind the closed curtain in the voting booth, or behind closed bedroom doors… women voters want a little dance, a nice flirt, real desire. There is a hunger for more than wham, bam. And if the male candidates can’t deliver that – women won’t vote for a man. They’ll sign up for the sisterhood and vote Hillary. She’s got Billy, and if women want a promiscuous guy – who better than an old boyfriend to satisfy the craving?
Frankly, 2008 is a lot like the Cell Block Tango from Chicago. Use your imagination to cast the roles. This column has a few hints.
— Media Lizzy