That’s how long we have to sit through campaign ads and daily digest of which liar or loon embarrassed zirself most egregiously in the run-up to midterm elections here in the U.S.
I’ve read a couple pieces about the heightened gender-split along party lines this go-round: men, who since the Reagan era have trended more conservative/Republican, are expected to have higher turn-out on November 2; and women, more liberal/Democrat, are predicted to stay home.* Politico’s Ben Smith attributes part of this to the gendered effects of the recent and ongoing “mancession” (yawn), and the NYT writer Megan Thee-Brenan and Janet Elder opine that the shift to a more male electorate might be due to feelings: men’s rage vs. women’s despair.
I haven’t assessed all the various polls that Smith, Thee-Brenan and Elder reference, but I can’t help but notice the gender lenses they’re reading through. Men are angry! It’s making them pay attention! Women are sad. They’re too disheartened to follow the issues. The Times piece notes that surveys indicate that men a) say they’re paying more attention than women do, and b) indicate they’re more excited about voting, but this is self-reported data. Since I know that on average men are less likely to admit ignorance or uncertainty than women are, I’ve got to be a bit skeptical of these reports.
So, I’m a woman, and I know a lot of women. Granted, we might be a bit stroppier than average, but we’re paying attention, and talking to our friends and family, and are sure-as-shootin’ going to be at the polls five weeks from today. (Go, Working Families Party!) And guess what? I’m angry. And sad. And honestly, scared. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. This election is the first since the dubious rise of the various Tea Party factions (and make no mistake, this is not a centralized movement), which neither Politico or the Times takes into account.
Readers, you’re all over the country–what are you seeing? Do you see the gender-gap (and/or the enthusiasm gap) in your circles? Is it more noticeable than in years past? Are you voting? Active in local campaigns or general G-O-T-V measures? How are you spending the last five weeks of the political season: in rage, despair, or something else?
P.S. I swear to maude, if that contemptible bigot Carl Palladino gets close to winning the gubernatorial seat here in New York, I’m outta here.
*Why only since the Reagan era? Does anyone know of any studies on reasons for this divergence?