Who's that lady?

Did McCain just pick a woman to win the Hillary crowd? Members of Salon's Table Talk community weigh in on the female vote.


Salon Staff
August 30, 2008 1:15AM (UTC)

Private Life

I still don't get it ...

Valley Girl -- 08:18 am Pacific Time -- Aug 29, 2008 -- #4046 of 4073

Could someone please explain something to me? So McCain has chosen the female governor of Alaska as his running mate. And most of the talking heads are saying he chose her to attract the female voters who were behind Hillary. But Palin is pro-life, pro-gun, and several other things that are precisely the opposite of Hillary Clinton.

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Does the GOP think that we're all going to go brain dead and be all "Duh ... Hey, she's got boobs just like me. Just like Hillary does. So, they must be exactly the same. She gets my vote. Wheeeee!!"

Because, otherwise, I really don't get this.

Nojopar -- 08:34 am Pacific Time -- Aug 29, 2008 -- #4050 of 4073

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Does the GOP think that we're all going to go brain dead and be all "Duh ... Hey, she's got boobs just like me. Just like Hillary does. So, they must be exactly the same. She gets my vote. Wheeeee!!"

Well, there are a few facts to consider that make the GOP's argument rather compelling. Will it attract ALL women or even MOST women to McCain? Obviously not. Will it attract women on the left or to the left of left to McCain? Probably not. Most left and left of left people aren't going to be attracted to a GOP candidate no matter what the GOP does. Ergo, they don't count and can be safely ignored. The Democrats employ a similar strategy when looking at the right and the far right, obviously.

So the gushy middle is the interesting place. Incidentally, roughly 40 percent of voters are the gushy middle and 50 percent (ish) of voters are women. So we're talking about as much as 20 percent of the vote in the gushy middle (arguably less since women tend to skew left). Some of that gushy middle is dead smack in the middle, and they're ripe for swaying because they don't have an allegiance to any party or direction. Some of it is left-center. There's a chance the GOP could take some of those people, but probably a lesser share than the right of center. Basically this comes down to shoring up the right of center women voters (who are inclined to vote GOP anyway), pulling some of the dead center women who are 100 percent fair game, and trying to pull a few of the left of center women who would otherwise be inclined to vote Democrat but could be persuaded otherwise for a historic opportunity. That total could be upwards of 10 percent-15 percent of the total voters.

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Now the really interesting factoid that most people don't realize is that in the vast majority of presidential elections the candidates receive votes within 10 percentage points of each other. So now that 10 percent-15 percent that might be in play by doing so makes a heck of a lot more sense. It could be the ballgame, potentially.

Chuck Lawhorn -- 09:02 am Pacific Time -- Aug 29, 2008 -- #4053 of 4073

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So why didn't McCain just copy the Democrats again and pick Geraldine Ferraro?

True to form, he's basically done something that was new 24 years ago, thinking it's still new now.

And doesn't Palin have less experience than Obama, which McCain was trying to thump him for?

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GaudyNight -- 10:12 am Pacific Time -- Aug 29, 2008 -- #4057 of 4073

But it's NOT a historic opportunity; there was a woman as VP candidate in freaking 1984, when I was SIX.

Nojopar -- 10:39 am Pacific Time -- Aug 29, 2008 -- #4059 of 4073 "

Oh but it is! Having a female VP candidate isn't the historic opportunity -- the historic opportunity is having a non-white or non-male serve in one of the two highest executive offices in the U.S. No matter who wins in November, as of February, one can no longer claim that the executive branch is solely the bastion of white males (only mostly the bastion). THAT is historic.

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Don't be mistaken! We're living in an era on the precipice of change, and it's exciting as hell. This is living history folks! This election is going to be a prominent note in the history books.

Best of Table Talk is an ongoing feature of Salon's vibrant community forum. Older posts of the week can be found in TT. Want to join the discussion? Sign up here.


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