The Huffington Post quoted Madeline Albright saying, “I can't understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney.”
They said Albright’s words sum up the lack of support for Mitt amongst female voters. At the Democratic National Convention, Julian Castro’s keynote speech reiterated this idea with his “Romney is no for women’s rights.” Obviously, Romney is sending the message that he does not support women’s rights. But Romney’s history shows otherwise, and he should capitalize on this.
To change his negative image as “no for women’s rights” and gain support from women, Romney needs to clearly communicate his concrete plans on abortion, pay equality, and how the Republican Party can cater to women, not just big business. A clearly communicated plan of action will soften the anti-women’s rights tone on the issues that are preventing women from supporting Romney and win some female voters.
As it stands, female voters do not want Romney as president because he has given women the impression that he is anti-women’s choice and does not support equal pay for men and women. Romney has given a hazy image on where he stands with these issues.
Although Romney argues that he has been explicit in his views on abortion, many women still do not know where Romney stands on abortion. So, they lump him with the general Republican platform that is completely anti-abortion and trying to overturn Roe v. Wade to prevent women from exercising the right to choice.
Romney has also gained the false image as not wanting women to be equally paid to that of men. Romney would not endorse a senate bill to require businesses to justify paying men and women different amounts of money for the same work. But Romney did not endorse the bill because he thought it would harm the economy under Obama’s economic policy.
But if Romney explained his rationale behind rejecting the senate bill, women would not think he wants to keep them dependent on men or in poverty. Many families rely on women to put food on the table because of the recession. An explanation would have helped women understand that his lack of support was to improve the economy so that an equal pay bill could safely be passed. He would have gained more female votes.
He would have also been able to distance himself from the stigma of the Republican Party only supporting big businesses at the expense of the less well off. Many women do not support Romney because they think Republicans only support big businesses such as in the aforementioned senate bill. But if Romney were to explain the economic logic of how his plans could help average Americans, he could gain the support of working women trying to make ends meet.
Likewise, if Romney explained that he intends to leave abortion issues to the courts, more women would feel safer to vote for him. For example, trying to get Roe v. Wade overturned in the Supreme Court is virtually impossible. First, the rule of law should prevail over personal opinion. So, even if most judges are anti-abortion, they still have to abide by the constitution to respect a woman’s freedom. Second, according to Berkeley Professor Michel Laguerre, Supreme Court decisions move in sync with the culture.
All Romney has to do is let the public know where he stands on issues and the logic of how his policies benefit women, and he could gain more votes. But he has not described a single concrete strategy in any aspect of his campaign.