On Monday Senator Mitch McConnell accused Hillary Clinton of playing the “gender card.” At a speech in Kentucky, McConnell said “I don’t think arguing ‘vote for me because I’m a woman’ is enough. You may recall my election last year. The gender card alone is not enough.”
Hillary had been waiting for an opening like this, and was quick with her rebuttal. She told reporters at an online Q&A that McConnell simply does not get it.
“There is a gender card being played in this campaign,” she said. “It’s played every time Republicans vote against giving women equal pay, deny families access to affordable child care or family leave, refuse to let women make decisions about their health or have access to free contraception. These aren’t just women’s issues, they are economic issues that drive growth and affect all Americans.”
Her campaign even had a quick video made to further slam Republican voting records on women’s issues:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 21, 2015
This deliberate pandering to women voters has the potential to be highly effective. Republicans have failed to grasp that Hillary is not afraid (if not eager) to play the gender card this time around, and she will play it well.
It is important to pause for a second and note that in McConnell’s quote, he was referring to his victory over challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in the 2014 Kentucky Senate race. The results of that race have little to do with gender. Lundergan Grimes was a Democrat running in an extremely red state. Enough said.
The GOP has a well-documented woman problem, and this may be the difference between a Republican president or a Hillary presidency. Jess McIntosh, a spokeswoman for the PAC EMILY’s List, summoned it up nicely.
“The Republicans have given her a huge opening,” she said. “They have been so tone-deaf on women’s issues that they’ve changed the game on people realizing how far we have to go to get women to equal economic opportunity.” She noted that the 2012 election had a historic 20-point gender gap in President Barack Obama’s favor.
The gender voting gap in the 2016 election has the potential to be even bigger. If Republicans fail to court women voters they can count on our first Madam President.[Associated Press] [Washington Post] [Politico] [Image via Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press]