The AARP's Divided We Fail initiative released a survey today of swing voters in battleground states; those identified as older, lower income, mostly white women, who said their decision would be based, primarily, upon the economy. Not a surprise, considering the state of same, but one that bears further scrutiny following another survey; this one reported by USA Today and ABC news which stated older women were unhappier than their male counterparts:
Women start out as happy young adults but by midlife wind up the sadder sex, says a new study on satisfaction related to financial circumstances and family life, which past research has shown play a significant role in well-being and happiness.The ABC report showed a graph that started with men and women in their 20's, with women the happier of the two sexes and men working on it -- until age 48 when the lines cross as women take a downward slide into unhappiness and men find themselves well situated.
What is this about?
The answer provides a clue to the support for Hillary Clinton within the same demographic: the way our society is structured, the possibility that a women of a certain age and (at least at birth) background might finally be able to dictate policy that would include some consideration of their circumstances:
Early in adult life, women are more likely than men to fulfill their aspirations for material goods and family life, but later, they may be divorced or separated and less financially secure. Meanwhile, men's finances and family life improve, making them "the happier of the two genders," the study says.The societal support system for these women becomes a pulled-out rug that threatens to leave them behind after age 48. If they are not with a man, they are at risk for poverty which increases the pressure upon these women to stay with their men. But that is no panacea. If they do stay, many of these women are at increased risk of becoming a caretaker and/or beholden to a man in a position of power, that, dependent upon his character, who has the opportunity to misuse that power awarded him by society.
No wonder the men surveyed were happier.
The AARP survey concluded that the older white women in the battleground states they approached placed the economy as their preeminent issue felt that neither candidate was addressing their concerns.
"Undecided swing voters are older women, focused domestically on the economy and health care and do not feel that either candidate is adequately addressing these issues," said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond.As societal imbalances can produce conflict within the groups being oppressed, a consequence of the divide and conquer nature of our trickle-down economics that don't (trickle down), it is possible that these women could end up voting against their own interests with a McCain who, at least, culturally speaks their language, as opposed to an Obama, who does not seem to be speaking to them at all.
The polling found that 60 percent of swing voters say they are interested in learning more about the candidates' positions on the issues that matter most to them. Perhaps most importantly, the research indicates that nearly all swing voters (94%) in the six key states agree that health care and financial security are too big for any one candidate or party to fix.
What does Senator Obama have to do to reach these women?
I don't claim to be an expert, but here's what I'd say:
"I get it that society is leaving many of you behind. I WILL SPEAK TO THIS AS YOUR PRESIDENT. I will make sure that sexism inherent in our economy, our society, our laws, our support systems, our education, our assumptions, are scrutinized, given the light of day and corrected wherever such inequality is uncovered in our system. IT WILL NO LONGER BE SWEPT UNDER THE RUG."
Not sure how that would go over with their happier male counterparts, but it's what I'd say.
Labels: Barack Obama, Economy, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Politics, Swing Voters