G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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The lede of Roger Cohen’s NYT editorial titled “America’s Gender Divide“:
CLEVELAND — FOR one prominent Cleveland businessman, a lifelong Democrat, the election had come down to a couple of burning questions: Did he dare tell his wife that he was thinking of voting for Mitt Romney? Would she ever forgive him?
In the end, although tempted, he did not dare and voted early for Obama. His quandary illustrates a fundamental dynamic of the excruciatingly close Ohio vote, which in turn could decide the election. Many men who voted for Obama in 2008 are now leaning toward Romney because they are frustrated by the president’s handling of the economy and convinced that he cannot spur a decisive recovery.
I’ll state the obvious. No man worth his salt cowers in fear that his vote will offend his wife or anyone else. If this is the case, then you are in an unhealthy relationship. I always hate to do this, but imagine one of the media castrati expressing with not just a hint of glee that a wife’s vote was dictated by her husband. Lying at the bottom of every single bit of rhetoric surrounding this election is the belief that female voters (and minority voters) are the voices of morality – that any woman or minority who votes (R) is doing so out of false consciousness and that any man who also supports Romney is seeking to maintain the Old Ways with white men at the helm.
Cohen also dramatizes the divide. The following statistical blurb doesn’t seem to fit the strongly adjectives to describe gender differences in voting patterns:
My Ohio survey was unscientific — conversations over a few days — but national polling reveals a sharp split along gender lines. The latest poll by The New York Times and CBS News found that Mr. Obama is supported by 52 percent of women and 44 percent of men, while Mr. Romney is preferred by 51 percent of men and 44 percent of women.
The race is poised on a knife-edge: the knives at the American breakfast tables where many husbands and wives are arguing.
And the kicker:
It has come down to women against men, turnout against momentum. How many women, blacks, Latinos, workers will vote for Obama? How many Romney voters are keeping quiet about their choice? There is no romance left. Obama will have to grind this out — and hope feminine good sense prevails.
The New York Times’ stable of editorialists are really good at saying absolutely nothing. The only point that stands out in Cohen’s piece is the one which I’ve focused on here. He seems to think he’s making a larger point, but I can’t really see it. Beta posturing, ineffective writing.