According to Eugenia Chen at AlterNet, the pollsters have “announced unmarried women as the biggest swing votes in the next election.” Well, well, well… Although reading her article convinced me that Ms. Chen and I have a lot in common (we are about the same age, our families want us married and child-producing, and our ideas of true love have something to do with breakfast foods and sharing the NYT), we approach this news from entirely different angles. While she views this new focus on unmarried female voters as deplorable in that it once again makes a woman’s marital status important in a way that a man’s in not (and I concede her point), I see an opportunity. Might these typically liberal voters be courted and be able to exert some political pressure – might these women even vote as a block? Chen thinks not:
But what do unmarried women really have in common? Many unmarried women simply haven't found the right kind of men. Thousands of single mothers are unmarried because the men in their lives refuse to commit. Unmarried women may be divorcees or widows…Yes, yes – but let’s look at what these diverse groups do have in common. None of them are married. Most likely, none of them are celibate. So, what will they be wanting? Access to birth control. The right to make their own reproductive choices. And since they are also the primary incomes in their households, they should be concerned about fair pay and anti-discrimination laws as well. Chen adds one more category to the unmarried women list, “…lesbians who are unmarried because the law forbids their union.” Well, although possibly less interested in access to birth control, lesbian issues by and large jive with those of other single women. And most women voters tend to be liberals in the first place, so I don’t think that scare tactics about “the gay agenda” will have much of an effect. So I think this news is good - we should be able to push for what we want in the next election.