Dos Mujeres, una Elección

Isn’t it nice when someone’s got the hots for you, when you’ve got something he wants?

In this case it’s women, a coveted voting bloc by both Republicans and Democrats because like our seniors, they show up on Election day.  (Take note Latino voters).

Both Romney and Obama campaigns are trying to convince mujeres that the other is working against their interests and that of their families and communities.

For conservatives, the White House is waging a so-called War on Women, claiming more have lost their jobs on President Obama’s watch and that his health care reform tramples on their religious freedoms by insisting that religious institutions’ health insurance offer co-pay free birth control.

For progressives, Republicans are rolling back women’s rights, by introducing legislation that limits a woman’s ability to seek an abortion or most recently, by voting against a bill that would require employers pay women the same as their male counterparts.

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Dos Mujeres Un Camino Courtesy: Televisa

Erik Estrada resurrected his flatlining career after playing in los 70s Officer Poncherello on CHiPs when he went South, doing a reverse “cross over” from Hollywood to the lucrative world of Mexican telenovelas.  In Dos mujeres, un camino, he is caught between two women but ultimately, on his path of life, his character can only choose one.

[Hat tip to the divine Laura whose muy hip birthday party with a friend, Dos mujeres, una fiesta reminded me of this 90s pop cultura relic.]

In politics, perception if everything, a “rule” made more valid as information moves around the world at the speed of tweet.  But so is perspective, specifically how it creates or strengthens a perception.  Months before the November election, both campaigns are messaging machines as they try to secure as many women voters as possible using the same theme “War on Women.”

It’s a case of dos mujeresuna elección–which campaign will succeed owning the War on Women message and which group–Republican or Democratic women–will mobilize their vote on election night.

Continue reading or click on the link below to my latest Latina Magazine politics column:

Election 2012: Women Voters and Equal Pay 

By Viviana Hurtado

Deep in campaign silly season, “the war on ______” (fill in the blank) has become part of the jargon we hear on cable TV and see in Twitter hashtags.  I have actually seen #WaronLatinos, not a joke.

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Courtesy: Think Stock

A journalist with 11 years of domestic and international reporting under my belt, I think it’s professionally lazy to start parroting terms because this kind of language takes a side. Context means everything: Democrats’ use of “War on Women” to describe Congressional Republicans’ block this week of the Paycheck Fairness Act is meant to paint the GOP as hurting women and their families by not supporting equal pay. This is very different than Republicans’ use of “War on Women” as it relates to President Obama’s health care reform. Although the law requires insurance companies to offer co-pay free birth control to members of their plans (and not force them to use it), conservatives believe this is an attack on religious freedom because it forces religious institutions to subsidize behavior that goes against its’ beliefs.

Still, when Senate Republicans refused to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, I asked myself, if not “waging war” on women, is the GOP doing a ton to hurt women and their families?  Nationally, women make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, with Latinas making 60 cents on that dollar, according to the Trabajadoras report  by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).  This legislation was designed to close the wage gap, although Republicans voted against it on grounds that businesses will go bankrupt if employees begin filing lawsuits en masse related to unequal pay.  Not a single GOP lawmaker voted for this bill, including Ohio’s Rob Portman and Florida’s Marco Rubio, both men rumored to be on the so-called Veepstakes shortlist to be Mitt Romney’s running mate.

How is this issue going to play in a close general election?  Latinos and women are powerful voting blocs, although the latter is more reliable–simply put, women show up to the polls not just during a Presidential election, but to PTA meetings.  That’s why the battle is on to own the message that gets shared in news sources, among friends, and on social media.

For example, @BarackObama tweeted: “President Obama kept his promise to fight for #Equal Pay for equal work” to which @NickyHobes1322 responded “Ppl need jobs before they can get paid, no?” – referring to the higher unemployment rate among women since the President took office. (Politifact notes Mr. Obama doesn’t bear all the blame for the recession, in the same way he shouldn’t take all the credit for recovery.)

Perceptions are powerful because they can influence voting behavior.  The question is, will the Paycheck Fairness Act galvanize women voters who supported this measure more than those who are pro-life, for example, for an election that is still six months away?

To read more of Viviana’s politics pieces in Latinaclick here.

Are you earning what your guy colleagues make?
 

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