Women saved Bill Clinton. Women rescued Dick Blumenthal. Women elected Bill Finch Bridgeport mayor over Chris Caruso.
Guys, for the most part, are easy to predict in a political campaign: You raise my taxes and I rearrange your face! (Bring in the plastic surgeon.) Women are driven by an assortment of issues, processing a different filter than voting men, and that’s why all these drama-queen columnists around the state forecasting Governor Dannel Malloy’s political obituary need a make-up job. Jesus, the guy’s in office six months and they’re breaking out the bagpipes. We heard this mania about Barack six months after his oath.
Clinton would have been driven from office had women bailed on him in public opinion polls. As a result, enough Senators held firm at his impeachment trial for Clinton to win acquittal. Following Dick Blumenthal’s monumental Vietnam War gaffe, national media said toast, stick a fork in him, he’s dying the gooey death. So they thought. Women took a close look at Linda McMahon and measured Dick’s body of work against Ms. Turnbuckle. Dick wins comfortably.
In Bridgeport in 2007 Caruso had the male vote locked up. Polls showed it, focus groups showed it. What Caruso could never understand, despite being told to the contrary, is women wanted more than just one issue. (Was Caruso the only honest person in the city?) What about jobs? What about education? What about keeping my kids safe in school? What about cleaning up the neighborhood? What about your maturity level? What about listening to what I have to say? What about having the good sense to understand the difference?
Men must be completely apoplectic about a candidate to sway an election. This doesn’t mean you ever ignore male voters because the issues are narrow. Women, however, tend to decide elections. Why? Because there’s more of them and they break later than men. They play hard to get. It’s why Finch could overcome a double-digit polling lead by Caruso two months before the primary.
But do not assume for a second that just because you’re a female candidate you have the female vote locked up. Paging Linda McMahon. Paging Hillary Clinton. Paging Sarah Palin. Female candidates don’t have a monopoly on female voters. And do not assume because you once had female voters in your corner you’ll have them forever. Female voters make candidates earn and keep support.
In less than three months Democratic voters, a majority of them female, will decide on Bill Finch, Mary-Jane Foster, John Gomes and Charlie Coviello for mayor. Let the voter romance begin.