The Voting Instinct

I find it terribly entertaining to watch talking man-heads wax eloquent about what motivates female voters.


I suppose they have stacks of data about how women select candidates. I’m even sure those data reflect that some women choose the “handsome” candidate. To my everlasting shame, my mother voted for Bill Clinton.  Twice.  Not because he was particularly gifted in foreign policy or economics, but because he was “pretty.” Nevertheless, we females have other priorities too and that’s what makes presidential debates like the one we saw on Tuesday so helpful.


Deep in our psyches, we ladies are always looking for protection. It’s built into us. The most primal parts of our brains, where our instincts live, are continually assessing dangers and making strategic moves to ensure the safety of our little families. We are attracted to strong-looking, athletic types who appear to have the capability of slaying those who would harm or injure us or our offspring. We look for ‘strong’ and ‘reliable.’ We look for ‘trustworthy.’  We look for that in husbands and fathers and we look for that in Presidents too.


In this election cycle, we females are closer to those fear-driven instincts than ever before. We recognize the looming dangers all around us. Some of us are out of work. Some of us recognize that the incumbent spends too much. (For every $7.00 the government takes in, it spends $11.00 and this is, of course, borrowed from other countries – other countries which don’t like our way of life and represent very real dangers to us.) We’re not inane enough to worry about birth control pills this time around. We’re too busy worrying about how we’ll feed our children.


Of course, the Obama administration has capitalized on the ‘grocery instinct.’ In an effort to paint himself as a good provider, Barack Obama has handed out food stamps like candy-corn at Halloween. He’s made other “good provider” moves as well, encouraging less work and more reliance on welfare checks. He made the Julia video in order to demonstrate that he and his government will be our Sugar Daddy from cradle to grave, and thousands upon thousands of women took the bait. For those women who are in such dire straights that they cannot see the big picture, this may serve to put Barack Obama in the ‘trustworthy’ category. The rest of us, though, must exercise a little more caution.


But, God, in His wisdom, created the institution of presidential debates in order that we might watch potential protectors in mock combat to see just which of the candidates appears to be more Presidential.  (Read reliable.)


In Tuesday evening’s debate, there is no doubt that Barack Obama appeared more reliable than he was in the first debate. At least this time he actually showed up. Mitt Romney, though, came across as the more solid protector. He was not shrill, even when he might have had good reason to be. He appeared to be more than just a good provider, he appeared to be kind, compassionate and thoughtful. (The secondary attributes which we females seek in a boss, friend, husband or president.) Females, for which both sides of this campaign are fishing, are schooling around the Republican candidate. Mitt Romney will take the female vote in spite of the efforts by the other side to demonize and diminish him.


It could also be that we just like the idea that he irons his own shirts.