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MA Senate Race: Jobs vs. Women’s Issues

Saturday, October 13, 2012

 

Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren made a strong case for the importance of women's issues this election in her debate with Republican Senator Scott Brown in Springfield this week, but observers say jobs are still the top issue on voters' minds.

The economy is still up for grabs in the highly-contested Senate race. While Brown has pushed for keeping taxes low on small businesses so they can expand and grow jobs, Warren has argued for putting people back to work through federal jobs bills and leveling the playing field by taxing high-income earners.

Two Visions of Job Growth

Warren has said she would have supported the three jobs bills put forward by President Barack Obama that her opponent voted against, illuminating a fundamental difference between the two candidates, according to Morgan Marietta, an assistant professor of Political Science at UMass-Lowell.

While Warren claims that the pieces of legislation Brown voted against were jobs bills, Brown claims that some of them were in fact debt bills. Brown did vote in favor of a jobs bill put forth by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that passed.

"There is a clear trade-off between spending now and paying for it later, between jobs in the near term and debt in the long term," Marietta said.

"Warren argues that the trade-off is worth it, and Brown says it isn't. The winner of that debate will likely win the election."

Both campaigns have organized small business coalitions in support of their respective candidates. Brown has also picked up endorsements from the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which lauded him as a friend to job creators and characterized Warren as an anti-business candidate.

But Warren can still win the jobs debate by stressing the importance of a strong middle class for an economic turnaround, said Darrell West, vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.

"It was the wisdom of Henry Ford when he raised salaries for his factory workers that he understood you need people to purchase the products being made."

With consumer spending accounting for 70 percent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product, growth will come from the middle rather than from the top.

"Unless there is a reasonable income distribution, it will be hard to have the consumer demand that will generate long-term economic development," said West.

Social Issues Could Be Tie-Breaker

Yet support for the two competing visions has seemingly remained split. Brown came in ahead by 4 points in a WBUR poll this week, and Warren held a 6-point advantage in a Public Policy Polling survey also released this week.

"There's no question that the economy is the most important issue facing voters," said Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University.

"But if the candidates are perceived as comparably credible on the issue, or if the voters are split in terms of which candidate and party will move the country forward, create more jobs, and bring down unemployment, then other issues can serve to prop one candidate up over another."

Right now, said Lawless, women's issues are playing just that role for Warren.

Both Brown and Warren identify as pro-choice candidates. The Republican was quick to call on Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin to bow out of his own race after he made comments implying that women's bodies can avoid pregnancy biologically in cases of legitimate rape earlier this year.

Brown has also drawn on his personal experiences defending his mother from abusive stepfathers and sharing a home with his wife and two daughters as evidence of his staunch support for women and their rights.

However, Warren has zeroed in on several of Brown's votes in the Senate against bills for such issues as equal pay for equal work and requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage to their workers.

The Republican defended his votes, arguing that the bills had the right goals but were the wrong implementation. In the case of contraception coverage, Brown said the bill infringed on the rights of religious employers. A similar measure amenable to religious groups was later passed.

"For independent women, a focus on women’s issues – such as access to a wide range of reproductive health options – can tell them a lot about whether the candidates understand women, as well as whether they respect women’s autonomy and equity," said Lawless.

"For Democrats, Warren’s message might serve to mobilize them and ensure that they cast a ballot on Election Day."

 

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Comments:

Iron Mike Farquhar

The Cherokee Princess has ONE (1) OVERRIDING GOAL: like all 'progressives' [socialists] she is DETERMINED to make the rich pay way more TAXES.

So they wrap that concept into EVERY bill they write or sponsor. It is a fundamental tenet of the creeping scourge of their socialist agenda. Warren is a master at it!

And NO, they don't care about job creation or business growth. To them, all jobs should be government jobs – union of course – in government-sponsored industries. It is akin to political sickness.

Kristin Mayo

Scott Brown picked Scalia as his most admired Supreme Court Justice. Justice Antonin Scalia has repeatedly objected to the Court's abortion decisions. He has expressed his frustration at the justices' unwillingness to explicitly overturn Roe vs Wade.

Stephen Jacoby

Kristin, you are 100% correct in your assessment and it goes to show how important the coming election is beyond tax policies and job rates. Whoever is elected is going to appoint at least one, possibly two, justices to the court. This will impact our lives for decades to come, not for just the next four years.

Iron Mike Farquhar

Abortions impact millions of lives every year! That is the REAL Democratic 'war on women' - the millions who are aborted!

Stephen Jacoby

I wasn't suggesting that abortion was right or wrong. (I am personally pro-life and feel that "elective abortion as birth control" is a reprehensible evil.) What I was saying was that the President in office over the next four years is going to have an impact on our society for decades beyond leaving office. I believe that, if we want to be able to breathe clean air, drink clean water, eat safe foods, ensure our kids receive a quality education, stop already wildly profitable corporations from stealing from us, and basically prioritize people over propaganda, we have to elect officials with the same values. Sadly, I haven't found a Republican in decades that does so. Democrats certainly have their "issues" (unions being the most blatant) but they pale in comparison to the evils perpetrated lately by the Republican party. Scott Brown is yet another example of those that don't care about his constituents as much as he does about those who pay him to vote their way. By the very definition of the word, he's a whore.

Edward Saucier

Once upon a time in America drinking booze and having abortions was illegal. That didn't work out well. Millions of people were negatively effected by those laws so they were eliminated. So when anyone says abortions impact millions of lives every year, etc.! That's really a specious argument. Unless of course those people want to do the same thing again expecting a different result. Which is what the republican party wants to do with everything these days. Do the same thing over and over expecting different results.

Stephen Quist

Womens rights are not under assault in our state if anything Massachusetts is the leading example of putting equal rights first across our great country......while I am personally against abortion I have no right whatsoever to impose my beliefs on another and nor should anyone else..............

Iron Mike Farquhar

QUIST: “while I am personally against abortion I have no right whatsoever to impose my beliefs on another and nor should anyone else”

So you shrug and turn a blind eye as millions of babies are killed each year? All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent!

Stephen Quist

rusty mike we will have to agree to to disagree.
I am not getting into an entire pro-life/pro-choice debate with you....you are entitled to your opinion as I am with mine.
I am not willing to impose my beliefs on others as you seem all to willing to do.........
Next your gonna pull an 'aiken' on me and tell me that women can just shut down their reproductive system in the case of a so called "real rape"..........
Now get back up on your high horse rusty mike....the british are coming - the british are coming........




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