Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

The Republican Party's Rape Problem

From time to time, the Awl offers its space to members of the community with an interesting viewpoint on current events. Today we hear from a Republican party strategist who is concerned with the party's recent difficulties at the federal level.

This morning, and over the next few days, you will see a lot of conversation about the ways in which the Republican party needs to change if it wants to return to being a successful power in national politics. While there will be a number of arguments about demographics, economic opportunity and social outreach, it seems pretty clear that the most important thing the Republican party needs to do is make sure that the American public is considerably less aware of our obsession with rape.

Now, don't get me wrong, we were beaten fair and square. When I predicted that Mitt Romney would win 315 electoral votes I might have been right on the fundamentals, but I was wrong on a lot of other important factors: the clear difference between national and state election polls, the Obama campaign's ability to turn out the early vote, an intense focus on target-state mechanics. These all played a role in the Republican loss. But another contributing factor to the Obama victory is the fact the people see us as the party of rape, and that is no longer the net positive it used to be.

Look, in this environment with this economy and all the gravely important matters pressing against the very existence of this country, it should have been a tsunami election. It should have been a landslide that sent President Obama into the dust heap of failed presidencies. Instead, the election was about rape, and not in the good way we've come to expect. If you drill down on the numbers, every election until 2008 shows a significant advantage for the Republicans, as the party of rape, among pro-rape voters. It is no accident that political scientists have come up with the phrase "culture of rape" to describe one of the key demographics that has been a fundamental building block for our electoral coalition: We are a party that loves rape. We love rape as much, if not more, than we hate the idea of women having control over their own bodies. We CANNOT GET ENOUGH RAPE. Even just hearing the word makes us salivate.

So where did we go wrong? This is a difficult idea to consider, but some of the data seems to indicate that the American public is, at least at the margins, slightly less enamored with the concept of rape than we as a party are. In fact—and this is hard to believe, but many of the models we have run seem to bear it out—there are several elements among the electorate (college-educated professionals, homosexuals, havers of vaginas) that tend to view rape as a bad, or at least not good, thing. You can blame political correctness or our crumbling educational system or the fact that people are no longer willing to judge what a woman is dressed like when she is clearly asking for it, but the fact is those rape votes are going, and they are unlikely to return.

What, then, is the solution? After a loss of this magnitude the more conservative elements of the party will be tempted to double down on rape. "It is rape that got us here," they will say, "and if we turn our backs on rape we will never be able to force ourselves on the public again. We need to ram home, no matter how unwanted some say it is, that we are the party of rape. Rape rape rape rape rape." While I am sympathetic to this viewpoint, any rational reading of the results seems to show that not only can we not rely on rape to get us over anymore, but we have to pretend that we, at the very least, are no longer fully lustful for rape to happen to all those women in the nation who need a lesson taught to them.

It is perhaps still too early to determine how we best avoid this subject with the general population. In the coming months those of us on the analytical side of the party will convene a number of focus groups to figure out the most effective code words and signals we can use to indicate to our core base of rape lovers that we are still wildly pro-rape, while not alerting the rest of the country that the Republican party is, above all, a party that loves rape. Like, cannot get enough rape. Needs rape deep in the fiber of its being. In the meantime, I suggest we change the focus by making a concerted effort to demonize Hispanics. I mean, that's a sure-fire winner, right?

Republican pollster Michael Morris Hurt, like all Republicans, loves rape and hates poor people.

23 Comments / Post A Comment

Buffalo66 (#6,146)

Funny stuff, Mike, but in reality a candidate who is better prepared for the inevitable "gotcha!" abortion question is what good candidates need, as admirable and helpful as your snark is here.

A simple answer like “I stand behind the right to life of the unborn.” or this “The baby is not the aggressor. The rapist is." Solves the problem quite nicely IMHO. It's also morally clear. And easily defendable. And makes the questioner move on to the next question.

Sadly, both Akin and Mourdock, the inspirations for your piece, weren't adequately prepared to answer those questions – either because they improperly rehearsed/advised or fundamentally didn't believe in what they were saying – in which case, it's a good thing both men lost.

allyzay (#321)

@Buffalo66 In reality they need a candidate who is not a fucking asshole about women/gay/minority rights?

allyzay (#321)

@Buffalo66 Like, the way these morons phrased their answer is only PART of the problem here. The rest of the problem is that THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS DO NOT AGREE WITH THEIR OPINION EVEN NICELY STATED.

stuffisthings (#1,352)

@Buffalo66 "Tell me about your position on one of the country's most important and divisive political issues." "Um, er, rape rape rape?" "GOTCHA!"

wendybee (#239,226)

I *think* Hurt was trying to be funny here, but it's not translating into anything but offensive. You're not The Onion.

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

@wendybee Much like the article he wrote, I don't think Hurt is a real person.

wendybee (#239,226)

@jolie I am so embarassed. Have not been to very often. Thank you for pointing me to the link and not being a dick about it.

*backing out of the room slowly*

conklin (#364)


carpetblogger (#306)

I heart this.

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

I thought this was a real article until I got to and that is no longer the net positive it used to be. and thought, "what?"

carpetblogger (#306)

Jesus Christ, did you all come over here from Jezebel?

BadUncle (#153)

@carpetblogger That's not funny!™

Too bad the author's name isn't Michael Morris Hunt.

BadUncle (#153)

@FracturedAcetabulum Something tells me it's Balk's Cock.

jetztinberlin (#392)

Well, I thought it was funny… but then I am old, and have been reading The Awl a long time, and know the Guest Op Eds are parody pieces? …slinks off

cherrispryte (#444)

This was funny, and a good premise, but (there is always a but!) it could have been done better. Republican's love of rape is tied into their deep-seated misogyny, with a sprinkling of homophobia and racism.
These three attributes are currently the driving factors for essentially the entirety of the Republican platform. Their ambivalence towards rape is a side effect, not the root cause.

Conclusion: universal suffrage is a bad idea

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

@Bus Driver Stu Benedict From Marietta Holley's Samantha on the Woman Question A congressman on women's suffrage: "Ahem!" sez he. "Ahem, as it were. As I was saying, my dear madam, these angelic angels of our homes are too ethereal, too dainty to mingle with rude crowds. We political men would fain keep them as they are now; we are willing to stand the rude buffetin' of—of—voting, in order to guard these sweet delicate creatures from any hardships. Sweet tender beings, we would fain guard thee—ah, yes, ah, yes." Published in 1913, still with us 99 years on.

skahammer (#587)

Thing is, there are undoubtedly people who think rape is an issue that's debated in the Congress all the time. So I'll support any attempt to lampoon this crude worldview.

oldtaku (#9,009)

Spot the tourists: anyone who gets frothy* in The Awl's comment section. *Bonus Santorum ref.

How's that dopey rapey thing workin' out for ya?

Ralph Haygood (#13,154)

That was hideously beautiful.

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