Nate Silver baffled by importance women place on their basic human rights

Monday, October 22nd, 2012 · 16 Comments »

No wonder they hired him at the Times. Does Nate Silver know any women? Has he ever met a woman?

In his article on the gender gap in the polls, he discusses the overwhelming trend of women preferring Democrats—which, flipped around, is really a case of women rejecting Republicans. The trend is entirely understandable, seeing as how the Republican Party has been on a march against women-as-humans for 40 years now. It’s in their party platform. They explicitly reject women’s rights at every turn, whether it’s the right to control our bodies, to earn a fair wage, to report a rape, even to get our prescriptions covered. They never miss.

I’m not saying the Democratic Party has been great, because we all know it hasn’t. But fundamental opposition to women’s rights is not a central plank of the Democratic Party. It is of the Republican Party.

So, seeing as how we’re human and all, it’s no surprise that women tend to be repelled by the party that is actively, openly, and explicitly working against our fundamental rights as citizens and as human beings.

But Nate Silver seems bemused:

The large gender gap comes despite the fact that men and women’s economic roles are becoming more equal — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women represented 47 percent of the labor force as of September — and that women suffered at least as much as men in the recent economic downturn….

This suggests the gender gap instead has more to do with partisan ideology than with pocketbook voting; apart from their views on abortion, women also take more liberal stances than men on social issues ranging from same-sex marriage to gun control.

So wanting to be considered a full human being is “partisan ideology”? And it has nothing to do with my pocketbook?

This guy.

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16 Responses to “Nate Silver baffled by importance women place on their basic human rights”

  1. anna says:

    It really pisses me off when men whine about women being single issue voters on the subject of abortion. If his right to control his own body was up for debate, I’m pretty sure he’d be voting based on that.

  2. anna says:

    Might I ask who you are going to vote for, Violet?

  3. quixote says:

    Men’s and women’s economic roles are becoming more equal? Where does this guy live? Could all the women in the world move there? Where I live, women make only three quarters what men get paid. Women do the low-paying service jobs that force you to smile while being crapped on. Etc., etc., etc.

    I think you’re right. He’s never met any women. So he’s safe at the NYT.

  4. scott says:

    Silver has his uses because he’s good on numbers, but like a lot of technocratic “progressives” he’s completely lost at sea if the discussion invites consideration of, you know, human values and interests that excite passion, hatred, love, solidarity, or conflict. Many of these guys, like Ezra Klein and Yglesias and others, seem weirdly blocked from or even embarrassed by their own emotions, broadly speaking, or the emotions of others. Kind of a colorless lot.

  5. blondie says:

    This guy.

    No doubt.

    I’ll believe that men’s and women’s economic roles are “more equal” when the work a woman performs earns more than 72-74 cents for every dollar earned by a man for comparable work.

    As for other “partisan” issues —

    How about respecting the autonomy and integrity of a woman’s body?

    How about not picking certain select items of her general health maintenance to make sure they are not covered by insurance?

    How about not allowing a church’s rules govern the answers to those two questions? Ever hear of separation of church and state?

    How about recognizing how many women are murdered as a result of “domestic disputes” and taking action to stop that, as opposed to allowing the Violence Against Women Act to expire?

    Oh yeah, here’s another “economic” issue; so maybe Mr. Silver will consider it worthy of his attention. How about agreeing that women are entitled to equal pay for equal work and committing to upholding the Lily Ledbetter Act?

    The GOP gets an “F” in all of the above. While I don’t think the Democrats get an “A,” at least they aren’t flunking out. If the Democrats would like to hang on to the woman’s vote, maybe it would be a good idea for them to actively and vocally support women on “women’s issues.”

  6. JeanLouise says:

    Hear, hear, Blondie!

  7. Kali says:

    If his free speech was being taken away, he wouldn’t be so sanguine about it. The right to control your own body is a much bigger issue – the biggest arguably.

    Unfortunately, too many women agree with him. Otherwise the gender gap would be much bigger.

  8. Unree says:

    Scott@4, way to miss the point. Dr. Socks’ post was not about emotions, passions, hatred, or love.

  9. Kali says:

    Unree, I’d like to see the words “emotions, passions, hatred, or love” applied to the Bill of Rights.

    Men’s rights are serious, rational stuff. Women’s rights are fluffy, emotional stuff. And never mind the false dichotomy between emotions and rationality.

  10. SophieCT says:

    and that women suffered at least as much as men in the recent economic downturn….

    What he fails to consider is the possibility that the single issue women are voting on IS economics. Perhaps the women voting Democratic are laying the blame for the economic downturn on the Republican party, who oversaw this and the previous two economic downturns. Perhaps women are smart enough to ignore the rhetoric about which party is really better for the economy.

    (Note: This comment is not to be construed as an endorsement of the sitting President.)

  11. scott says:

    I didn’t mean to offend, just meant that our most fundamental human values are rooted in those feelings about ourselves and others and that folks like Silver are just not comfortable talking about them for that reason. When you talk about basic human rights, that strikes deep to the core of a person, and that’s not a place they like to go to.

  12. Violet Socks says:

    Scott, what you just said is how I understood your comment.

  13. Nina M. says:

    “apart from their views on abortion, women also take more liberal stances than men on social issues ranging from same-sex marriage to gun control.”

    That’s funny, last time I checked (and admittedly it was a long time ago) women were not appreciably more in favor of legalized abortion than men. I wonder if I this is untrue, or if numbers guy Silver isn’t paying attention.

  14. Nina M. says:

    Also – I agree with Scott. There’s a distancing aspect to Silver’s language – “partisan ideology.” I think its a reflection of the privilege these guys exercise – these are just issues, likes cards in a deck, to these guys. They aren’t flesh-and-blood matters of life and death. The issues and the stats behind them are like players on a fantasy sports team – they talk about moving them around in the line up, perhaps trading them, their comparative strengths and weaknesses – none of it is real to them, so no reason to get emotionally involved or feel anything like passion or outrage. Or commitment.

  15. Kali says:

    There’s a distancing aspect to Silver’s language – “partisan ideology.”

    It’s more than distancing. It is trivializing. I don’t really expect him to go around wailing and beating his chest over women’s human rights. However, I do expect him to treat these issues with the respect they deserve. He failed at that. He would never use the words “partisan ideology” with something like the freedom of speech or indefinite detention without trial, which doesn’t have much to do with numbers or statistics. To suggest that he is using this language because he is a “numbers” guy is giving him an excuse he doesn’t really deserve. Besides, one can use numbers and statistics in a very powerful way and various rights activists have done that, including feminists. Let’s not buy into this false dichotomy between emotions and rationality.

  16. Alison says:

    Susan Faludi illustrated really well in Backlash that women have been voting majority Dem. since the Reagan years, and made a solid case for economic issues shaping our voting patterns, too. Contrary to what Nate Silver thinks, choosing the party that ostensibly protects the social safety net and and working women over the party that enables the top 1% is a matter of survival, not “partisan ideology.”