With Senator Clinton out of the presidential runnings, the two major party candidates are specifically targeting female voters whom comprise about 54% of the electorate. Over the last many elections, democrats have held the edge among female voters and Barak is showing that traditional favor as well. McCain, attempting to make inroads in a press conference over the weekend, promised to increase the number of women in government positions if he is elected. He also had words of praise for Mrs. Clinton’s having “inspired millions of young women,” in a thinly veiled attempt to court her supporters who may still feel disgruntled over their loss to the Obama campaign. Obama used McCain’s voting record to criticize his stance on legislation effecting women.

While being sensitive to a group that comprises more than half of the population is smart decision for anyone seeking elected office, the assumption that women vote as a block has been disproven time and again since women’s suffrage. I will grant that certain issues, such as the pay gap between professional men and women, are likely to resonate more strongly with females, but attempting to pander specifically to women as a demographic will appear unsophisticated and may actually antagonize some individuals. The same message might fruitfully apply to targeting racial and language groups as well. The key is to emphasize a stance on important policies and issues without designating demographics, as Obama and McCain have in this case, and then listing all of the issues which a candidate deems important to the imagined group. Nearly every racial, gender, or interest group issue is relevant and important to numerous individuals who do not belong to said group. If a candidate wants to stress unity, I suggest they stop dividing people.

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