Biden’s Bid for Women Voters — Men Lost to Republicans?

Vice President Joe Biden laughs with Marion Mims, right, after giving her a kiss as she took his order upon sitting down with Judy Dorsett, left, and Tarri Johnson, right, at Mary Mac's Tea Room, on March 4, 2014, in Atlanta.

Photograph by David Goldman/AP Photo

Vice President Joe Biden laughs with Marion Mims, right, after giving her a kiss as she took his order upon sitting down with Judy Dorsett, left, and Tarri Johnson, right, at Mary Mac’s Tea Room, on March 4, 2014, in Atlanta.

Joe Biden has been wise to violence against women for a long time now.

Just as Bill Clinton, whose wife may be gearing up for a presidential campaign in 2016, has reminded everyone this week that he was aboard the income inequality bandwagon a long time ago, Biden, who may be gearing up for a presidential campaign in 2016, has brought out the political photo album:

There’s no question that an issue as important as this transcends politics. The White House this week spoke out on the need for colleges to curtail campus violence.

Yet there’s also no question that Biden, should he challenge Clinton, will face an uphill fight for the women’s vote in any Democratic primaries — or, should Clinton give Biden and others in their party a clearer path by taking a pass on 2016, the women’s vote will be just as hard-fought.

Then there is that matter of the general election, in which Republicans are staking what they hope will be a lasting claim for the white male vote.

Sarah Palin, in an address to the National Rifle Association last week in which she called water-boarding “the way we baptize terrorists,” also made fun of a comment that Biden had made in his own way of seeking a connection to the Second Amendment alliance.

During a Facebook forum last year, Biden said he’d offered his wife some advice about how the family shotgun might come in handy if she felt threatened at home:

“If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun. I promise you, as I told my wife, we live in an area that’s wooded and somewhat secluded. I said, Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put [up] that double barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.”

Palin, at the NRA conference in Indianapolis on April 26, mocked Biden for the idea of firing warning shots into the air –“Joe Squirt Gun,” the erstwhile Republican candidate for vice president called the Democratic vice president. “That’s fine … if your rapist is a bird,” Palin said, triggering laughter. “Gals, you know, nowadays, ammo is expensive. Don’t waste a bullet on a warning shot.”

President Barack Obama and Biden won the women’s vote by 12 percentage points in 2012. They lost the men’s vote by 8 percentage points. The 20-point gap between the two was the largest since Gallup started measuring such things in 1952.

However the 2016 field shapes up, and whether Biden is part of it or not, the intensity of the fight for both votes is certain to spur a rhetoric of its own unique brand.

The way the parties confront violence in society could have a lot to do with their appeal. In some ways, a Republican courting of gun owners aimed at securing the male vote could backfire with the female vote.

Palin was also mocking Attorney General Eric Holder in her speech at the NRA — ridiculing his idea about electronic bracelets enabling only the owner of a gun to fire it. She wears three bracelets, she said. One celebrates 1791, the year the Bill of Rights was ratified.

“If you control oil, you control an economy,” Palin told her audience. “If you control money, you control commerce. But if you control arms, you control the people… And that is what they’re trying to do.”

Obama and Biden didn’t get very far with their gun-safety agenda following the slaughter of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, but they should find a readier constituency in their campaign against violence against women.

 

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