The Hot New Campaign Finance Trend Is Glaring Sexism

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Photo: Ron T. Ennis/MCT/Getty Images

It’s no secret that sexist remarks — like Erick Erickson calling Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie” — galvanize a female politician's supporter base, but now there are numbers to back it up. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments helped EMILY’s List raise a record-breaking $37 million, according to the New York Times, and an online “Slap Hillary” game released by an anti-Clinton PAC prompted a 40 percent increase in traffic and online contributions to Ready for Hillary, a pro-Clinton super PAC. This is a dramatic shift from the 2008 campaign, when even acknowledging sexism was deemed too risky for Clinton, making her look abrasive or, worse, whiny. Now, catching the opposition (or anyone loosely affiliated with it) being sexist and calling them out on it is a full-blown campaign strategy and fund-raising tool. Republican strategists told the Times that Democrats are exploiting their candidates’ gender for cheap political gain. By my calculation, a couple million in super PAC dollars has yet to undo a couple millennia of sexism.