Because of the 19th Amendment, women in the U.S. have enjoyed the right to vote since 1920. That amendment says:
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
But in today’s crazy right-wing world, there are people who want to repeal that amendment and once again ban women from exercising voting rights in America. David Barton is but one of them. Barton is the founder of Wallbuilders, an organization that seeks to destroy the separation of church of state this country has long enjoyed. He also pretends to be a historian and hangs out with Glenn Beck and others like him. Last week, the conservative “Christian” openly called for taking voting rights away from women because women voting supposedly damages society and culture.
According to Barton, “So family government precedes civil government and you watch that as colonists came to America, they voted by families. And you have to remember back then, husband and wife, I mean the two were considered one. That is the biblical precept… That is a family, that is voting. And so the head of the family is traditionally considered to be the husband and even biblically still continues to be so.”
What Barton did there was claim that families voted as a unit during the colonial era and then goes on to say that men are biblically mandated to be the head of the household. In short, he’s saying that women should get married and trust their husbands to vote on their behalf. But that logic completely falls apart under the slightest of scrutiny.
In the 2012 Election, Mitt Romney won the married men vote by 22 percentage points. On the other hand, he only won the married women vote by a mere 7 points. Obviously, there were many wives who chose to vote for President Obama against the wishes of their husbands on that Election Day. The biggest rejection of the GOP that year came from single women with 67 percent voting for Obama and only 31 percent for Romney.
It’s clear that conservatives like Barton don’t want women to vote because they vote for Democrats. Overwhelmingly. According to Barton and most conservative Christians, this “hurts the entire culture and society.” And by that, he means a culture and society dominated entirely by men. Barton claims that women were denied voting rights to create “a strong culture, a strong society, and it was based on a strong family that preceded government. And they crafted their policies to protect a strong family.”
But Barton fails to understand, or else ignores the fact, that women vote for Democrats because they like policies that prevent their children and themselves from starving or becoming homeless. Unlike the GOP, Democrats support education, food assistance programs, public housing, domestic violence laws, healthcare, equal pay, and family planning. All of these policies directly benefit families. Meanwhile, conservatives oppose all of these policies and have actively sought to weaken or destroy each and every one of them.
How can conservatives claim that women voting harms families when it is conservative policy that is trying to make families suffer? How can families survive in a society where children can’t get an education or put food in their bellies or have decent homes? How can families survive without proper health care or a fair income? How can families be stronger by allowing men to beat their wives and children? The answer is that they can’t.
Not having access to these policies puts tremendous pressures on families, especially women and children. This is why women have the right to vote. Because it is clear that most married men are incapable of voting for their family’s best interest. They’d apparently rather kill many of the policies and programs that have helped families stay out of poverty for decades. If men were the only ones allowed to vote, Republicans would have had complete control of the government. And that is precisely why conservatives want to ban women from voting. And it is precisely why women must turn out to vote in large numbers in order to stop the conservative madness.