(11/28) Schlafly was also the queen of false equivalencies. She depicted feminism as a mandate and presented anti-feminism as a morally superior alternative. But the opposite of feminism is sexism because feminism/ #ERA was and is CHOICE. #MrsAmerica
(12/28) But CHOICE was kryptonite, esp. in the white South, where the antebellum vision of southern white womanhood, which placed white women on a pedestal where they were protected (and kept out of the public arena), remained a space/lifestyle to which many aspired. #MrsAmerica
(13/28) Through the remainder of the 1970s, inspired and validated by Schlafly, many southern white women climbed off that pedestal and organized to defeat the #ERA when Schlafly convinced them the ERA would destroy that pedestal. #MrsAmerica
(14/28) As the anti-feminist movement took root in the South, particularly after Roe v. Wade, public opinion shifted dramatically. In 1976, 64% of southern white women supported the #ERA, while 16% were opposed. By 1980, support dropped to 42% & opposition grew to 44% #MrsAmerica
(15/28) By 1977, when the bi-partisan National Women’s Conference convened in Houston to push for the #ERA, Schlafly had mobilized 20,000 women to attend her “Family Values” counter conference. For more on this, please get Marjorie Spruill’s masterful book https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/divided-we-stand-9781632863140/
(16/28) Having lost the White House in 1976, in large part b/c southern white voters flipped back to blue in support of Jimmy Carter, GOP strategists took notice of Schlafly’s supporters & in 1980, the GOP dropped the #ERA from its platform after 40 years of support. #MrsAmerica
(17/28) Republican feminists were devastated and warned the party that turning its back on women would ensure its demise. Reagan, however, actually won white women by a 52-39 margin, which jumped to 59-34 among southern white women. #MrsAmerica #ERA
(18/28) However, at the time, commentators on both sides of the aisle dismissed the role the ERA played in the election, insisting the economy was the deciding factor. #ERA #MrsAmerica #TheLongSouthernStrategy
(19/28) But exit poll data published in @nytimes on 11/9/1980 showed that women who favored the #ERA chose Carter over Reagan 54% to 32%. But anti-ERA women went for Reagan over Carter 66% to 29%. Southern white anti-ERA voters broke 71% to 24% for Reagan. #MrsAmerica
(20/28) In 1982, when the clock ran out on the #ERA, feminists refused to give up. They successfully lobbied to get a woman, Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, on the 1984 ticket, which would surely overcome economic interests and draw women voters back to the party. #MrsAmerica
(21/28) Meanwhile, in 1981, Reagan’s team conducted a $100,000 study (directed by Michael Deaver, Elizabeth Dole & Margaret Heckler) that polled 45,000 American women voters and classified them into 64 categories with names like “Bettys” or “Helens.” #MrsAmerica #ERA
(22/28) They confirmed that the majority of white women in the states they needed to win the Electoral College were turned off by women’s liberation. Reagan doubled down on his pro-family values rhetoric (cribbed from Schlafly) and championed traditional gender roles. #MrsAmerica
(23/28) And in 1984, even though Democrats had a woman on the ballot--in part, BECAUSE they had a woman on the ballot--Reagan increased his margin of victory among white women, particularly southern white women, further realigning the South with the GOP. #MrsAmerica #ERA
(24/28) The dropping of the #ERA also realigned women with African American women & pro-ERA white women on the blue side of the aisle & anti-ERA white women--esp. southern & RELIGIOUS (that’s another thread)--on the red side of the aisle, where most have stayed. #MrsAmerica
(25/28) But, you may ask, what about the Gender Gap favoring Democrats that we hear so much about come election season? (and this is a subject for a whole other thread). Well, we finally began dividing by race, but we still don’t consider region. #MrsAmerica #ERA #gendergap
(26/28) So, for example, you probably heard that Trump won white women over HRC. Well, outside of the South, HRC actually won white women. But in the South, Trump beat her by almost 30 points. You can read my piece about it in @washingtonpost https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/07/26/what-we-get-wrong-about-southern-strategy/
(27/28) Did I mention that Trump was endorsed by Phyllis Schlafly early in his primary campaign? And that he gave the eulogy at her funeral when she died 3 months before the election… #TheLongSouthernStrategy #MrsAmerica
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