Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner‘s (R) decision to backtrack from his past support for a personhood amendment ““ outlawing abortion and potentially restricting forms of contraception — was a telling moment in the battle for the Senate. It’s a sign that Republicans are becoming more cognizant about the need to appeal to women and more socially-moderate voters. But it’s also a signal that Republicans recognize the gender gap remains a serious problem.
— Gardner’s statement explaining his changed views was striking in its forthrightness: “I’ve learned to listen. I don’t get everything right the first time,” he said. But it’s also the politically expedient thing to do. The gender gap in Colorado is gaping: A February Q poll showed just 36% of men thought Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) should be re-elected, while 48% of women agreed. A Hickman Analytics (D) poll from last month showed an even larger 17-point gender gap in Udall favorability.
— A fascinating Public Opinion Strategies (R) analysis shows that despite gaining significant ground overall on the generic ballot since last October (government shutdown), Republicans actually lost ground with women aged 18-49 since then. Nearly all the GOP’s gains have come from white voters and older voters. That may be good enough to win in a midterm year, but without improvement, it leaves Gardner with little room for error. He needs to improve on Ken Buck‘s dismal 39% showing among women in 2010.
— Democrats view Gardner’s flip-flop as an admission that the GOP can’t win swing states without more centrist positioning on polarizing social issues. (It’s reminiscent of Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman‘s similar backtracking on immigration, running in a redrawn district.) The DSCC has already hit MI SEN candidate Terri Lynn Land (R) for supporting the GOP’s pro-life platform. It’s a challenging tightrope to walk for the GOP: Cultural issues are a vital mobilizing force for social conservatives, but threaten to turn off younger voters, particularly women.
With even modest gains among female voters, Republicans should have a good chance to retake the Senate. But Gardner’s ability to cut the gender gap in a pivotal battleground state will be a leading indicator of Republican performance in 2016.
— Josh Kraushaar
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In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.
"In this election, and every election, it's about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Michelle Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility … and that is our friend Hillary Clinton." In a personal and emotional speech, Michelle Obama spoke about the effect that angry oppositional rhetoric had on her children and how she chose to raise them. "When they go low, we go high," Obama said she told her children about dealing with bullies. Obama stayed mostly positive, but still offered a firm rebuke of Donald Trump, despite never once uttering his name. "The issues a president faces cannot be boiled down to 140 characters," she said.
Many Bernie Sanders delegates have spent much of the first day of the Democratic National Convention resisting unity, booing at mentions of Hillary Clinton and often chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" Well, one of the most outspoken Bernie Sanders supporters just told them to take a seat. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," said comedian Sarah Silverman in a brief appearance at the Convention, minutes after saying that she would proudly support Hillary Clinton for president.
The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."
The chairman of the DCCC said Debbie Wasserman Schultz won't be getting financial help from the organization this year, even as she faces a well-funded primary challenger. "Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) said the committee’s resources will be spent helping Democrats in tough races rather than those in seats that are strongholds for the party." Executive Director Kelly Ward added, “We never spend money in safe seats."