Author Topic: Military women, female veterans are shifting away from GOP  (Read 1836 times)

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Offline OceanBonfire

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Military women, female veterans are shifting away from GOP
« on: December 29, 2018, 18:11:02 »
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WASHINGTON (AP) — It had been months since retired Lt. Cmdr. Michele Fitzpatrick paid attention to news coverage. She was turned off by President Donald Trump’s tweetstorms and attacks on critics such as the late Republican Sen. John McCain, a war hero. But as the November midterm elections approached, she fired up her laptop.

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Class of 1980, the first to include women, Fitzpatrick began researching candidates and poring over issues. On Election Day, she voted without hesitation: all Democrat.

“I just don’t think what’s happening now is helpful,” Fitzpatrick, of Groton, Connecticut, said in a telephone interview, pointing to the negative discourse in Washington. “It’s almost like watching kids and bullies on the playground instead of people actually doing something about helping this country to survive and to thrive.”

That’s hardly a startling view from a Democrat these days. But from a military vet?

Long seen as a bastion of support for Republicans, the face of the U.S. military and its veterans is changing — and perhaps too is their political bent.

Veterans by and large did vote for GOP candidates on Nov. 6, affirming Trump’s frequent claim that they stand among his strongest backers. But more women are joining the military, and they are bucking the pattern, according to data from AP VoteCast.

The 60-year-old Fitzpatrick recalls suppressing her opinions as a young “hardcore Democrat” in an overwhelmingly Republican military but finding other ways to promote change, such as supporting other female cadets.

Now, women in the military are helping elect new Democratic lawmakers and spur discussion on once little-mentioned topics such as sexual harassment and women in combat roles. As political candidates, female veterans also had a breakout performance in the midterms, sometimes campaigning as a foil to Trump: empathetic and competent on issues such as health care while also trustworthy on military and defense, typically a GOP strength.

“I see this as a beginning edge of a larger movement,” said Jeremy Teigen, professor of political science at Ramapo College and author of “Why Veterans Run: Military Service in American Presidential Elections, 1789-2016.”

Both current and former female service members were more likely to vote in the 2018 midterm elections for Democrats than Republicans, 60 percent to 36 percent, according to the data from VoteCast. Men with military backgrounds voted Republican by roughly the same margin, 58 percent to 39 percent.

A record number of female veterans — four — were elected to the House, all Democrats. Three won in political swing districts, helping give the party control of the chamber next year.

Democratic Rep.-elect Chrissy Houlahan, a former Air Force captain, said she was motivated to run after organizing a bus trip last year to the Women’s March in Washington. She felt her election would serve as a repudiation of Trump, but she avoided sharp rhetoric in favor of a message of service to country and getting things done.

She recalled Pennsylvania voters telling her they were exhausted by gridlock and partisan attacks and “would like our nation and our democracy and our values to stabilize to what we can recognize.”

All told, 55 percent of voters who had served in the military backed Republican candidates in the elections, compared to 42 percent who supported Democrats, according to VoteCast data.

Trump frequently embraces the U.S. military and veterans in speeches, referring to “my military,” though he has also insulted war heroes such as McCain and military families who criticize him. “I think the vets, maybe more than anybody else, appreciate what we are doing for them,” Trump said last month.

Not the female veterans, though. Their margin of support for Democrats was comparable to that of women overall, according to VoteCast data.

AP VoteCast is a nationwide survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters — including more than 4,000 current and former service members — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Laura Cavallaro, 35, who served on active duty in the Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005 and on inactive duty until 2009, says she’s never voted but thinks she will in 2020. A recent graduate of Rhode Island College, she said she believes Trump has kept his promises about helping the economy and creating jobs. At the same time, “Who knows if he’s going to say something to the wrong person and start another war?” she said. That’s particularly concerning for military veterans who know what’s at stake in combat.

When Cavallaro joined the military, she considered herself a Republican because her parents were. Now, she sees herself more as an independent, saying she’s pro-gun rights and pro-gay rights.

“I think being in the military kind of opened my eyes to a lot more things,” she said. “If I had stayed in Rhode Island, I wouldn’t have met so many different personalities and people with other political views.”

In 2016, the Defense Department lifted all restrictions on the roles women can perform in the military, spurring broader debate about combat missions and even whether women should be eligible for the draft.

Currently, there are more than 20 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces, about 10 percent of them female, the fastest growing subgroup. In the U.S. military forces, 16.6 percent of those enlisted are women, up from about 2 percent in 1973.

Women now make up 20 percent of the Air Force, 19 percent of the Navy, 15 percent of the Army and 8.6 percent of the Marines, according to Defense Department figures. In the Coast Guard, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, women make up 22 percent of the officers and 13 percent of those enlisted. The Coast Guard Academy, where Fitzpatrick was among the first women to attend in 1976, enrolled a class this year that is 40 percent female, a new high.

Teigen, who studies military voting, said that in the context of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, female veterans running for office provided a contrast for voters, “someone who was willing to volunteer to take time out of their youth to serve their country and stand up for others,” compared to Trump, a New York billionaire with five wartime draft deferments and a fraught history with women. Of the military veterans who ran for the House, 12 were women, the highest number ever.

Houlahan will serve her first House term starting in January, along with former Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., and Navy veteran Elaine Luria, D-Va., who defeated another veteran, Republican Rep. Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL. The women prevailed in tight races by tying their opponents to Trump and the GOP congressional majority while pledging to work on both sides of the aisle. All had stories about being among the only women working among men and used their platforms to speak out about abuses in the military.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, a frequent Trump critic, also won re-election. She is a member of her state’s National Guard.

In all, seven female veterans will serve in the next Congress, up from four. The veterans in the House will join Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, a combat veteran in the Iowa Army National Guard. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a retired Air Force colonel, lost her Senate bid but was later appointed by Arizona’s governor to replace Sen. Jon Kyl in the seat that belonged to McCain.

“I sure hope I get to make history,” Houlahan said cautiously, when asked about her candidacy and the influence female veterans could have on Washington. “That would be amazing. And I would be happy to serve everybody, not just the women and the Democrats.”

McDermott reported from Providence, Rhode Island. AP writers Lolita C. Baldor, Emily Swanson and Hannah Fingerhut in Washington contributed to this report.

https://apnews.com/1e39fbbc959c4c4b9d9bb9dec09a5844
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Military women, female veterans are shifting away from GOP
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2018, 10:36:52 »
An interesting statistic is:
Quote
A total of 96 military veterans will serve as lawmakers next year, 66 Republicans and 30 Democrats.

The US population is 10 times Canada's, thus do we have 10 Veterans who are lawmakers?


https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/12/29/us/politics/ap-us-2018-election-veterans-glance.html?partner=IFTTT

AP Poll Shows High Job Approval for Trump From Veterans
- Associated Press - 29 Dec 18

WASHINGTON — Nearly 6 in 10 military veterans voted for Republican candidates in the November midterm elections, and a similar majority had positive views of President Donald Trump's leadership. But women, the fastest growing demographic group in the military, are defying that vote trend.

That's according to AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters — including more than 4,000 current and former service members — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. It found that veterans overall approved of Trump's job performance, showing high support for the president's handling of border security and his efforts to make the U.S. safer from terrorism.

Male veterans were much more likely to approve of Trump than those who haven't served, 58 percent to 46 percent. But 58 percent of female veterans disapproved of Trump, which is similar to the share of women overall (61 percent).

Some takeaways on veterans:

TRUMP APPROVAL

Overall, 56 percent of veterans — both current and former service members — said they approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 43 percent disapproved. Voters who have not served in the military were more likely to disapprove (58 percent) than approve (42 percent) of the president's job performance.

The survey found that differences in support for Trump between veterans and nonveterans extended across racial and ethnic groups, including among whites (62 percent of veterans approve versus 49 percent of nonveterans), Latinos (53 percent vs. 28 percent) and African-Americans (22 percent vs. 10 percent).

TRUMP'S LEADERSHIP

The poll showed veterans more likely than nonveterans to say Trump has the right temperament to serve as president (48 percent to 32 percent) and that he's a strong leader (59 percent to 49 percent). They were slightly more likely to say Trump cares about "people like you" (46 percent to 40 percent).

On the issues, veterans were significantly more likely than those who have not served to approve of Trump's handling of border security, 62 percent to 48 percent, and to think the Trump administration has made the U.S. safer from terrorism, 51 percent to 35 percent.

DRAIN THE SWAMP?

Veterans had good success running for Congress compared to previous years. Eighteen new veterans were elected to the House, seven of whom are Democrats.

That's the largest number of new veterans elected to the House since 2010, and the biggest influx of Democratic vets since 1996, according to Seth Lynn, a University of San Francisco professor who runs Veterans Campaign, a group that prepares veterans for careers in politics. One fresh veteran face — Republican Rick Scott of Florida — will join the Senate. In all, more than 170 veterans were on November's congressional ballot as major-party candidates. Some vets, such as Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, ran close House races but ultimately fell short on Election Day. A total of 96 military veterans will serve as lawmakers next year, 66 Republicans and 30 Democrats.

Lynn said veterans in previous elections had often chosen to run for office due to concerns over U.S. military policy, such as President George W. Bush's war in Iraq. But he said veteran candidates this election cycle seemed moved by general voter dissatisfaction with government. "The military is the institution where many Americans have the most confidence, but that isn't the case with Congress," Lynn said. "For many of the Democratic women veterans who chose to run, it was basically a response to how they felt the Trump administration was doing and a call to service."

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

The poll shows significant concerns among men who have served in the military about accusations of sexual misconduct: 40 percent said they are very concerned about men not being given the opportunity to defend themselves when they're accused. That's compared with 28 percent who said they are very concerned about women not being believed when they make allegations.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 10:42:30 by Rifleman62 »
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Offline Brihard

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Re: Military women, female veterans are shifting away from GOP
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2018, 11:06:16 »
An interesting statistic is:
The US population is 10 times Canada's, thus do we have 10 Veterans who are lawmakers?

We have 24; 20 in the House of Commons, and 4 in the Senate.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Military women, female veterans are shifting away from GOP
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2018, 11:12:43 »
Didn't know that. That's a fair sized lobby. So why the problems for military procurement and VAC?
Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression

Offline Brihard

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Re: Military women, female veterans are shifting away from GOP
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2018, 11:17:21 »
Didn't know that. That's a fair sized lobby. So why the problems for military procurement and VAC?

Well, procurement is owned by the bureaucracy. Hardly anyone in Parliament has any technical knowledge on procurement, don't even know where the problems stat, never mind where to fix them.

As for VAC, that would depend on what specific issues you're referring to. Decision delays are due to a shortage of staff working to adjudicate claims, which in part comes right back to bureaucracy. Federal public service hiring processes are awful. Due to budget uncertainty the department is often hiring terms vs. indeterminate positions and losing expertise when people move from term in the department to more permanent roles elsewhere.

The federal public service is deliberately designed with considerable resiliency against change. This can often be a good thing- it protects the stable functioning of government from the rapid shift of political winds. It makes it hard enough to change stuff that government really has to be sure it wants and intends to do what its doing. But for the same reason, when changes *are* manifestly needed, they can be bloody hard.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Military women, female veterans are shifting away from GOP
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2018, 11:39:14 »
The US population is 10 times Canada's, thus do we have 10 Veterans who are lawmakers?
Quote
We have 24; 20 in the House of Commons, and 4 in the Senate.
So why the problems for military procurement and VAC?

If nothing else, this shows the futility of any debate that's based on the premise "if the US has x, why doesn't Canada have percentage x ?"  Quite often, the reality is apples and oranges;  despite commonalities we are different societies. 

For the second question, for example, Americans tend to love their military and its symbolism -- fighter aircraft over Nascar races and football games, US military 'global policeman' as a sign of empire, all things 'red white & blue'....

Canada?  For better or worse, not so much.  Canadians cherish the peacekeeping myth.  Only now is WW1 'cool.'  I don't imagine it would be seen as some national calamity of an athlete took a knee during the national anthem ....

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Military women, female veterans are shifting away from GOP
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2018, 11:50:35 »
We have 24; 20 in the House of Commons, and 4 in the Senate.

Is the newest MP - Michael Barrett elected in the 3 December by-election - included here? He was a corporal lineman.

Offline Brihard

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Re: Military women, female veterans are shifting away from GOP
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2018, 12:01:50 »
Is the newest MP - Michael Barrett elected in the 3 December by-election - included here? He was a corporal lineman.

Yes. I got the info directly from the Parliament of Canada member profiles website. You can filter the list of Parliamentarians by various criteria, including military service. I may have included one who served in a Commonwealth military but not our own, but I was careful to exclude those who only listed time in the cadets- for some reason the Parliamentary website includes that as 'military service'.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Dimsum

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Re: Military women, female veterans are shifting away from GOP
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2018, 12:15:25 »
Canada?  For better or worse, not so much.  Canadians cherish the peacekeeping myth.  Only now is WW1 'cool.'  I don't imagine it would be seen as some national calamity of an athlete took a knee during the national anthem ....

I think WWI is "cool" now b/c it's the centennial with all the media surrounding it. 
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."