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 Rick Lyman Makes Common Misunderstanding of “Testosterone Crowd”

In his May 23, 2004 New York Times Week in Review article “Kerry’s Gender Gap: Yes, Democrats Can Win (Some) White Male Voters,” Lyman makes simplified and erroneous assumptions about the white male voting demographic, or what he calls the “testosterone crowd.”

“To win the presidency, Mr. Kerry won't need a majority of white male votes. No Democratic presidential candidate has managed to do that since Jimmy Carter in 1976, because of the party's perceived weak-kneed stance on military matters.” As a progressive white male who is disenchanted with the Democratic Party’s dealings with men’s issues, I have an alternative theory: white men are tired of a party the tows the feminist party line at all costs. The Democratic Party essentially adopts any view that NOW and other radical feminist groups espouse. After a while, this makes men of any race weary of the Democratic Party. Which of these issues do you think the democrats would support in a million years:

Changing WIC, aid for women with infants and children, to PIC, aid for parents with infants and children. It makes no sense to give aid to women only, and only if they are single. It is sexist, and it does not promote marriage. PIC would be available to single mothers and fathers, as well as low income married couples. The money could also be used to help non-custodial parents keep up support payments in times of illness, injury, or unemployment. And contrary to what many feminists believe, children grow up much better with two parents. Sorry, NOW.

Change the Violence Against Women Act to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. This is another piece of sexist legislation that no democrat would dare change, despite the fact that repeated studies (including the VAWA studies) show that women are just as or nearly as likely to initiate domestic violence with a man as vice versa. Additionally, women are far more likely to severely injure or kill a small child, and their victim will be more often a boy than a girl. As long as the assumption of male guilt is part of the democratic agenda, why wouldn’t they have trouble getting male voters?

Insist on equal funding for health care for men and women. Currently, far more money goes to female causes, such as breast cancer research, than male causes, such as prostate cancer research.

Make women register for selective service at the same time men do. Equal rights should mean equal responsibilities.

Fix the justice system to prevent so many men from going to jail. Whether it’s well-intentioned yet not wealthy “deadbeat dads” going into unconstitutional debtor prison, a divorcing husband being falsely accused of abuse, a man’s life being ruined by a false rape accusation being thrown in the media while the woman remains anonymous, the fact that men routinely get more prison time for the same crime, or simply that over 92% of our enormous prison population is men, who live in cages and are often not protected from rape and other forms of assault, the justice system of America is overwhelmingly biased against us. Men need help from the system in prevention and justice, and feminist cries of victim-hood, again echoed by the democratic elite, do not sound like a sweet melody to men who have been on the short side of any of these scenarios.

Help boys and men finish school. Boys are failing to graduate from high school at a much higher rate than girls: 57% of high school graduates are girls, and the rate of first-year college students is about the same. Boys need help in school, starting with a change in the way schools are structured and classes are being taught.

In short, appeal to the needs of men, and don’t rely on fluffy publicity stunts like riding on a motorcycle to the Jay Leno show. I have listed only a few of the reasons that men are turned off from the Democratic Party. However, what should make the most sense to any politician is to appeal to what the needs of men really are rather than kissing up to feminist special interest groups like NOW should bring more men into the party.

As a progressive men’s rights activist, I am not at all excited about the possibility of more Republican/Christian Right/Big Oil leadership in Washington. Instead, I am hoping for a democrat victory in November. If John Kerry and the Democrats hope to gain more male votes, I hope they actually begin to appeal to the interests of men.

To contact Kerry via the internet, use the web form reached by clicking the link below:

Mark Sutton
New York, New York

May 2004

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