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Missouri Congressman Todd Akin
Todd "legitimate rape" Akin
Republican candidates have done themselves a lot of damage in recent years with their persistent inability to avoid making incredibly sexist comments and offensive rape references. And rather than getting frightened or avoiding drawing attention to sexist comments about Democratic women running for office, Democrats have learned to capitalize. Literally:
In fact, they are trying to find even more examples by tracking Republican opponents, their surrogates and conservative news media personalities, then blasting their comments out to supporters to build voter lists and drum up donations, casting aside the well-worn advice to shrug off sexist comments lest they draw attention to gender over issues.

It is proving effective. Emily’s List, the political action committee that backs female candidates who support abortion rights, has raised a record $25 million this election cycle. On Tuesday, the group put out an online petition, “Tell the G.O.P.: Pregnant Women Are Not ‘Hosts,’ ” after Steve Martin, a state senator in Virginia, referred to a pregnant woman as the child’s “host” in a Facebook message.

Republicans keep trying to push back by claiming that the fact that Democrats push back against vicious sexism means they lack a message on other issues. It's totally predictable:
“I’m more than just a set of reproductive organs and I’d like someone to talk to me about how they’ll help my pocketbook and keep my health care plan that I like, and Democrats don’t have a good response to that,” said Katie Packer Gage, deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012 who recently started a consultancy to advise Republican candidates about outreach to women. “If I were them, I’d want to turn it into ‘Abortion Barbie,’ too.”
Right. So what about your party standing in the way of a minimum wage increase? After all, 64 percent of minimum wage workers are women, so raising it is a policy to help women. What about the fact that Republicans are going after private insurance coverage for abortion while blocking legislation that would help pregnant workers keep their jobs? Those are totally pocketbook issues. And it's not hard to see a connection between a Republican Party that blocks those bills and keeps coming up with candidates who can't seem to talk about anything related to women without saying something horribly offensive.

Meanwhile, until Republicans make a real change, Democrats are going to keep raking it in. Because they've stopped running away from this fight.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 07:08 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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