Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The gender gap in campaign donations

I thought this was interesting, not just because of the gender gap between Republicans and Democrats, but because of how few women, compared to men, donate to Ron Paul.

Women donate less money to political campaigns than men do, probably for the simple reason that they don't have as much money. (And they are far less likely to control corporations, so corporate donations are made mostly by men, too.)

But the gender gap isn't so large in the Democratic Party. Barack Obama is receiving nearly 44% of his campaign contributions from women. Clearly, there's a significant difference between his donors and those of the Republican candidates.

Oddly enough, a larger percentage of women go for Rick Perry and Rick Santorum than for Mitt Romney, which I would not have predicted. And that doesn't seem to be a consequence of having more big-money donors, either. (Since women have less money than men, on average, they would tend to give smaller amounts per donation.)

And then there's Ron Paul. Now that is a huge gender gap. But it makes sense, doesn't it? How many women are libertarians?

Men can be macho enough to fantasize about a dog-eat-dog world. They may exaggerate the importance of competition and minimize the value of cooperation. And often enough, they don't understand that a "lone wolf" is an aberrant creature, a loser, a failure in wolf society. A healthy wolf is a social animal.

Biologically, women require a secure society in order to reproduce. A man has other options. In the absence of laws and social order, a strong man can rape and seduce his way to reproductive success, spreading his seed widely and expecting that some of his young might survive.

But no woman can sow her wild oats the way a man can. Of biological necessity, women have no option but to invest a great deal in each child. And so, I think, women tend to better understand that we're social animals, that we survive and thrive in groups, not as isolated individuals, that we're all in this together.

Well, women, like men, are diverse. But it does look like libertarianism is more appealing to men, doesn't it? (Not to this man, certainly, but to men in general.) And that doesn't surprise me at all.

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