Martin Goldfarb, Chairman and CEO, Goldfarb Corporation
WHY THE REPUBLICANS WILL LOSE
Chairman: Robert L. Brooks
President, The Empire Club of Canada
Over the weekend I was thinking about what an outstanding fall season we've had for armchair competitors of all kinds.
Just the other day I was listening to the radio when I heard someone say: "I'm absolutely confident in my heart of hearts that we will win."
I didn't know if it was Brian Mulroney on the referendum, Bobby Cox on the World Series, Ross Perot on the U.S. Presidential race or Marty Goldfarb on David Peterson's election timing.
But in all fairness to our guest, if I'd seen those kinds of numbers going in, I would have advised that election call, too. Nineteen times out of 20, anyway, plus or minus three per cent.
Martin Goldfarb began his polling career while still a teacher in Metro Toronto in 1966. Building on degrees in anthropology and sociology, he was something of a pioneer in the field in Canada. In less than 10 years he rose to prominence as key pollster to the Liberal Party of Canada, a role he continues to play.
His company now has offices in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, New York and Hamburg, employing over 100 social scientists. Along the way he diversified into the muffler business--something to do with a poll that said everybody wanted to feel like a somebody. Over and above his business commitments, he finds time to be involved with organizations such as the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and York University.
Last week the CNN-U.S.A. Today poll had Clinton leading by two; ABC had him by seven; the L. A. Times gave him 10, and Harry's New York Bar in Paris awarded a landslide. You might be interested to know that Harry's has the longest and best track record of the bunch. Today, Mr. Goldfarb is going to tell us who's really right.
Please join me in welcoming our guest, Mr. Martin Goldfarb.
Why do I think Bush is going to lose? There are a couple of reasons, but one stands out more than any other--the Republicans have lost touch with the reality of how women function in society. Women are going to vote against Bush for a whole bunch of reasons.
What is fascinating is that losing the female vote was not an easy thing to do when you understand the anxieties women have about Clinton and about change; that is, financial change. Let's look at a few principles:
Women are building a new equality and a new social order that is on the verge of replacing the old order based on male domination and the exercise of power. Women, for the first time, are developing critical mass in the work world, developing independent assets and independent wealth. Since wealth generation is our religion, nothing will stand in the way of an idea whose time has come.
In today's world, women are creating more wealth opportunities than men. We cannot go back to a world that was slower, where women stayed home and had children and were really unprepared to function financially, independent of male approval.
Women have changed. The structure of our society has changed. The domestic agenda has changed and it is this domestic agenda that the Republicans do not understand.
Education, abortion, environment, day care--what we once considered to be women's issues--are now everybody's issues. The Republicans and the president, on all of these issues, have demonstrated that they are out to lunch. Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill radicalized women in the United States like never before. The hearings, the manner in which Anita Hill was cross-examined by a group of male senators, and the approval of Thomas to a position on the Supreme Court, have convinced women that political involvement is key if they are to have influence on legislation that directly affects them, such as the pro-choice position on the abortion issue.
Women are beginning to understand that the only way to achieve equality in law is involvement in the political process. In real terms, the ultimate objective is equal opportunity in salaries and equal opportunity in management positions. It does not happen voluntarily. It is only through the political process that they now believe it can happen.
Women dominate the electorate. They are 54 per cent of the voting population, and there is a desire to support other women. Anti-incumbent sentiment is running high, and in Texas and California, women are making significant political headway. Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill, and the male Senate panel did more to convince women to get involved in politics and defeat Bush and other Republicans than any other single event.
The convention is a close second. Women's issues have become political issues, and women will now vote to defend their expectations on these issues. The abortion issue is important, but it is not the only one. The abortion issue galvanizes emotion and women will not support the Republican anti-choice stand.
Let me spend a few moments on the power of this marketplace.
Women lead in establishing small- to mid-size businesses. Together, their purchasing power is greater than that of Fortune 500 companies. The number of employees of women-owned businesses will surpass the number of employees of Fortune 500 companies. More than one-half of the accountants graduating last year were women, and 40 per cent of law school and medical school graduates were women.
In 1986, there were 400,000 women who were millionaires. In 1990, there were 10 million women earning over $30,000 and 2.1 million earning over $50,000.
Twenty-nine per cent of U.S. households are single-parent households, headed by women. In 1990, there were 10 million single parents. One child in four is raised in a single household. Sixty per cent of black children are raised in single-parent households headed by women.
Children are not going out of style. In 1989, 100,000 children were born to unwed, college-educated mothers between the ages of 30 and 34. This is not the conception of young teenagers who do not know what they are doing. There is a change. Many women want children, but they do not want the burden or restriction of a husband.
Clinton has a 15 per cent advantage among female voters, and these voters are key in states like California, New York, Illinois and Michigan. It is likely that the Democrats will carry all of these states.
The marketplace has changed for women. They are pursuing independent careers, and they are pursuing independent behaviour.
The Republican Party attempted to turn the clock back in a way that perpetuated the dream of male dominance which, in reality, does not exist any more. The Republican Party said to women and other groups that if their behaviour would be acceptable as defined by the likes of Robinson and Buchanan, they might get into their club. In real terms, there was an exclusive group who decided who could become members and everyone else would be considered pariahs.
Significant Republican women are not campaigning for the Republicans. Many felt rejected and had no place to go in terms of the lifestyle issues that affect their daily lives except to the Democrats, and some to Ross Perot.
The media are not the enemy. An attack on the media is an attack on freedom. Certainly we all have examples of when a writer or a person in the media has been unfair, but the media are not homogeneous. They present a diverse multitude of points of view. In newspapers, editorials say one thing, while columnists say the opposite.
The media are fundamental to freedom. They are the cutting edge of honesty. On occasion, the people send the media a message indicating that their interests are not being reflected. This is what happened in the Canadian Referendum.
The political elite, the business elite, and the media elite were all out of touch with average Canadians who clearly understand the kind of Canada they are not prepared to live with.
We live under a representative government in Canada. So do the citizens of the United States. We elect people to represent us. We do not elect them to be smarter than us, to have privileges that we do not have and to act and live in an elite manner.
This is part of the basis for the revolt against political incumbents in the United States. The assumption of elite status by representatives is what the public despises and will not tolerate any longer. This is no different than Canada.
Bush made a strategic error in using the media as the enemy. A few will cheer, but most will be leery about attacking a fundamental foundation to freedom. If there is one thing Americans are committed to, it is individual rights and freedom. To them, the Constitution is the religion of the United States. Freedom is paramount and the media are fundamental to that freedom.
How can you consciously, in a culture such as that in the United States, decide to take on the entertainment industry? It happens to be the most successful American export. It is the reference for so many to emulate. It is the mirror of the evolving lifestyle and value system. It is the intellectual property of future generations.
There are four fundamentals for the failure of George Bush. The first is the attack on the media; the second is the attack on the entertainment industry, the third is the treatment of women as second-class citizens; and the fourth is the practice of the politics of exclusion at the Republican Convention.
The Republican Party turned inward and many women saw it as elitist, exclusive, and out of touch with their daily needs. As a result, they have galvanized to vote against it. Thank you for your attention.
The appreciation of the meeting was expressed by The Hon. Barnett Danson, Consultant, and an Honorary Director, The Empire Club of Canada.