THE BLOG
10/24/2014 12:20 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Women's Vote: Ebola or Equal Pay?

Ebola panic is sweeping the nation, with schools closing and people barricading themselves at home, even if they're thousands of miles away from one of the three individuals who have contracted virus on U.S. soil. Politicians, always eager to take advantage of voters' fears, are jumping on the bandwagon hoping it will pay off at the ballot box.

Republican Senate candidates Thom Tillis (NC) and David Perdue (GA) blame President Obama -- and by reflection their Democratic opponents -- for the crisis in Africa. In Minnesota Republican Mike McFadden has revamped his stump speech to capitalize on Ebola fears here at home in his bid to unseat democrat Al Franken.

Voters, especially women, aren't buying the baloney. According to Gallup equal pay is the number one concern for women, followed closely by equal opportunity. Women are still making only 77 cents on the dollar when compared to men for full time year round work.

Women know that when you get paid what you're worth, you can buy the necessities for your family. When you have equal opportunity, you can take pride in your job and give the 2014-04-01-yourvoicesmallest3.JPGemployer your best. When you get paid what you're worth, you can stay off public assistance and contribute more to charity and your community.

But many politicians don't want women to get paid what they're worth. They'd rather dodge the conversation by hyping extremely unlikely events like a U.S. Ebola "epidemic" and hoping you won't notice their records when it comes to women. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would not mandate what employers pay, but would prohibit them from firing workers for discussing pay, has languished in Congress for over 20 years. The last time it came up in the Senate in September, Republicans wouldn't even let debate go forward, much less allow a vote.

Ebola-hawking candidates are trying for a bait and switch, but my bet's on women. Voting for someone who plays on Ebola fears while denying female workers a chance at equal pay is a fool's game -- and female voters are not fools. Unless they're health care workers actually treating an Ebola patient, the chances of a U.S. citizen contracting the virus are virtually non-existent. On the other hand, the chances of a woman in the U.S. workforce making less than a man beside her doing the same work are close to 99 in 100.

And the chances of a Republican-controlled Senate voting for equal pay in the next two years? Approximately zero.

Listen to the 2 minute radio commentary here: