Single Mothers With Family Values

… It’s tempting to dismiss a Republican single mom as a dupe persuaded to vote against her own interests, a victim of what Thomas Frank called “the politics of self-delusion.” This assessment is misguided. …

The single mothers who reject the politics of their peers tell us something about the limits of the liberal effort to redefine cultural ideals. The left has recast marriage not as a lifelong contract, but as a civil right, a choice, one of many paths to empowerment. An old-fashioned covenant that binds two people in mutual submission sits uneasily in a secular ideology that holds personal autonomy as the highest good. But that covenant still means something to many Americans — including single moms, who have every reason to be cynical about traditional marriage. …

Single mothers who tilt Republican do not toe the party line perfectly. They often object to the relentless attack on public welfare. Most of the women I spoke to had received public assistance at some point in their lives. But they worried about the spiritual costs of long-term reliance on the state. CONT.

Molly Worthen (UNC), New York Times