Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Republican Women Are in Crisis


Acknowledging the party’s mistakes with female voters, the G.O.P. fielded female candidates in the 2014 midterms who could appeal more broadly. These candidates downplayed their social conservatism and leaned in to their biographies as glass-breaking female leaders. In 2014, Martha McSally, the nation’s first female fighter pilot to serve in combat, won the Republican primary in a swing district in Arizona. Elise Stefanik, then the youngest congresswoman ever elected, was chosen to be co-chairwoman of the party’s moderate caucus

With the exception of her endorsement of Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, Ms. Palin played a minor role in the 2014 midterm victories. Her days as queen-maker seemed over. Most signs suggested that Republican pragmatism would prevail going forward.
The rise of Donald Trump eliminated any chance of that. The signs of women’s disillusionment with the party were immediate. One day after President Trump’s inauguration, an estimated four million people, mostly women, participated in hundreds of women’s marches throughout the United States. In the months that followed, women mobilized to defeat Republicans at the federal, state and local levels.

In the 2018 midterms, every Republican congresswoman from the 2014 class except for Ms. Stefanik lost. Martha McSally was defeated, though she was appointed by Arizona’s Republican governor to fill John McCain’s Senate seat after Mr. McCain died. She faces a tough election battle in 2020.
Despite winning three governors’ races and one open Senate seat in 2018, Republican women will end the decade with their governors and senators outnumbered two to one by their Democratic counterparts. Three of the four current female Republican senators running in 2020 face highly competitive elections in 2020. There are more than six times as many Democratic women as Republican women in the House.


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