It has been a long and winding road for Republican women. They have forever been depicted in condescending fashion by big corporate media, identified as either helpless captives of their husband’s (undoubtedly reactionary) political views – think Tammy Wynette standing by her man – or just misguided unfortunates who fail to grasp the cause of women’s rights. They simply don’t accept what they are told, that the Democratic party is the sole repository of female-related wisdom and compassion.
But now, there is growing evidence that their time has come. GOP gals have put their game face on and are preparing to flood the zone. Could it be that the long-ballyhooed gender gap is closing? Or, gasp, that the GOP is on a path to becoming the party of women?
The Women Who Dumped Trump
Now, undoubtedly, some would cite the results of the 2020 election as incontrovertible evidence that only a crackpot could make such an assertion. But there’s a funny thing about numbers: they don’t lie. And two numbers in particular – one past, the other present – reveal a potential sea change as candidates line up for the 2022 midterm elections.
But first, the presidency of Donald Trump must be put in context – as viewed by women writ large. Most importantly, 45 was hardly an archetypal Republican – quite the opposite. Not your grandfather’s GOP man in the grey flannel suit. And it’s no secret that his often-intemperate remarks and disinterest in expanding his appeal to soft suburban sensibilities, further fueled by the media’s depiction of him as a macho bully, grated on the fairer sex more than their male counterparts. Of course, it all came crashing down in 2020, when women dumped Trump, handing the election to Joe Biden with their 15 point edge for the Democrat – and a head-spinning 40 point margin among college-educated women.
Given those facts on the ground from the miserable year past, you would assume conservative women with political ambition would go running the other way as fast as they can. But remarkably, the opposite is happening. The fact is, while left-leaning women voters almost single-handedly beat Trump and the GOP in 2020, right-leaning female candidates may save the party going forward.
The GOP’s New Wave?
The first of the two revealing numbers is 79%. That’s the percentage of House seats flipped from Democrat to Republican in 2020 by women. Yes, 11 of the 14 seats that turned from blue to red were captured by female candidates. Small sample, but big result. It brought the party ever so close to seizing control of the lower chamber. Consequently, the total number of Republican women in the House rose from 13 to 31.
And that success may well account for the second number – still fluid: 127. That is the record-shattering number of Republican women who have thus far announced or formally declared for a seat in the House in 2022 – with 16 months still to go before elections. That number may not seem to jump out – until you discover that only 50 women had filed for the House at the same time in the 2020 election cycle. That means a whopping 154% increase in just two years.
No doubt, the remarkable success of Republican women on the ballot in an otherwise disastrous election year may have given ambitious conservative ladies a jolt of confidence. They have now proved that, in the here and now, they are more capable of winning elections than their male counterparts. If this trend carries forward, it represents nothing less than a game-changer for the Republican party, and conversely, the feminist movement. Why, it might even force the National Organization for (Liberal) Women to endorse a female Republican. Then again, probably not.
But the ladies almost saved the day in 2020 and now plan to double down on their bet for 2022, and likely the presidential election year of 2024. Could it simply be that right-minded women have tired of watching Republican men fail, and given their superior batting average, want to take the bat in their own hands and swing for the fences? In the end, could they do much worse?
Read more from Tim Donner.