A June 19th piece in The Washington Post, written by Danielle Paquette, discusses a major problem for the Republican Party in the 2016 presidential race. The party does not appeal to working women. Paquette interviewed a number of Republican strategists who expressed concern that the Republican presidential candidates were doing next to nothing to encourage women who work outside the home to vote for them.
Working women have been abandoning the Republican Party in droves. For example, in 2004, George W. Bush managed to get nearly half the vote from working moms in the U.S. electorate. Four years later, John McCain was only able to secure 40 percent of the working mom vote. In 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who embodied an old-fashioned view of sex roles and family structure, struggled to get just a third of the vote from working mothers.
Despite the Republican’s failure to appeal to working women, the conservative executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum, Sabrina Schaeffer, argues that Republicans are still providing no answers. She laments:
For years now, Democrats have been saying: We are focused on women in the workplace. For whatever reason, Republicans keep ignoring these issues. It’s the absolute worst thing they can do. They need to understand, engage and offer better solutions.
John McCain’s 2008 political adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin also argues that his party has become out of touch with the concerns of working women. He notes:
Every parent who works has been through the day-care nightmare. This has been under-appreciated by Republican candidates in part and conservatives in general.
Yet despite the burgeoning costs of child care and the fact that the United States offers precious little in the way of paid family leave for working mothers, the Republican presidential candidates remain silent on some of the issues that matter most to working women. In addition, the GOP’s assault on reproductive rights, their attacks on health care subsidies, their byzantine views on female contraception, and their opposition to equal pay for equal work, are all turn offs to many professional women.
The Republicans have been hemorrhaging support from working women for a decade. That problem is only going to be compounded if the GOP has to present their outdated views on the same stage with Hillary Clinton, who has made the concerns of working women one of the cornerstones of her campaign. Working women helped propel Barack Obama to two victories over GOP candidates in 2008 and 2012.
If Republicans continue to ignore working women in 2016, and Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee, the GOP will be in world of hurt politically.