By Malliga Och, Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Languages, Idaho State University.. First published on The Conversation.
(Note from Anne. As a progressive Democrat, these views may not coincide with my own, based on my extensive research on Republican women voters. I share the research from Baylor University because as a Christian University — unlike a liberal media resource like The Atlantic— the conclusions are more difficult to condemn. Also, personal interviews were part of the Baylor study, which concluded that “Value gender traditionalism, feeling that men are better suited for politics and should earn more than women; women should provide primary child care; and working women are deficient as mothers” is a core belief among Trump voters, including Trump’s Republican women voters.“ This article is factually correct in its assertions and Och’s arguments, which is why I’ve published it on AOC. I admit also that I am actively involved in trying to recruit Republican women and registered Independent women to the Democratic party by acting in good faith. )
The number of Republican women in Congress is actually dropping from 23 to 13. Only one out of 36 freshman female representatives is a Republican. So while 2018 certainly was the Year of the Woman, Republican women are watching from the sidelines.
Whether you are progressive or conservative, this is bad news. As political scientists, we strongly believe that both democracy and feminism work best when there is a critical mass of women in each major political party. A democracy should reflect the diversity of its society. Considering that women make up over half of the U.S. population but only 23 percent of Congress, American democracy already under represents women. For Republican women, the mismatch is even more pronounced.
Nearly half of all women in this country regularly vote for Republican candidates. For example, Donald Trump won 41 percent of the female vote in 2016 and Mitt Romney won 44 percent in 2012. Yet the overall numbers of Republican women candidates and elected women has stagnated at around 15 percent for the past two decades and is now declining.
This is important for many reasons.