Have the Republicans Lost White Women for Good?

We’re all used to hearing about how the Republicans completely ignored their own autopsy recommendations when it comes to reaching out to Hispanic voters. As a reminder, here’s what the autopsy said:

If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies…

We are not a policy committee, but among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond, we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only. We also believe that comprehensive immigration reform is consistent with Republican economic policies that promote job growth and opportunity for all.

Of course, House Republicans ignored that advice and the party went on to nominate a presidential candidate who has may have lost them the support of Hispanics in the same way they lost African Americans with their Southern Strategy.

But that’s not all the autopsy said. Here is another recommendation:

The RNC must improve its efforts to include female voters and promote women to leadership ranks within the committee. Additionally, when developing our Party’s message, women need to be part of this process to represent some of the unique concerns that female voters may have. There is growing unrest within the community of Republican women frustrated by the Party’s negative image among women, and the women who participated in our listening sessions contributed many constructive ideas of ways to improve our brand with women throughout the country and grow the ranks of influential female voices in the Republican Party.

With the nomination of one of the most misogynist candidates this country has ever seen, we might be headed for the biggest gender gap we’ve ever seen in presidential politics. White college-educated women (who normally vote Republican) are giving Clinton a 30 point advantage in the polls.

The question becomes: is this a permanent break or will they return to the fold once Trump is gone? That might depend less on the current candidate and more on how party leaders have responded to him. At least some prominent Republican women are starting to speak up about that.

A growing number of prominent Republican women are worried that as members of their male-dominated party step up to defend Donald Trump against accusations of sexual assault, they are causing irreparable damage to the GOP’s deteriorating relationship with female voters…

“If the GOP has truly convinced itself that openly engaging in sexual assault fantasies is something normal that men do among one another, I have a suggestion. Relocate the Republican National Committee headquarters into a men’s-only locker room,” [Amanda] Carpenter wrote. “Eliminate all pretenses of wanting to let women in.”

There are those who respond by saying, “Surprise, surprise…the GOP embraces sexism.” It’s hard to imagine they are shocked that the party that launched a “war on women” is not a place that welcomes empowered women. But being the party that condones sexual assault takes it up to a whole new level. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not that breech can be mended.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.