women's march
Credit: Liz Lemon/Flickr

Considering that there is a sexual-assaulter-in-chief sitting in the White House, it’s hardly surprising that the Republican Party isn’t having the kind of success they’d hoped for in increasing the number of women in their congressional caucuses.

Republicans were successful in recruiting a record-breaking number of women to run for seats across the country, an effort meant to reshape a GOP conference that now includes just 23 women out of 236 members.

However, given the political headwinds facing the GOP in this year’s midterm elections, it appears the party will be fortunate to get voters to back even that many of its female candidates. And in a worst-case scenario, the party could end up having 10 fewer GOP women in the 116th Congress.

“2018 is the year of the woman — except on the Republican side, where the ranks of GOP women are likely to shrink,” said David Wasserman, House editor of the Cook Political Report. “It’s a fairly dire situation for Republican women in the House.”

The Republicans have been lucky to win two out of the past five presidential elections despite losing the popular vote and every single ethnic, religious, and sexual orientation group other than Mormons. They won’t be so fortunate if women come to see the Democratic Party as their natural home and the Republican Party as their implacable foes. But just as otherwise socially conservative Muslims are running away from the GOP, and just as potential supporters in the Asian and Latino communities are fleeing, this year is developing into an opportunity for the Democrats to make huge gains out of what is essentially a gift. The misogynistic, white nationalist Grand Old Party is effectively excluding anyone who isn’t white, male, and at least fifty years old.

They’re doing this largely because they want things that way, even though it makes little medium-to-long term political sense.

William F. Buckley said, “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling ‘Stop.’” But time doesn’t stop. Heraclitus was right when he noted that you can never step into the same river twice. The 1950’s aren’t coming back, and women aren’t going to keep going back to a party that doesn’t recognize their advances since then.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com