Let's talk about the red-white-and-blue elephant in the room: The GOP petrifies women. We've speculated this for a while but it looks like the Republican Party, too, is finally coming around to the idea that it has a "women problem." According to Politico, an internal GOP report found that women are dissatisfied with Republican Party, describing them as — shocker — "stuck in the past." Suddenly, those "turning back the clock" memes don't seem so exaggerated.
The internal report, appropriately titled "Republicans and Women Voters: Huge Challenges, Real Opportunities," was produced by two Republican groups, including one funded by political advisor and GOP stalwart Karl Rove: Crossroads GPS and American Action Network. The report included findings from a survey of more than 800 registered women voters, as well as data from conservative focus groups, Politico reported.
Here's what the report found: 49 percent of women have an unfavorable view of Republicans. But wait, there's more! Women voters reportedly view the GOP in the following ways:
- "lacking in compassion"
- "stuck in the past"
- "fail to speak to women in the different circumstances in which they live"
That's rough, GOP, but it shouldn't come as much as a surprise. In fact, the report didn't seem to surprise Republicans on the Hill, who are slowly admitting that the 2012 presidential gender gap — the largest in election history — was an unmissable signpost for the Republican Party.
“It’s no surprise that conservatives have more work to do with women," American Action Network spokesperson Dan Conston told Politico. He added that the party now has to look into which policies "best engage women."
It shouldn't be too hard to figure out — most of the ire directed at the Republican Party these days stems from the over-regulation of women's bodies. The party took a huge leap to the right when it added its "life begins at conception" stance to is official plank in 2012. By doing so, the party ostracized pro-choice Republicans, as well as moderates and independents. And the ongoing battle over the Affordable Care Act's HHS mandate, culminating in the landmark Hobby Lobby SCOTUS ruling, hasn't exactly helped the party's image following the Romney/Ryan loss of 2012.
But even anti-abortion Republicans acknowledge that members of the party can't, for the love of Ronald Reagan, talk about women's issues like birth control or sexual assault without sounding insensitive, demeaning, or all-out crazy. The outrageous soundbites from the likes of Todd "Legitimate Rape" Aiken and Dick "Spousal Rape Is Not A Crime" Black have sent Republican politicians and political advisors into nonstop damage control. Now, female Republicans are at the point where they're pleading to their fellow male colleagues: "no stupid comments this year."
"White men stay behind, let the women talk about this issue," conservative author Kate Obenshain said during a panel at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference.
Although the report confirms that the Republican Party has some policies to revise, the GOP already has some tricks up their sleeves. In June, The New York Times reported that the party is looking to "reclaim" women's health issues by showing that they, well, care. Female Republican strategists have been training male politicians on how to show compassion for women, and advising them to "purge [rape] from your lexicon."
It's definitely a start.
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