The Corner


Bad Thinking About the Gender Gap Is Unkillable

(Alejandro Duran/Dreamstime)

Also from that National Journal story:

Rep. Mike Bishop, a second-term Michigan Republican, said in an interview last month after his defeat that he was most concerned about the party’s appeal to women.

“They were generally dissatisfied and maybe even a little bit repelled by the Republican Party,” he said in an interview. “And we have to now be honest with ourselves and figure out what we need to do. So it’s up to these guys to figure it out.”


For many years, Republicans have done better among men than among women — which implies that Democrats have done better among women than among men. When Republicans lose elections, they have typically lost women by a large margin. When Democrats lose elections, they have typically lost men by a wide margin. Yet only in the former case does the losing party endlessly and unproductively wring its hands about its weakness with an entire sex.

According to the exit polls, between 2016 and 2018 House Republicans lost four points among men and four points among women. Between 2014 and 2018, independent men moved against Republicans more than independent women did. In Bishop’s Michigan, Republicans lost eight points among men between the governors’ races of 2014 (when Bishop was first elected to the House) and 2018; they lost seven points among women.

If Republicans do better in 2020 than in 2018, it will almost certainly be because their numbers are better with both sexes, and it is not at all clear that doing something to appeal specifically to women is what Republicans need.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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