The media revels in pointing out that while it was another “Year of the Woman,” with record numbers of women running for and winning office, the surge was solely among Democrats and the number of Republican female lawmakers has declined. They feign such disappointment, but are clearly overjoyed at the opportunity to advance their narrative that the GOP ignores women.
Certainly, the GOP deserves blame for failing to prioritize recruiting and supporting female candidates, for not elevating excellent conservative female lawmakers, and for offering only tepid support for organizations that specifically engage women.
Yet these media stories supposedly searching for an explanation for this sad phenomenon overlook how the media and leftist feminist groups share part of the blame. Their vicious treatment of conservative women discourages potential female candidates from throwing their hats in the ring.
Consider the different futures that female Democratic and Republican political leaders must prepare for. The Democrat woman can expect glowing reports on her rise from the national news media; slots on leading daytime talk shows and late-night comedy shows where she will face softball questions, glowing and one-sided descriptions of her policy agenda; and, if she climbs the political ladder, airbrushed photo shoots in glamorous fashion magazines and invitations to A-list media parties in New York and Hollywood.
The Republican woman should expect to be ignored by most of the mainstream media or described as a token in a party meant for white men. She should expect consistently hostile treatment from reporters, both in print and on television, and — if she’s really successful — to be viciously caricatured on Saturday Night Live, have protesters frequenting her office, and have her family hounded out of restaurants.
Is it really so surprising that fewer Republican women are running for office?
Certainly, Republican party leaders and activists should be more proactive in women’s outreach, both for voters and for candidates. They need more members working as hard as Republican Elise Stefanik to enlist women and improve the party’s brand with women.
But the left should spare us their preening and fake concern about missing Republican lawmakers. Their consistently biased treatment of conservative women is a part of a deliberate strategy to silence and discourage women on the right.