GOP Women on 'Lessons' They Learned in Midterms After Losses

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Posted: Dec 11, 2018 12:00 PM
GOP Women on 'Lessons' They Learned in Midterms After Losses

In November's midterms, Democrats elected a whopping 89 female representatives, while Republicans lost about half of the 23 seats held by women. One of those losses came in Utah, where Rep. Mia Love (R) was narrowly pushed out by Democrat Ben McAdams. President Trump surmised that Love's defeat was guaranteed after she started distancing herself from him.

"She gave me no love — and she lost," Trump explained. "Too bad."

Love had her own conclusion as to why the GOP failed to elect qualified, conservative women.

“Because Republicans never take minority communities into their home and into their hearts," she said.

At Politico's Women Rule Summit on Tuesday, Love expanded on her autopsy, as well as her response to the president.

"I was a little shocked," she admitted. "Let me be clear, my policies and principles don’t suggest that I follow a person." 

"When I feel someone is not representing that platform well, then I will call them out on it," Love later added. "My job is not to walk in lockstep with somebody just because they’re sitting in the White House…if you’re not doing what I believe is great for this country, then you’re going to have a problem with me."

Trump's comments showed he is "absolutely not" understanding the problem the GOP has with women and black voters, Love continued. For instance, his comments about African countries like Haiti being a "s***hole," or "throwing Republicans under the bus for no reason." 

He should also "tweet less," Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) added.

Love said the GOP needs to once again prove to voters that they can "trust" the party. She wants Americans to vote for them not just on policy, but because they know the party cares about them. Love said the party needs to show voters "that we’re actually pretty compassionate" and they "care about them and their families."

Messaging is one thing. Another is getting conservative female candidates the resources they need.

Stefanik sounded off on her party's failure in not getting involved in the primaries. Had the NRCC dedicated resources to certain races in the midterms, Stefanik said there would likely have been a much rosier outcome. The NRCC chair disagrees with her diagnosis, preferring the status quo. So, she's branching out on her own.

Sarah Chamberlain, of Republican Main Street Partnership, expanded on this issue. She regretted that "a woman in Tennessee" was not sitting with them on the stage.

"I wished another entity" would have helped female candidates like her on the ballot, Chamberlain said. "Nobody went in to help her." Another woman was "left on the table in Arizona."

"That’s not going to happen again,"Chamberlain promised.

A failure to get involved and a failure to show compassion helped doom Republicans' chances. Chamberlain added a third issue: The GOP was not vocal enough about their policy achievements.

Chamberlain shared how she met with a group of suburban women and focus groups back in July to find that they had no clue Rep. Stefanik had helped pass through a Pell Grant initiative that would give low-income students access to the college aid year-round.

The suburban voters "had no idea." They even accused Chamberlain of "fake news," she joked. That's just one on a long list of policies voters were not aware of.

"That’s a problem."

Stefanik said she is going to make sure her male colleagues hear her.

“I am going to keep pointing out to my colleagues that we are at a crisis level for GOP women,” she said in a separate interview with Politico. “This election should be a wake-up call to Republicans that we need to do better."