Important national trends get lost in topsy-turvy, hi-jinks politics. Everyone wants an answer to the 2020 presidential election, and Senate control. Those issues matter and dominate headlines. But subsurface trends matter too. Here is one: Republican women won the jackpot on US House seats. That dynamic will fundamentally change the US House chamber. Here is how.
First, note the numbers. Some are calling this, the “Year of the Republican Woman,” and rightly so. The wins were geographically diverse, including newcomers and incumbents. Thus, new members include Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Kat Cammack and Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida, Mary Miller of Illinois, Lisa McClain of Michigan, Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota, Yvette Herrell of New Mexico, Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee, and Ashley Hinson of Iowa.
For incumbents, seats were retained by Republican women, including Debbie Lesko of Arizona, Jackie Walorski of Indiana, Ann Wagner of Missouri, Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, Elise Stefanik of New York, Kay Granger of Texas, Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, Carol Miller of West Virginia, and Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Between election day and this week, Republican woman chalked up more wins, including Michelle Steel in California and Beth Van Duyne in Texas. As a result, Republican women in the House doubled to 28, a first.
Notably, these numbers do not do justice to the rising commitment Republican women are making to national elections. In the 2020 cycle, a record 228 Republican women ran for the House, and 94 won their primaries, doubling the prior record. See, e.g., https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/11/10/house-races-historic-gains-gop-women-erode-democratic-majority/6169709002/.
The bigger point is not in numbers, but in the powerful voice, perspective and impact this change will have on critical issues, and on the future appeal of the Republican Party to thoughtful, engaged, hard working women – as well as men who appreciate the entirely different perspective, credibility, and voice these women bring to national policy making.
Just as a male veteran can talk on issues specific to his own combat experience, a female veteran can talk to issues unique to hers – and both support America’s veteran community. Ditto for countless other issues, from gun rights and free speech to freedom of worship, assembly, and equal protection. Perhaps more to the point, Republican woman bring views deemphasized by media bias, or at least disproportionately underrepresented.
Accordingly, many are working mothers, often with skills not held by men, or not by as many men – plus a special take on the balance demanded of working mothers, plus practical importance of traditional values, workplace flexibility, the preeminent place of faith and family in a healthy community.
More specifically, these new members will bring special credibility to debates over economic and social policy, childcare and small business needs, school and home education, workplace bias and benefits, Title IX, preservation of rights, balance, honor, dignity and respect in the context of loving America. See, e.g., https://dailycaller.com/2020/11/04/republican-gop-women-win-elections/.
Interestingly, many incoming Republican women have deep leadership experience, such as Michelle Steel, a former major county supervisor, Lauren Boebert, who ran a restaurant, Maria Salazar, out of broadcast media and was a television anchor, Mary Miller, who managed a farm, Tracey Mann and Michelle Fischbach, both Lieutenant Governors (Kansas and Minnesota, respectively), Diana Harshbarger, a pharmacist, Beth Van Duyne, a mayor. Others bring deep business and government experience, often in areas critical as the economy struggles. See, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_freshman_class_members_of_the_117th_United_States_Congress.
Among big issues on which Republican women will become powerful, resonating, nationally heard voice, is abortion. Incredibly, no less than 18 pro-life women were elected to the US House this year. They are resolute, vocal, and many expect to go toe-to-toe on the House floor and in hearings with those pushing federally funded and late term abortions.
As these women can speak with authority men cannot, their presence is vital to a wider understanding of moral compass guiding those who oppose abortion. Nor are they shrinking from that opportunity. They are stepping up, with enthusiasm.
As Michelle Fischbach (R-MN) notes: “I think it’s a wonderful bonus for the pro-life message in Congress …I think that having strong, pro-life conservative women sharing their position on the issue … brings that message to a new level because it is women talking about it and sharing their opinions on it.” See, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/michelle-fischbach-anti-abortion-women-congress.
Finally, if timing is not everything, it can be important. If a conservative majority on the Supreme Court reconsiders abortion rights during the next two years, voices of thoughtful, pro-life, Republican congressional women may help explain, socialize, and defend any turn.
Bottom line: In a time of swirling emotions, uncertainty, concern, and downright worry about the future of our country, some trends – not ones mainstream media often highlight – are worth considering. The dramatic uptick in conservative, Republican women in the US house is one. Against the drone of downbeat news, here is a genuinely hopeful trend.