The Vast and Unsolvable Mystery of Why There Aren't More Republican Women in Congress 


Somehow, Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia is incredibly surprised that there aren’t more Republican women in Congress. Truly one of life’s great mysteries.

Capito was a guest on Politico’s “Women Rule podcast, which is touted as “real talk with women bosses.” Capito, as I understand it, is the woman boss of working with the Republican Party to help decimate the rights of women, people of color, and poor people. The episode touched on topics like bipartisanship, the fall of the Democratic Party in West Virginia, Capito’s support of needle exchange programs, and balancing family life with politics.

Here’s what Capito had to say about the dearth of other Republican “women bosses” in Congress:

This is something that stumps me. I don’t understand. We have a lot of Republican women that have local offices, they’re commissioners, they’re active in their states… We’re falling way short.

“The Democrats are outshining us, no doubt,” she added. “I don’t know what it is. I think it’s something we need to really focus on.”

Outshining is an understatement: of the 102 women elected to Congress in the 2018 midterms, only 13 of them were Republican.

“I don’t know if there’s still not enough of us to mentor people through the campaigns to get more and more,” said Capito. “But we’re definitely well aware of it and working on it.”

“Working on it” probably doesn’t mean completely changing tactics and ideology, though she should consider it! Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center found that the gender gap in party affiliation is growing: 56 percent of women identify as or lean Democrat while only 37 percent identify or lean Republican.

Pew also found that millennials overall are more likely to identify as or lean Democratic than previous generations—60 percent to be specific. And the numbers are more brutal for Republicans when gender is brought into the mix: 70 percent of Millennial women “affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic,” Pew found. Four years ago, 56 percent of millennial women did.

It’s almost as if Republican attacks on family planning services, abortion access, worker protections, and public education isn’t a winner in the eyes of many women. Or maybe it’s Brett Kavanaugh? Or the Republican assault on the voting rights of black and brown people? Or putting children in cages? Or there just aren’t enough white women to prop up Republicans for that much longer?

But who knows? Damn, Capito, this really is a head scratcher.

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