Slowly but inevitably, the two major political parties have become the party of women and the party of men – guess which is which – so that the 2018 midterms are shaping up as a climactic battle in the war between the sexes.

This is largely the Trump Effect – his attitude and remarks toward and about women – as well as the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh.

Democrats were already woman-ing the barricades after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016. But the Kavanaugh kerfuffle fired up Republicans as well.

Republican men, on the whole, were appalled by the treatment of Kavanaugh and are expected to express themselves accordingly at the polls. Republican suburban women, who generally still don’t like Trump, nonetheless welcomed the FBI probe requested by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. Largely satisfied with the results, they’re back on board to vote against Democrats.

These are the findings of Sarah Chamberlain, head of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a 70-member coalition of moderate Republican representatives seeking common-sense solutions to issues everyone cares about.


Women are at the center of the 2018 elections. More women, mostly Democrats, are running than ever before. Of the 56 who are challenging incumbents, 47 are Democrats and nine are Republicans. Of those Democrats, however, 31 are in solid Republican districts, six are in districts “likely” to stay Republican and seven are districts that “lean” Republican, according to CNN polling. All nine Republican women are in solidly Democratic districts.

Regardless of whether they prevail next week, women on both sides have been awakened to the need for more women to participate in the conduct of the country. This is especially true on the Republican side, with their much smaller number of female elected officials. There are six Republican women in the Senate and 23 in the House, contrasted to the Democrats’ 17 in the Senate and 61 in the House.

Why, people always ask, don’t Republican women run the way Democrats do?

Partly, they’re often culturally disassociated from the Sturm und Drang of politics. Many who might have run in 2018 decided not to because of the increasingly nasty environment, surmises Rachel Pearson, a Republican fundraiser and consultant. Casting insight into Republican women specifically, she recalls being invited to several parties for a Bloody Mary before the 2017 Women’s March. She laughs as she recounts having declined because, “We don’t march.”

As in: Republican women don’t – though, of course, the March for Life draws plenty of conservative women. Her meaning was more metaphorical and may speak to why Democratic women are so much more successful in politics than their Republican counterparts. They’re scrappier and more willing to take to the streets, to shout in protest, to be agitators and activists. Plainly, it’s time for Republican women to kick off their heels, pull on their boots and get busy.


Democratic women, meanwhile, are light-years ahead of Republicans in organization, recruiting and fundraising, thanks in large part to EMILY’s List, the political action committee founded by Ellen Malcolm in 1985 to elect pro-choice women. Malcolm’s vision was brilliant and has resulted in a pro-choice imbalance on the right.

“I’m afraid pro-choice Republican women have lost their voice on this issue,” Pearson says.

Women in state offices tend to be more vocal on choice and other issues, Chamberlain says. “We need to bring them out of the woodwork.”

One could argue that increasing the number of Republican women in Congress would be good for the country as a matter of balance and diversity. What is needed, Chamberlain says, is “(Michael) Bloomberg kind of money.”

Toward that end, surely, some wealthy benefactors have enough vision to see the value in lending financial support to such a cause? Men, bless their hearts, have held the reins of power for long enough.

How about it, philanthropists? Spare a dime – or $100 million?

Kathleen Parker is a columnist for The Washington Post. She can be contacted at:

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