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How conservative women are saving the GOP
Female Republican leaders are critical not just for what they do — but equally for what their success means
Sen. Kelly Ayotte: One of the GOP's great female hopes.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte: One of the GOP's great female hopes. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
W

e conservatives have a problem. Meet a young voter, a minority voter, or a single woman voter, and odds are, they ticked the president's name on their ballot last November. This is the Republican disconnect from demographic reality. And it's deadly serious. Conservatives need a new recipe for outreach and engagement.

If we don't find one soon, we better get used to a perpetual future of Democratic presidents.

Our new approach can't just be about outreach. Absent inspiring substance as a foundation for our engagement, voters won't have any reason to join our cause.

Fortunately, our movement has a major asset — conservative women.

Some on the left like to pretend that there are only three types of conservative women: The stupid, the sexy, and the self-hating. This is absurd. From Washington, D.C., to Santa Fe, New Mexico, conservative women are re-energizing the Republican Party as an organization and revolutionizing its message to the American people.

Don't take my word for it; look at the record.

In the Senate, there's Kelly Ayotte, who has brought incisive scrutiny to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. In doing so, she's providing a female GOP balance to the perceived national security strength of Hillary Clinton.

There's also the newly elected senator from Nebraska, Deb Fischer, who, recognizing public anger over D.C. dysfunction, ran on a campaign to rid the capital of special interests.

And in the House of Representatives, the GOP has plenty of female leaders playing varied but crucial roles.

Addressing the GOP popularity deficit is one such role. Fortunately we've got Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican who has long sought to foster renewed civility in Congress. Capito is sending a GOP signal of respect rather than one of anger.

We also need to get better at door-to-door democracy by forging reliable voting networks. Again, we have a GOP trailblazer — Kristi Noem, a South Dakotan whose election trashed the comfortable myth that grassroots fundraising is a Democratic monopoly.

We must also show American women that conservatives value female leadership. And thanks to Cathy McMorris Rogers, who recently became the 4th highest ranking Republican leader on Capitol Hill, we can now send that message honestly.

But of course, it isn't solely at the federal level where this revolution is happening. Take a glance outside of the beltway.

There's Mia Love, the feisty, social media-savvy Utah mayor who narrowly lost in her congressional run of last year. Mayor Love has given Republicans a charismatic local leader to rival Cory Booker.

There's Nikki Haley in South Carolina, a governor who has put a pro-jobs push against union patronage at the forefront of her agenda. Haley is showing how a real economic counter to the president's policies is far more effective than endless complaining.

There's Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico — a state which President Obama won by 10 points in 2012. Martinez is showing the GOP that no territory is a Democratic dominion, and that all Americans are ready for serious GOP engagement. And with her sharp passion for education reform, Martinez is also energizing a different brand of conservatism — one which puts the future first.

For conservatives and conservatism, these female leaders are crucial. Not just for what they do, but equally for what their success means. That inclusiveness works politically as well as morally, and shows that a tremendous kettle of talent bubbles under the surface of the GOP. Now we need to lift the lid on that talent. If we do, we'll broaden our appeal, deepen our philosophy, and ultimately, return to power.

Tom Rogan is a conservative writer who blogs at TomRoganThinks.com.

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