It has been a constant theme in the media for many years that Republicans need to do a better job of recruiting female candidates and on Wednesday’s MSNBC Live, Chris Jansing highlighted the efforts of some Republican women to address that concern. While the segment started off dealing with practical concerns such as the lack of political connections and fundraising abilities, it ended with ended with the suggestion that if Republicans really want to do a better job of recruiting women to run for office, they need to drop their “litmus tests” on things like abortion.
A voiceover of Jansing hinted that the GOP platform may cause them some problems, “the night we were with them, the conversation turned to yet one more challenge facing Republican women candidates.” Citing no evidence, former Illinois State Sen. Karen McConnaughay declared that, “I really think it’s the social issues, to be honest. I think the Republican Party needs to do some recalibration when it comes to the social issues.”
After Jansing clarified, “If things like abortion and gay marriage become litmus tests, it works against women in the Republican Party?” The assembled group all added their agreement with fellow former Illinois State Sen. Sue Rezin adding, “And I think that we just need to change the conversation about who we are as Republicans.” Both McConnaughay and Rezin had their pro-life credentials downgraded by Illinois Right to Life after they voted to support that state’s ERA in 2018.
While MSNBC may like it if Republicans were less passionate about their pro-life beliefs, nothing in the actual polling data suggests that not running candidates who are willing to defy the pro-life “litmus tests” are actually hurting Republicans among women. Gallup’s 2019 polling data on the subject shows that 51% of women consider themselves to be pro-life, while 43% consider themselves pro-choice, meaning that women are more pro-life than men who consider themselves more pro-choice at 48-46%.
Here is a transcript for the November 27 segment:
MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin
11:54 PM ET
CHRIS JANSING [VOICEOVER]: They’re also talk to each other. Sue Rezin regularly talks to a group of friends with campaign experience and the night we were with them, the conversation turned to yet one more challenge facing Republican women candidates.
KAREN MCCONNAUGHAY: I really think it’s the social issues, to be honest. I think the Republican Party needs to do some recalibration when it comes to the social issues.
JANSING: If things like abortion and gay marriage become litmus tests, it works against women in the Republican Party?
UNIDENTIFIED: I think so.
SUE REZIN: And I think that we just need to change the conversation about who we are as Republicans.
TAMARA EDWARDS: Who is messaging this from the top? Who is saying get women elected? If Someone has an objective to go get women elected, they’re make it happen because their livelihood depends on it.