FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10th, 2014
In New Campaign, EMILY’s List Sends GOP to “Summer School”
#GOPSummerSchool To Provide Republicans Valuable Lessons for Outreach to Women Voters
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following consistent out-of-touch and offensive remarks by the GOP, EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, today launched a new effort to guide Republicans on how to avoid complete failure when reaching out to women voters.
“GOP Summer School” will engage and enlist EMILY’s List members nationwide to take part in sharing valuable ‘lessons’, curriculum and case studies of what to do – and what not to do – when reaching out to women. The campaign will also include online advertisements targeting women activists on Facebook and Twitter, and online news sites.
“After more than a year of sensitivity trainings and classes on how not to offend women, it’s clear the Republican rebranding effort is a fail. So we thought we’d step in and offer some extra coursework on women voters, women’s issues and women candidates.” said Jess McIntosh, Communications Director at EMILY’s List. “It seems like every week the GOP announces a new reboot: a PAC to attract women candidates or a polling memo on women voters. It also seems like every week the GOP puts its collective foot in its mouth when talking to or about women. The problem is that no matter how quickly Republicans cram and review their own substance-free PR tactics, their actual agenda gives them very little to work with. From blocking women’s access to healthcare and birth control to working against equal pay for women to opposing an increase in the minimum wage, Republicans are totally out of step with American women. We’re here to help.”
Since the announcement of the GOP rebrand in 2013, Republicans have admitted their fault with women voters and launched repeated attempts to amend their problems. However they continue to earn a failing grade. Recent examples of their out-of-touch worldview include:
- Last week, FOX News didn’t bother to include women on panelsdiscussing Hobby Lobby;
- Republican candidates dismiss their female colleagues’ perspectives as “born out of emotions”;
- GOP officials commented that the wage discrimination exists because“women are busy” and “men are better negotiators.”
- Rush Limbaugh claimed that women treat pregnancy “like a disease…and yet, they wouldn’t have the problem if they didn’t do a certain thing.”
See more highlights of missteps online here: #GOPSummerSchool
BACKGROUND ON FAILED GOP EFFORTS TO REACH OUT TO WOMEN
NRCC and Boehner Staff Instituted Sensitivity Training in for Candidates in 2013 to Discuss How to Talk to Female Constituents. According to Politico in 2013, “The National Republican Congressional Committee wants to make sure there are no Todd Akin-style gaffes next year, so it’s meeting with top aides of sitting Republicans to teach them what to say — or not to say — on the trail, especially when their boss is running against a woman. Speaker John Boehner is serious, too. His own top aides met recently with Republican staff to discuss how lawmakers should talk to female constituents.
- Boehner: “Some of Our Members Just Aren’t as Sensitive as They Ought to Be.” According to Politico in 2013, “Boehner urged his colleagues Thursday in response to this POLITICO story to ‘be a little more sensitive’ when running against women. ‘Some of our members just aren’t as sensitive as they ought to be,’ Boehner said.
- Boehner: “There Are a Lot More Females in the Democratic Caucus Than There Are in the Republican Caucus.” In December 2013, Politico reported, “Boehner (R-Ohio) said bluntly that ‘when you look around the Congress, there are a lot more females in the Democrat caucus than there are in the Republican caucus.’” [Politico, 12/5/13]
- Republican Staffer: “Let Me Put it This Way, Some of These Guys Have a Lot to Learn.” In December 2013, Politico reported, “’Let me put it this way, some of these guys have a lot to learn,’ said a Republican staffer who attended the session in Boehner’s office.” [Politico, 12/5/13]
Training Programs Came as a Result of Failed 2012 Campaigns Like that of Todd Akin, Who Uttered the Phase “Legitimate Rape.” According to Politico in 2013, “Republicans are trying to avoid a 2012 repeat. Akin dropped the phrase “legitimate rape” during the 2012 Missouri Senate race, costing himself a good shot at winning his own race and touching off Democratic charges of a GOP ‘War on Women’ that dogged Republicans in campaigns across the country.” [Politico,12/5/13]
- Trainings Followed Trent Franks Talking About Rape and Pregnancy at a Judiciary Committee Hearing, House Republicans Passing a 20-Week Abortion Ban, and Saxby Chambliss Blaming Military Sexual Assault on “Hormones.” According to Politico in 2013, “Individual Republicans have continued to give Democrats plenty of ammunition about being insensitive to women’s issues. From Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) talking about rape and pregnancy at a Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this year, to House Republicans passing a 20-week abortion ban in June, to Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) blaming military sexual assault on ‘hormones,’ there have been repeated instances where GOP lawmakers have come off as tone-deaf to female voters.” [Politico, 12/5/13]
- Trainings Followed Phil Gingrey Defending Todd Akin’s Remarks, and Saying “Non-Legitimate Rape” Could Be “a Scared-to-Death 15-Year-Old That Becomes Impregnated by Her Boyfriend and Then Has to Tell Her Parents.” According to Politico in January 2013, “On Thursday, the Georgia Republican didn’t heed that advice, telling a local Chamber of Commerce breakfast that Akin was ‘partially right’ when he said last year that a woman can stop herself from getting pregnant. ‘We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate,’’ Gingrey said. He also said that Akin’s definition of a ‘non-legitimate rape’ could be ‘a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents.’” [Politico, 1/11/13]
Former GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack Said Some House Republicans Don’t Understand the Full Range of Emotions Associated with the Abortion Debate.According to Politico in January 2013, “Former Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) questioned why Gingrey was talking about the months-old comment in the first place. ‘There’s no way to defend what Todd Akin said,’ Bono Mack said. ‘You just can’t do it and you shouldn’t try to put it into a scientific context. It was a bad statement. And to try to defend it or explain someone else’s poor choice of words, it would be a fool’s errand.’ Bono Mack, who was first elected in 1998 but lost her reelection this fall, said some House Republicans don’t understand the full range of emotions associated with the abortion debate. ‘It was my belief when I was in the Congress, and I tried to explain this to my colleagues: The abortion issue isn’t just about abortion. It’s about so much more. It’s about delving into what it means to women and what it means to Americans,’ she said. For women, it means ‘a loss of autonomy. To Americans, it means government intrusion into their lives.’” [Politico,1/11/13]
Susan B. Anthony List Held Trainings to Keep Candidates and Lawmakers From Making Controversial Comments About Women. According to Politico in January 2013, “And it may have added new urgency to a training program that’s already being launched by an anti-abortion group — the Susan B. Anthony list — to keep candidates and lawmakers from continually making the same kind of comments that may have helped ruin Republicans’ chances of winning the Senate.” [Politico, 1/11/13]
RNC Had Two Female Pollsters Survey Women to Try to Identify Their Priorities and Test Out Messaging Strategies. According to MSNBC in June 2014, “’Republicans recognize the need to win a greater share of women’s votes,’ Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski wrote in an email. So they spent three weeks having two female pollsters survey 1,206 women to try to identify their priorities and test out messaging strategies. The GOP described their effort as reactionary, describing repeatedly how the GOP is trying to ‘fight back’ against Democratic attacks against the party on women and the ‘contrived war on women’ narrative.” [MSNBC, 6/25/14]
GOP Operatives Coached Candidates to Cast Hobby Lobby Ruling as Victory for Religious Freedom and Not Appearing as Though They’re Anti-Contraception. According to the Associated Press in July 2014, “Republicans aggressively cheered the high court’s decision, but GOP leaders concede that their party must tread carefully. Even before Monday’s decision was announced, GOP operatives coached their candidates to cast the ruling as a victory for religious freedom and further evidence that the country’s health care law is deeply flawed. ‘Republicans have to be careful about not appearing as though they’re anti-contraception. This is a constitutional issue,’ said Katie Packer Gage, a GOP strategist whose firm advises Republicans on navigating women’s issues. ‘We have to be very, very cautious as a party.’” [Associated Press, 7/1/14]
- Ruling is Likely to Be Unpopular in 2014 and 2016 Among Women and Younger Voters – Two Groups the GOP Struggles to Attract. According to the Associated Press in July 2014, “The GOP for years has tried to make inroads with two groups that tend to favor Democrats: women and younger voters. As popular as the court’s decision will be with the Republican base, it’s likely to be just as unpopular this election year and into 2016 with those who depend on insurance to pay for birth control — a group that includes women and younger voters.” [Associated Press, 7/1/14]
Republicans Lost Women by 11 Percentage Points in the 2012 Presidential Election, and Lost Female Voters by Large Margins in Every Competitive Senate Race in 2012. According to Politico in 2013, “Yet the longtime “gender gap” between the parties continues to be pretty stark for the GOP. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost women to Barack Obama by 11 percentage points in the 2012 election, and the 2013 campaigns saw a similar trend. A series of recent polls show a continued double-digit lead for Democratic candidates among women, with the margin soaring to much higher levels among single female voters. The GOP — which lost female voters by large margins in every competitive Senate race in the 2012 election — also saw a 10-point increase in its unfavorability rating to among women to 63 percent, according to an October ABC/Washington Post poll.” [Politico, 12/5/13]