“We need more women in office,” has been a call-to-action in politics over the past several years. The 2018 midterm elections exemplified this. But the sentiment should be amended to state, “We need more liberal women in office,” because the very same people screaming this line the loudest are the ones blatantly excluding right-wing women.
The recent treatment of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a Republican representing the 21st District in New York, is a great example. Stefanik is the youngest Republican woman to be elected to Congress, and is the only woman among the Republican members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).
In fact, it is in the context of the HPSCI that she has become a working example of the lack of support shown to women who are elected as Republicans. Over the past week, Stefanik has been subjected to sexist comments, along with ridiculous remarks based on her politics. Here are a couple of examples:
Wow. @EliseStefanik helped Matthew Dowd write a book while she was a student @Harvard and Dowd "thanks" her years later by writing a sexist tweet saying the she only got elected to Congress because she is a millennial woman. https://t.co/hG4yJNyabg— Tim Cameron (@TimCameron) November 13, 2019
The comments themselves are a separate issue, but in a culture that seems to be all about supporting women, the lack of response is questionable. Where is the outrage over this in major media? Where are the women on the left who, based on their own comments, should be standing up and condemning these remarks directed at a female politician? After all, if you really were determined to see more women in office, that would include ALL women.
Stefanik is certainly not an isolated example. Here in Iowa, attitudes toward Governor Kim Reynolds and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst reveal this. On a national level, I think of the disdain shown towards people like Nikki Haley.
Is a bias toward your political ideology wrong? Of course not. I love seeing women getting elected into office, but I’m not going to vote for a woman on the left whom I highly disagree with over a man that shares my views.
What IS wrong is pretending your call-to-action is solely based on gender, and then choosing to exclude people who don’t have the “right” political beliefs. It’s a false premise, absolutely misleading. If your goal is to simply see more women in elected office, yet you shun and criticize women who don’t perfectly agree with you, then you are lying about your goal.
So let’s stop pretending that there is a national push for women in office, and instead realize that there is a push for women with the “right” political beliefs to be in office. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to see people you agree with elected into office, but blatantly excluding a group of people while pretending you want their success is ridiculous.