By: Ingrid Jacques featuring IWF President Carrie Lukas
This month marks the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in the United States, and the date that right became official — Aug. 26 — happened to fall during the Republican National Convention.
I know, I know. Donald Trump is president. And that blows the minds of women on the left — and even some on the right.
But women in 2016 used their right to vote to help elect Trump, and many more will likely do so again this November.
And that’s OK. These women shouldn’t be marginalized or belittled for voting for a candidate they believe will best stand up for their interests, regardless of whether they like the president’s personality.
Unfortunately, conservative women and minorities are often made to feel like traitors for not being in lockstep with liberals, deemed by popular culture as the only ones who really “care” about them.
It’s almost as if right-leaning women don’t even count as women. Same goes for Black and Latino Republicans. Just look at how they are portrayed by some media outlets (CNN, for example) and by Democrats.
Let’s face it. Republicans need to do a better job attracting a broader tent of voters. Although the GOP resists the kind of tokenism that Democrats love, it’s important to get more women and minorities running for office in an effort to appeal to new voters and better represent the country.
Although women are now serving in elected office in record numbers, Republican women are greatly lagging. For instance, of the 105 women serving in the U.S. House, 90 (including two delegates) are Democrats. Out of 26 women in the Senate, only nine are Republicans.
Republican African Americans in Congress are even more rare. There is only one GOP Black House member (out of 53), and one in the Senate (out of three).
There are some positive signs, however.
The largely virtual GOP convention this week has highlighted a range of diverse voices within the party, and Republicans should do more to amplify these individuals.
That includes former United Nations’ Ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
Carrie Lukas, president of the Independent Women’s Forum, has worked with Haley on different projects, and thinks she was a great choice for Republicans to showcase at the convention. But she says Haley wasn’t picked simply because of her sex. Yes, she’s a strong, powerful woman. But she’s more than that.
“She’s a fabulous advocate for America,” says Lukas.
That came through in her speech.
A daughter of immigrants from India, Haley spoke of being a “brown girl in a black and white world.” And while life was not always easy, she stressed that “America is not a racist country,” pointing to her own success in becoming the first woman and minority governor of South Carolina.
Haley spoke to the dangers of political correctness and cancel culture as well, which is often targeted at conservatives.
More:Jacques: Here come the thought police
In Scott’s speech, he also touched on the pitfalls of a “culture that cancels anything it slightly disagrees with” and powerfully spoke about his own story of how a “poor Black kid” who struggled in school could become a senator.
“We are always striving to be better,” Scott said. “We have work to do, but I believe in the goodness of America.”
Scott’s message is similar to the one coming from Michigan U.S. Senate candidate John James, a Black Republican and combat veteran who briefly addressed the convention Monday.
“America is the only country where you can go from slave to Senator in 4 generations & poverty to prosperity in 1,” James, 39, has said on Twitter.
James, like Scott, has criticized Democrats for expecting Blacks to support them. As Joe Biden riffed earlier this year, if you don’t plan on voting for him, you “ain’t Black.”
Other highlights this week included appearances by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, 34, who is Black; New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, 36, who has raised the alarm over the lack of GOP women in Congress; Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, 36, a former Navy SEAL; and Baltimore congressional candidate Kim Klacik, 38, who is Black and not afraid to call out Democrats.
These rising Republican stars are worth celebrating. And they give conservative women like myself some hope when exercising our hard-won right to vote.