The gender gap has long been the bane of the GOP. Women in general have turned against the Republican Party, especially African-American women and younger single women. While the GOP has consistently done very well with white men, winning that demographic overwhelmingly for as long as I have been voting, the gender gap has kept the GOP from achieving the dominance that some have long predicted.

The soccer moms played a crucial role in propelling Bill ClintonBill ClintonGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Lawmakers, pick up the ball on health care and reform Medicaid The art of the small deal MORE to two triumphs in the 1990s, just as the security moms played an equally crucial role in the two Bush victories in 2000 and 2004. White women proved to be the critical voting bloc for Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight Iran's president warns US will pay 'high cost' if Trump ditches nuclear deal MORE in 2008, as John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate's defense authorization would set cyber doctrine Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE’s cowboy-themed maverick just didn’t click with the chicks.

The Tea Party hasn’t been particularly kind to Republican women, although of course, they love Sarah Palin. Palin polls poorly among female voters, especially more affluent and educated white female voters, and all too often, Republican female candidates don’t hold up to Tea Party scrutiny. Dede Scozzafava, the losing Republican candidate in the New York House seat, is but one example of a female candidate who wasn’t conservative enough in the eyes of the GOP/Tea Party base (despite being the choice of the GOP establishment), and she was basically run out of town.

But if the latest polls can be believed, that might be starting to change.

In California, two white females are looking like they are going to beat back challenges from the right and win their party’s nominations for the Senate and governorship. In South Carolina, another woman is closing fast to replace Mark Sanford, despite an ugly campaign that includes charges of adultery and all kinds of other malfeasance. In Nevada, two women are the front-runners to take on Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE. And more Republican women are poised to win nominations in the House than at any other time in our national history.

Democrats broke the glass ceiling in 2006 by electing the first female Speaker of the House in history. Then in 2008, they unceremoniously dumped their front-runner for president, who happened to be a woman, and gave the nomination to an inexperienced African-American man with a funny last name. Many thought that by failing to nominate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain MORE, who was clearly more qualified to be president than Barack Hussein Obama, the Democrats took two huge steps back in the fight for female equality.

Democratic female officeholders tend to make a bigger deal out of their gender than Republican female officeholders. They tend to wrap themselves in the pro-choice flag, they tend to stress children’s issues, and they like to focus on the warm-and-fuzzies.

Republican female officeholders tend to play down their gender. If they are pro-choice, they don’t make a big deal out of it, but they tend to be pro-life. They focus on business issues and oppose government expansion. They also tend to portray themselves as reformers, because, obviously, their gender distances them from the old boys’ clubs that dot state capitols around the country.

That is certainly the case with Palin, and it seems also to be the case with Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina and, in South Carolina, Nikki Haley. Sharron Angle, who looks like she will win in the Nevada primary, also fits the bill.

This is a good development for Republicans. Having pro-business, pro-reform Republican women running and winning from east to west may very well be the way that the GOP can recapture control of the Senate, win critical governorships and rebrand the party to close the gender gap for the foreseeable future.