Juan Williams: The GOP's worsening problem with women

Take a look at the most telling Republican quotes on women from the last three years:

“Such a nasty woman!” — then-candidate Donald Trump describing his opponent Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonElise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 Russian pop star linked to Trump Tower meeting cancels US tour Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies MORE during the 2016 campaign.

“Nevertheless, she persisted.” — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Senate GOP eyes 'nuclear option' for Trump nominees next week Taiwan’s President Tsai should be invited to address Congress MORE (R-Ky.) in 2017, explaining why he stopped Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Dems seize on MLK Day for campaign messaging Kamala Harris staffer mocks O'Reilly for saying Harris 'lost' his vote for president Kamala Harris announces presidential campaign MORE (D-Mass.) from saying anything more in a debate on the Senate floor.

And, for 2018, the winner emerged just this month:

“NEWSFLASH. I wasn’t asking for permission.”

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That’s Rep. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikElise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 Latest funding bill to reopen the government fails in House GOP maps out early 2020 strategy to retake House MORE (R-N.Y.) firing back on Twitter after the new chief of the House GOP’s campaign committee — a man — said she made a “mistake” by calling on the GOP to recruit more women to run for Congress in 2020.

Keep in mind that the House GOP caucus is more than 90 percent male. When the 116th Congress convenes in January, Stefanik will be one of just 13 Republican women in the House, the lowest number in 20 years.

It is hard to ignore the contrast with Democrats.

There will be 89 Democratic women in the House next year — 35 newly elected in the midterms, including the first two Muslim congresswomen and the first two Native American congresswomen. The GOP has only one woman in an overwhelmingly white freshman class.

But Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerElise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 GOP maps out early 2020 strategy to retake House Steve King faces new storm over remarks about white supremacy MORE (R-Minn.), the campaign chairman, complained Stefanik was playing identity politics based on “gender, race and religion,” instead of looking for the best candidate.

Some Republican women sided with Stefanik.

Rep. Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackLamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee Juan Williams: The GOP's worsening problem with women How to reform the federal electric vehicle tax credit MORE (R-Tenn.) said Emmer “is wrong on this one.”

And in an interview with The Hill, retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenYoder, Messer land on K Street Ex-GOP lawmaker from Washington joins lobbying firm Black Caucus sees power grow with new Democratic majority MORE (R-Fla.) said flatly, “Wake up, dudes!”

“I encourage our party leaders to be more aggressive in seeking out and helping younger candidates, female candidates and candidates of color," she added.

The Trump Party’s problem with women got worse last week when Speaker-designate Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiElise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 Our legislators must commit to making children a priority Dreamer: Dems 'should absolutely not' take Trump's immigration deal MORE (D-Calif.) held her ground in a face-to-face confrontation with the president.

He tried to “mansplain” by saying she was still looking for support in her caucus to be elected as Speaker and therefore did not have the power to make a deal in any negotiation over funding for a border wall.

She did not back down, telling Trump he was out of line to question her ability to speak for House Democrats.

In the Senate, the Republican problem with women is only slightly better than it is in the House.

Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstTrump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  McConnell: Senate will not recess if government still shutdown Barr calls for 'barrier system' on border MORE (R-Iowa) was recently chosen by her colleagues to serve as vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference, giving a woman a seat at the table in Senate GOP leadership for the first time in eight years.

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But Ernst’s rise can’t hide the reality: Of 24 female senators next year, just seven will be Republican, even though the GOP has a 53-member majority.

After Arizona Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyMark Kelly considering Senate bid as Arizona Dems circle McSally Schumer recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat On The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions MORE (R) lost her bid for a Senate seat — to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema — McSally’s campaign strategists detailed how Trump’s toxicity among female voters contributed to her loss.

“In internal polling during the primary, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE never broke 80% favorability among Republican voters. A certain segment of [Arizona] Republicans was outright hostile to President Trump, and was against the Kavanaugh appointment,” read a post-mortem memo obtained by The Washington Post.

In fact, female voters nationwide favored Democrats by 19 points according to exit polls, while male voters favored Republicans by four points — a 23-point gender gap.

The problem is Trump, and it goes back to his win in the 2016 election.

According to the 2016 exit polls, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton carried all female voters by 13 points over Trump in 2016 — though Trump won white women by 9 points.

Keep in mind this was after the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced, on which Trump boasted about grabbing women’s genitals.

An American University/Benenson Strategy Group poll released this month found that 71 percent of white suburban women were “concerned” about the way Trump speaks about women.

The poll found 60 percent of female voters view Trump unfavorably. And perhaps most challenging for the president’s reelection hopes, almost two-thirds of independent female voters view him unfavorably.

Trump’s supporters are heavily male but among women who still self-identify as Republican, 55 percent said they agree with Trump on important issues.

Those women are among the small but stable base of about 40 percent of voters who support Trump. The problem for the GOP is the growing number of women who are independents or Democrats. They are moving away from him.

In the age of Trump, Republican strategists know the party’s lack of support from women spells trouble for 2020 and beyond.

Democratic strategists argue support from female voters — especially minority women — is at the heart of the party’s future.

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand2020 Dems seize on MLK Day for campaign messaging Kamala Harris staffer mocks O'Reilly for saying Harris 'lost' his vote for president Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE (D-N.Y.), was ridiculed by conservatives earlier this month for tweeting, “Our future is: Female Intersectional Powered by our belief in one another. And we’re just getting started.”

They can make fun of her talk about “intersectional” issues. But political analysts from every point on the political spectrum can see Gillibrand is right about the rising political power of female voters.

Wake up, dudes. Seriously.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel. His latest book, "'What the Hell Do You Have to Lose?' — Trump's War on Civil Rights" is out now, published by Public Affairs Books.