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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 ClintonBiden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader Clinton says it meant 'great deal' to hold inauguration weeks after riot MORE during the 2016 campaign.

“Nevertheless, she persisted.” — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism MORE (R-Ky.) in 2017, explaining why he stopped Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Top Senate Democrat backs waiver for Biden Pentagon nominee Consumer bureau director resigns after Biden's inauguration 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 StefanikWyoming county votes to censure Liz Cheney for Trump impeachment vote Stefanik knocks Albany newspaper over 'childless' characterization GOP divided over Liz Cheney's future 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 EmmerGOP at crossroads after Capitol siege Wave of companies cut off donations — much of it to GOP California was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success 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 BlackBottom line Overnight Health Care: Anti-abortion Democrats take heat from party | More states sue Purdue over opioid epidemic | 1 in 4 in poll say high costs led them to skip medical care Lamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee MORE (R-Tenn.) said Emmer “is wrong on this one.”

And in an interview with The Hill, retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenBottom line Democrats elect Meeks as first Black Foreign Affairs chairman House Hispanic Republicans welcome four new members 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 PelosiGOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer placed on administrative leave: reports Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden taps career civil servants to acting posts at State, USAID, UN 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 ErnstSenate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Democrats torn on impeachment trial timing GOP senator questions constitutionality of an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office 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 McSallyCindy McCain on possible GOP censure: 'I think I'm going to make T-shirts' Arizona state GOP moves to censure Cindy McCain, Jeff Flake Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed 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 TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds 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 GillibrandDemocrats torn on impeachment trial timing OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: 12 removed from National Guard inauguration security | Austin backs lifting transgender ban Biden Pentagon pick supports lifting transgender military ban 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.