A group of Republican women — dissatisfied with their party’s choice of President Donald Trump and its retrograde policies toward women — is hoping the change the GOP from within.
According to Slate.com, Republican Women for Progress (RWFP) began as a pro-Hillary Clinton group, Republican Women for Hillary. It re-branded itself as RWFP in May with a rooftop launch party and an agenda that de-emphasizes social issues as the core mission of the GOP in hopes of making the party more palatable to young people.
Co-founder Meghan Milloy told Slate’s Christina Cauterucci that the group aspires to be “an EMILY’s List for the reasonable Republican woman.” EMILY’s List is a 30-plus year old political action committee (PAC) that prepares Democratic, pro-choice women candidates to run for office.
When Cauterucci asked Milloy what “reasonable” means, Milloy replied, “Not being an a**hole, basically.”
RWFP sees the Republican Party’s embrace of Trump-ism as a bad bet in the long haul in that he is wildly unpopular among young people. Some women in the group are pro-choice, others are not. Many support LGBTQ rights and believe that the image of the Republican Party as being old, white, male and bigoted as its main impediment to long-term viability.
Many of the women in RWFP, like co-founder Jennifer Pierotti Lim, were appalled to see the party they have belonged to all of their lives favor tribalism over competence, electing a rank amateur to the White House rather than allow it to fall into a woman’s hands.
“Every day, I think Hillary Clinton should have been president,” says Lim. “There were a number of policy areas I didn’t agree with her on, but when it came to biggest faults of Trump — national security and trade policy and general adeptness at being a leader — Hillary came out far ahead.”
“We kind of want to rewind to, I guess, if there ever was an era of the moderate Republican that really does care about small business and the middle class, and wants to grow the economy, and isn’t focused on wedge issues,” said Milloy.
Cauterucci wrote that for now, RWFP hopes to function as “a hybrid think tank and civic participation club, releasing in-depth policy analysis and helping women get involved in politics as advocates or candidates.”
The women value moderate Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska as role models for a GOP that is reasonable, practical and believes in good governing.
“(W)e learned through the campaign was there were so many Republican women who felt the same way as us, who felt so disconnected from the party and didn’t agree with the direction the party was going,” said Lim.
The women hope they can turn the party back from what they view as a course destined for extinction. The Republican Party must modernize if it hopes to survive.
However, Lim said, “If Trump is elected a second time, that would make it pretty hard to think we could bring the Republican Party back.”
A second Trump term, she said, could drive her out of the Republican Party altogether, in spite of her years of allegiance.
“You do have to draw a line somewhere,” she said to Slate. “It’s hard to even know where that line is these days.”