The GOP's secret weapon: Single mothers

Is the GOP ready to make single mothers a primary target for the White House in 2016? Photo: AP

NEW YORK, March 23, 2013 — Today’s GOP is overwhelmingly white and male. According to many critics, the party is antagonistic towards issues important to the LGBT community, African Americans, women, Hispanics and other groups. Simply put, it’s believed that if you are female, a minority, or live an alternative lifestyle, there’s no room for you in today’s GOP.

If you are in the GOP and are labeled a progressive, libertarian, moderate or “rino” (someone willing to be seen in public agreeing with a Democrat), it seems there’s no room for you either. There are two conventional wisdoms in the GOP: one that says the focus should be on minority outreach, and one that says the Republican Party will be saved by “moderation.”

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As we’ve recently seen with CPAC, there is some racial and ethnic diversity in the GOP, for instance with the likes of Senator Marco Rubio, who recently gave a speech in English and Spanish, or the soft-spoken Louisiana State Governor Bobbie Jindal, who by many has been referred to as the GOP’s conscience. Both Rubio and Jindal gave significant speeches about the economy, the youth vote and addressing where the GOP will go in the future. However, the terms “diversity” and “minority” don’t apply to just ethnicity, but to gender.

As the Republican National Committee attempts to change course and create a party that actually mirrors society, we should ask whether the focus remains mostly on men. At CPAC, of the many potential candidates for the Presidency, few real references were made to possible female hopefuls as our first female head of state. With women and gender issues being the elephant in the room, why aren’t women – and more importantly, mothers – being brought to the table?

In the last Presidential election, women strongly favored President Obama, who made reproductive rights seem almost more important to his campaign than the economy. In 2008, political strategists observed that Republican candidate John McCain narrowly defeated Barack Obama among men, but lost the female vote by 56-43 percent. Worse for the GOP, women were 53 percent of the voters. The predominance of female voters continued in 2012.

As we’ve seen through inner-city statistics, 52 percent of minority women on average give birth to children out of wedlock, and many are raising children on their own without support from their children’s fathers. Sadly, the “father figure” in many of these relationships has been social benefits acquired from the federal government. If GOP lawmakers seek to minimize the number of years that single mothers can collect a check, then it’s conservative lawmakers’ responsibility to propose alternatives. It’s not enough to say that Democratic programs foster dependency and that we must break that cycle. Opportunity doesn’t just magically appear; those who are poor and poorly educated sometimes need some help finding or recognizing it.

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Republicans should start talking about ways to find, recognize, and seize job opportunities: night schooling, certification and vocational programs, work incentives and daycare options for single mothers. The single mother crisis in America has become quite complex, but the GOP is absolutely right to want mothers to not be dependent on government. Solutions are possible that match the GOP’s goal to make single mothers self-supporting. Furthermore, this effort has two-fold benefits for Republicans: It provides an opportunity for Republican lawmakers to actually help women achieve a measure of independence; and it helps expand the appeal of the GOP brand in a group that is not traditionally Republican.

In America, the “single mother” phenomenon revolves around the lack of family and social support for single parents, a gap that Democrats have exploited ruthlessly to create a dependent class. Fighting this could help local and state officials who are swamped by the huge demands on tightly limited budgets, and it would diminish the coerced reliance on government assistance. The GOP may consider sparking this effort with some of the $10 million investment RNC Chairman Priebus recently announced for minority outreach nationwide. Women are a group that might really respond to this sort of effort.

Read More of Brandon Brice and Common Sense Conservative

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