The Times-Tribune

GOP ceding suburbia by ignoring core issues

Republican women rank health care and equal pay among top issues and value honesty and collaborat­ion among leaders.

- BY SARAH CHAMBERLAI­N GUEST COLUMNIST

Last week’s election results spell out a trend that’s escalated from red flag to crisis point for the Republican Party.

Not that we should be surprised.

This is a fire we have seen slowly materializ­ing before our eyes. The recent election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressio­nal District is a perfect example. What should have been a landslide victory resulted in Republican Dan Bishop barely squeaking by, losing a historical­ly

GOP suburban area, Mecklenbur­g County, in the process.

Now five different states are setting off five alarm fires.

Middle America’s historical­ly bellwether seats in Hamilton County, Indiana, and St. Louis County, Missouri, shifted blue for the first time in decades.

While Republican­s managed to hang on down ballot, Kentucky’s gubernator­ial was an unmitigate­d disaster. Gov. Matt Bevin lost Jefferson County, the most populous in the commonweal­th, by a staggering 100,000 votes; that’s triple the number of ballots the GOP lost by in 2016. Campbell, Kenton, and Boone counties, suburban Kentucky mainstays that make up 10% of the population, all voted blue too. Even coal county Democrats went home after voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidenti­al election.

Also, Virginia, a historical­ly purple state, now burns bright blue. For the first time in 25 years, Democrats will have full control of the statehouse and the power to redistrict Virginia into a Democratic stronghold for at least the next 10 years.

A blue wave flooded suburban Pennsylvan­ia. The Bucks County commission­ers board is occupied by two Democrats and one Republican for the first time since 1983 and in Delaware County all five seats on the Delaware County Council, a historical­ly Republican bastion since the Civil War, turned left.

Why the suburban backlash? Put simply, the Republican Party no longer knows the suburban voter. Much like our country as a whole, suburban America looks different than it did 50 years ago and kitchen-table issues have evolved. Republican Main Street Partnershi­p identified this problem back 2017.

When the Women2wome­n Conversati­ons Tour was conducted, we sat down with hundreds of suburban women in nine cities across the United States, giving them a chance to speak and tell us the biggest issues they face. This data has been shared far and wide.

Health care is the No. 1 concern of suburban women and issues like equal pay and paid child care continue to outrank more topline news like immigratio­n and the environmen­t.

Perhaps even more telling is that a majority of the suburban women we talk to value honesty and collaborat­ion in their leaders. With this in mind, our party must rise above the politicall­y motivated fray that may consume headlines but do not resonate in the suburban areas we need most. Our party must urgently address these issues by working across the aisle to reach meaningful, commonsens­e solutions if we are to have any hope of returning to the majority in the near future.

This is an abrupt clarion call to the GOP: Stop fighting and start fixing. We need to get our house in order or it will burn down around us.

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Sarah Chamberlai­n is the founder of the WOMEN2WOME­N Conversati­on Tour and the Oresident and CEO of the Reoublican Main Street Partnershi­o, Washington, D.C.
CHAMBERLAI­N Sarah Chamberlai­n is the founder of the WOMEN2WOME­N Conversati­on Tour and the Oresident and CEO of the Reoublican Main Street Partnershi­o, Washington, D.C.

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