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GOP Congressman Tom Emmer's "Women Problem"

House GOP Committee Chair Congressman Tom Emmer—“It’s a ‘Mistake’ to Help More Republican Women Win Their Primaries” December 9, 2018

Label the GOP the “anti-education” party. Even after losing control of the House in the 11/06/2018 midterm, when Democrats flipped 40 “Red” seats “Blue,” too many Republicans don’t want to examine and learn what really happened. They still have not come to grips with one “ y uu ge” fact-- Demagogue Donald was super-toxic to women. According to CNN, in Campaign 2018, Democrats won the women’s vote for Congress by 19 points, 59%-40%, the largest margin seen in midterm exit polls. Two-thirds of women voters younger than 30 voted for “Team Blue (Boxer & Guskin, 11/07/18, washingtonpost.com).” The AP reported that at least 99 women were running for House seats. After the midterm, a record number of women were headed for the “People’s House.” In 1/2019, House Democrats will have 89 women serving in the 116th Congress. GOPers, however, will only have 13, 10 fewer than they had in 2018. The result? 90% of House GOPers will be white men who only make up 31% of the U.S. population. “Team Blue’s” House membership will look more like the real America (See washingtonpost.com, Boxer & Guskin, shareblue.com, Martin, D., 12/06/18).

The GOP has one big “women’s problem,” from misogynist-in-chief Donald on down. GOPers are hostile to contraception and the right to have an abortion. They want to gut Planned Parenthood. Too many GOPers ignored the sexual assault allegations levelled against Supreme Court nominee, now Justice Brett Kavanaugh (See shareblue.com, Martin, D., 12/06/18). In fact, most GOPers backed accused child molester Roy Moore. GOP Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently told the Wall Street Journal CEO Council that Dem. Doug Jones’ victory over Republican Roy Moore (for a U.S. Senate seat) was “the Alabama mistake in 2017 (shareblue.com, Martin, 12/06/18).” One of the few remaining GOP Congresswoman, Elise Stefanik (R-NY) stated that she wanted to use party money and endorsements to help more Republican women win their primaries. She also urged GOPers to conduct a formal assessment, read, post-mortem, of their midterm effort (shareblue.com, Maratin, 12/06/18, nytimes.com, Martin, J., 12/02/18). Most GOPers disagree. They are afraid to go against Demagogue Donald’s rabid base and are more thrilled by their Senate victories in basically rural “Red” States. And this is the response to Cong. Stefanik from GOP Cong. Tom Emmer. Emmer dismissed this idea of worrying about the optics of a heavily white male GOP caucus and pushing for more GOP emphasis on getting women candidates. In Emmer’s words, “I think (such outreach) that’s a mistake. It shouldn’t be just based on looking for a specific set of ingredients—gender, race, religion (shareblue.com, Martin, 11/06/18).” Get it? Women are “ingredients” one dumps into a pie. Emmer is no GOP backbencher. He was just elected, unopposed, to head the NRCC, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the group that picks and helps finance GOP congressional hopefuls. Prior to his election as NRCC chair, Emmer had served as a deputy NRCC chair (nrcc.org, Collins, 11/14/18, rollcall.com, 11/14/18). Who is new GOP leader, Cong. Emmer?

Third-term GOP Congressman Tom Emmer (57) currently represents MN’s 6th Congressional District (CD). The MN 6th is a suburban and exurban area north of St. Paul and Minneapolis. It includes most or all of Benton, Carver, Sherburne, Stearns, Wright, Anoka, and Washington Counties. The 6th contains the cities of St. Cloud and Blaine. Agriculture is an economic mainstay in the 6th with corn and soybeans raised west of the Minneapolis area. Northern Benton County is largely agrarian. Financial and professional services are found in the Gopher State 6th. St. Cloud has companies including ING Direct, Xcel Energy, and Gold N’ Plump poultry (Barone & CQ 14 Almanacs).

Although the 1990’s and 2000’s brought Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Somali immigrants, the 6th CD is the second-least diverse MN district. Less than 10% of the 6th’s residents are minorities. The eastern half of St. Cloud-based Stearns County, a heavily German-Catholic area, is an anti-abortion stronghold. Benton County also has many people with German-Catholic roots. Politically, the 6th is solidly GOP with a 4/2017 R+12 Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) score. From 2007-2015, Tea Party extremist and zany 2012 presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was this district’s Congresswoman. In 2012, the 6th gave Mitt Romney a 15% win over Obama, his largest MN margin. In 2016, Donald clobbered Hillary by 26 points (Pres. Election Results).

Tom Emmer’s great-grandfather founded Emmer Brothers Lumber in 1910, now called Viking Products LLC (vikingforest.com). A native of South Bend, Indiana, Tom Emmer moved to Edina, MN where he attended St. Thomas Academy, an all-male Catholic military school in Mendota Heights, near St. Paul. He attended Boston College and graduated from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks in 1984. He received a law degree from St. Paul, MN’s William Mitchell College of Law (emmer.house.gov, 12/11/12, tomemmer.com). He served as a member of the Independence and Delano City Councils (leg.state.mn). In 2004, Emmer handily won election to the MN House of Representatives and was easily re-elected in 2006 and 2008 (ourcampaigns.com, 2004, 2006, 2008). In 2010, Emmer ran for Governor of MN. He was endorsed by Sarah Palin and MN GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He lost to Democrat Mark Dayton (startribune.com, 12/08/10). After his gubernatorial loss, Emmer became a registered MN lobbyist. He co-hosted a talk radio program on KTLK in Minneapolis (startribune.com, 2/14/11). After Cong. Bachmann did not run in 2014, Emmer, whose state district included a large part of the 6th ‘s western portion, easily won the general election by 17.9 points. He coasted to re-election in both 2016 and 2018 by margins of 31.3 % and 22% (MN Election Results, 2014 & 2016, CQ 116th Cong. Early Election Guide).

In both his state and federal legislative offices, Emmer was a perfect ideological heir to extremist Bachmann. He is pro-life from conception to birth (startribune.com, Stassen-Berger, R., 5/03/10). In the state legislature, Emmer voted against a bill to sell any product containing the toxic Bisphenol-A (Austin, P., startribune.com, 10/06/10). Emmer voted against anti-bullying legislation. In a debate, he stated he would oppose legislation to combat school bullying against gays and lesbians (Hoppin, J., twinciities.com, 10/0910). Emmer sponsored a bill that would have shortened the period of license revocation for driving under the influence and refusing to take a sobriety test. At age 20, Emmer himself had pleaded to driving under the influence. He denied that his history had anything to do with his bill (Hegelson, B., 4/22/2010, startribune.com). In 2005, he introduced an amendment to eliminate MN’s minimum wage (Bakst, Brian, 7/14/10, businessweek.com). He supported a “conscience clause” to allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense contraceptives on “ethical, moral, or legal grounds (house.leg.state.mn, Emmer press release, 3/09/06).” He supported a constitutional amendment banning civil recognition of same-sex marriage. In 3/2007, he introduced an amendment to the MN Constitution “recognizing marriage as only a union between one man and one woman. MN voters rejected this proposal (revisor.mn.gov). Emmer sponsored an amendment to the MN Constitution that would allow the state to nullify federal laws (tpmdc., Kleefeld, E., 6/22/10). He opposed tax increases and wanted to reduce the state corporate tax with the goal of eventually abolishing it (emmerforgovernor.com). He stated he was in favor of allowing businesses to subtract tips from a server’s hourly wages (startribune.com, Crosby, J., 7/05/10).

In the 115th Cong., (2017-2018), Rep. Emmer voted with fellow wacko TX GOP Cong. Louie Gohmert 91% of the time (projects.propublica.org). Emmer enthusiastically backed Donald from 5/2016 on with no hesitation. Cong. Emmer was the only MN GOPer to go to the GOP Convention in Cleveland. At that convention, where Donald was nominated, he sat in Trump’s luxury box (Brodey, S., 12/12/16, minnpost.com). He has voted with Demagogue Donald 89% of the time (projects.fivethirtyeight.com). He voted in 5/2017 to support then GOP Cong. Tom MacArthur’s amendment to gut Obamacare, which, fortunately, died in the Senate. He supported Donald’s 2017 executive order to bar immigration from seven majority Muslim countries. He argued that there was no religious test involved in this order (denverpost.com, Blake, A., 1/29/17). Cong. Emmer voted for Donald’s top 1% anti-middle- class tax cut (seeprojects.fivethirtyeight.com). Anti-regulatory right-wing Koch Industries is very pleased with Cong. Emmer’s record. In 2014 and in 2018, they gave him $5,000 and $7,000 respectively (opensecrets.org, 2014, prwatch.org, 2018).

In view of his entire record, we should not at all be surprised that Cong. Emmer is tone-deaf about women’s role in the GOP or about women in general. He comes from a “safe” Trump district seat and, therefore, doesn’t know or doesn’t think this issue is that crucial to his party’s success (Seerollcall.com, 11/14/18). According to former National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) chair Tom Cole (R-OK), Emmer will be working under the command of incoming GOP Minority Leader CA Cong. Kevin McCarthy (rollcall.com). McCarthy too has shown poor judgment when GOP women are involved. He passed over St. Louis suburban MO GOP Cong. Ann Wagner to help Emmer get his post. Indiana GOP Congresswoman Susan Brooks also lost her post on the steering committee, a major position which controls committee assignments, to a male colleague. Outgoing FL Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen believes that any GOP talk of “outreach” to women will last “only for a NY minute (nytimes.com, Martin, J., 12/02/18).” You get the idea.

Democrats, unlike GOPers, understand the strength and power of women and strongly support their concerns. Democrats, unlike GOPers, study what happened in previous elections and try to learn from their mistakes. Emmer’s “Blue” counterpart is incoming DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) chair Cheri Bustos (D-IL). She won her 2018 race by 24 points in a Midwest area that Trump carried in 2016. She understands that Democrats must emphasize their appeal to working families to be competitive. She plans to do that while supporting women’s issues (See Strahler, chicagobusiness.com, 12/03/18). In 2020, Bustos wants to help re-elect the 31 first-term 2018 Democrats who came from Trump districts. At the same time, she plans to go after more rural voters (Strahler). Let the GOP continue its insensitive attitude toward women. Democrats will keep representing women, the middle-class, and the majority of the nation who voted for them in record-breaking numbers in 2018, a 9.6 million margin (Wasserman@Redistrict, 12/03/18, Drew @RussOnPolitics, 12/03/18).

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