A Republican congressional candidate went on Fox News Wednesday to highlight the large number of women from her party running in 2020. Her rationale: Women can now vote based on their fiscal conservatism because social issues are no longer a concern for anyone.
Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee (R) is running to challenge Rep. Brad Schneider (D) next November in the Illinois 10th Congressional District. With Republicans making up less than one-sixth of the record number of women serving in the 116th Congress, the GOP has been attempting to emphasize the women running in 2020 at various levels of government.
Despite the many polls showing women now increasingly and overwhelmingly leaning Democratic, Ramirez Mukherjee said on Wednesday that — after two and a half decades — women are no longer hiding their Republican views because social issues are no longer a factor.
“When I first got involved in politics at UC Berkeley, we went into hiding. Our country fought over social issues and that divided us as a country and as a party,” she said.
“Over the last 25 years, I feel we have started to resolve those social discussions and we are shifting to the fiscal side,” she continued. “As a woman, as a mom, a business woman, someone who runs my household, the fiscal is what I care so deeply about, other women like me, Republican women like me finally are gonna have a chance to come out and say I am a ‘Republican too.’”
Social issues, of course, remain a huge deal. Numerous Republican-led state legislatures have enacted legislation just this year seeking to ban virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.
The Trump administration has also worked tirelessly to strip rights from LGBTQ Americans, sought to impose a ban on Muslim people entering the country, fought against equal pay legislation, and shrugged at both the #MeToo movement to stop sexual predation and the troubling rise in white supremacist violence.
Ramirez Mukherjee’s campaign website does not currently have any issues section and makes no mention of any of these topics.
Later in the interview, she echoed the popular Republican talking-point that “identity politics” are a bad thing — before attempting to make her own identity a campaign selling point.
“I‘ve always, my whole life, have been careful to [n]ever play identity politics,” she claimed, “because up until, I would say I was in my low 30s, I didn’t see a difference in who I was based on a woman or someone else being a man or being Mexican-American. I judged myself always on performance. But when you say why do we want more women at the table? It’s because it gives a perspective.”
Ramirez Mukherjee then contradicted her claim that social issues no longer matter, saying, “The topics we are talking about around reproductive health, around family, around education, around safety, climate — those are things that I feel someone that has a different background, a different professional background, comes from somewhere else. It gives a perspective that others don’t have at the table currently.”