Will Nehring’s Paternalism Appeal to California Women?

Will Nehring’s Paternalism Appeal to California Women?

Followers of Ron Nehring’s campaign for Lt. Governor were treated to a sneak peak of his first (and apparently only) advertisement of his campaign two weeks ago. The ad features a diverse group of women stating that under Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome’s illegal drug reform plan “more women will be addicted to drugs… You can’t be pro-woman and be pro more women addicted to drugs.”

The ad is remarkable in a number of respects. First, it is shocking that given all the obstacles that big government has created for California’s prosperity, Mr. Nehring has chosen to emphasize an issue for which he believes we need more government. It should be easy for a Republican to draw a stark contrast with San Francisco liberal Gavin Newsome on the role of government in our lives. As we used to say in the military, attacking a big government liberal like Gavin Newsome presents “a target rich environment” for any conservative. On the other hand, trying to draw a contrast with Mr. Newsome by advocating for more government is very difficult – yet Mr. Nehring has succeeded.

The other reason the ad is remarkable is its apparent endorsement of the Democrats “war on women” myth. The only way that drug abuse is a gendered issue is if Mr. Nehring believes women are more vulnerable to it than men. I’m not optimistic that Mr. Nehring’s paternalism is going to win women voters to the GOP cause. If anything the ad comes across as condescending. Are women to believe, that but for Mr. Nehring’s chivalrous use of the Lt. Governor’s office, their “daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends” are destined to start using drugs?

The strength of the Republican Party is that it is a party of principles whereas the Democratic Party is a party of identities. While conservative principles of limited government are beneficial to all demographics, the Democratic Party will always have a ceiling on its support as it tries to cobble together a coalition based on descriptive characteristics. I applaud Mr. Nehring for attempting to broaden the Party’s appeal with female voters. I just wish he had done it by showing how limited government helps women entrepreneurs or mothers who are trying to balance the family checkbook, rather than suggesting they are dependent upon more government for their welfare.

Mr. Nehring is a political professional and has been in politics his entire adult life. He has been a loyal foot soldier for the political establishment his entire career. His familiarity with the political process makes me reluctant to question his tactics in this race. But I do fear that this advertisement indicates that Mr. Nehring believes the path forward for California Republicans is to embrace big government and identity politics. As the Republican candidate in the race, Mr. Nehring has my full support against Gavin Newsom and I hope that if elected he will govern according to conservative principles. I just lament that his campaign missed an opportunity to espouse those principles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *