If 2010 is the year of the pro-life woman, 2016 should be the year of the smart “mommy blogger”—because, if the GOP wants to ensure its own long term success, today’s politically-inclined mommy bloggers will likely become tomorrow’s candidates.
Sarah Palin’s popularity is proof that the conservative grassroots are ready and eager to rally around a female candidate from outside the Beltway. And, if the tea party movement continues strong, chances are good that one of today’s young, politically savvy mommy bloggers will be the next decade’s conservative champion.
While the stereotypical mommy blogger is better known for her potty-training rants than for her politics, an increasing number are intelligent, well-educated former professionals who left the full-time workforce in order to raise their children. Advertisers are beginning to realize that moms are among the web’s most influential demographics, and, thanks to factors like the tea party movement, Sarah Palin, and the rise of digital activism, moms are finding it easier than ever to put this newfound influence to use. Sure, some only blog about their families, but many offer a good mix of the personal and political—and they’re not afraid to act on their political opinions. The popularity of mommy blogger gatherings like the BlogHer Conventions proves that they’re willing to learn how to write and act more effectively for a good cause, and it likely wouldn’t be difficult for existing conservative training organizations like the Leadership Institute to expand their recruiting efforts to include conservative moms who blog. Imagine the impact Sarah Palin might have today if she’d spent the past decade learning the ideas and methods that can make or break a leader—and imagine the candidates the GOP might have in ten years if it started training smart, conservative mommy bloggers today.
The digital world provides a unique place for these women, whose unpredictable schedules and need to be centered in one physical space are perfectly suited to online interaction. They also care deeply about the social issues that have kept conservatives and liberals squabbling for decades. This interest is far from idle or theoretical, and they tend to be well-informed about issues that may affect them and their families—a combination that makes them ideal potential activists. While it is difficult to determine whether the “mommy-blogosphere” skews left or right, we do know that online moms are a force to be reckoned withand that their influence will continue to grow.
Mommy bloggers are, in other words, exactly what the Republican Party needs. As Ben Domenech writes,
Traditionally, one of the biggest reasons conservatives have a male-dominated Chamber of Commerce and local sports hero representation in the lower chamber is that they have a hard time finding female candidates for higher office. This is not because there are insufficient conservative women — as you may know, the gender gap is really just an example of the expanded racial gap than anything else (white women voted for McCain by a margin of 53-46) — but it’s because conservative and especially Christian women tend to choose to abandon their careers, or shift to part time work, the instant they have kids.
This is not a bad choice for them, and probably a good one for their families, but it’s one that deprives the GOP of a lot of very good candidates — a situation which is only becoming more challenging for Republicans as women overwhelmingly surpass men in educational achievement.
My thought, then, was that if Republicans were smart, in every district where they find a Democrat who has a 60+ edge, and the GOP has no obviously active candidates or farm team members in need of some seasoning, a general rule ought to be: run a Smart Mom.
Domenech is right, but I’d like to push his suggestion a step further: Republicans should not only recruit “Smart Moms” for 2012, but should develop a more long-term strategy of incorporating them into the ranks of the GOP elite. Now is the time to identify and develop the smart mom bloggers whose involvement in the grassrootscan help prepare them to run for office in 5-10 years. It’s a long term strategy with minimal investment and enormous potential.
Many of today’s mommy bloggers are too young and too busy raising families to run for office, but that won’t be true for long. It’s not too early to think about helping them become candidates in the future. Additionally, as advertisers are discovering, online moms are an enticingly untapped resource. Thanks in part to the recent surge in popular pro-life female candidates, there’s never been a better time for homemakers to weigh in on online political debates—and there’s no better time for them to prepare to be the GOP’s next best weapon in a few years when their children are grown.’