The Right Needs a Position on Gender and Family

With midterm elections now complete, the 2020 presidential election is officially underway. Shortly after the coming New Year, the activity will commence from the political Left, as candidates enter the race, staking out positions and pursuing demographics to build momentum behind their campaigns. Historically, winning the party nomination has been achieved by promoting more extreme positions, with a move to the center later required to attract the independent voters deciding general elections. We’ll see if such remains true.

While the economy, healthcare, and immigration are likely to be issues, the process itself will thrust additional topics into the spotlight. Given the 2016 election and the zeitgeist of the American Left, gender and family are extremely likely to be prioritized. So, what are each party’s stances on these topics?

The Left has clearly defined its positions on gender and family. The next Women’s March will undeniably be aligned with the Left, and will feature a host of gender-based marketing slogans. Indeed, likely 2020 candidate Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) recently staked out her territory, tweeting: “Our Future is Female.” She’ll be far from the only candidate vying for the intersectional feminist vote.

In education, programs to advance girls in S.T.E.M (science, technology, engineering and math) will be discussed as will early education programs aimed at cleansing boys of their “toxic masculinity.” For gender issues being adjudicated, “Believe Women” will be promoted to revise existing judicial cornerstones of due process and innocent until proven guilty. Regarding family, the Left is likely to repeat the words of both Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, who called single mothers “heroines.” Fathers won’t be mentioned.

These are far more than slogans however, enjoying cohesiveness between politicians, significant funding, and a host of well-organized advocacy groups, universities and feminist organizations who are, quite literally, marching in lock step to advance this gender-based agenda.

The positions of the Right are far less defined, current, and cohesive.

In response to “the future is female,” New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz wrote, “Boys are falling off a cliff, and we’re not doing anything to stop it.” She elaborated: “Fewer boys go to college. The number of men out of the workforce has spiked. More men commit suicide. More men live at home with their parents into their 30s than ever. If the present is male, boys sure don’t seem to know it.” If the Right has proposed policies aimed at helping America’s boys, they’re simply not being communicated.

While it took the Kavanaugh nomination to elevate the Right's concern with due process, the mothers’ group F.A.C.E. (Families Advocating for Campus Equality) has had to work tirelessly to ensure others receive the due process they feel their sons didn’t get during college campus sexual abuse investigations.

Regarding family, in a recent conversation with Ben Shapiro, Tucker Carlson said, “Conservatives go on, and have for generations, about how important the family is. They don’t mean it at all.” Historically, the Right has attempted to stem the increasing tide of fatherlessness by “promoting marriage.” This spending undeniably failed. While many Right-leaning publications decry fatherlessness, when asked what initiatives their party is pursuing to address the issue, they have no response.

Historically, the best public policy has advanced through a process of debate, with beliefs being scrapped or refined along the way, so it's difficult to see how we’re currently advancing the best gender-based policies given the disparity in the preparedness of the two parties to discuss these issues. Given the commitment to advance these policies by the Left, it’s foolish to believe they will simply go away.

While there's nothing wrong with advocating for America’s girls, government, education, and social organizations are ignoring a demographic comprising roughly half of our children: American boys. Surely, we can formulate public policy to address the unique needs of all children, not just half.

Being a leader requires courage whereas being a politician requires none. Who is the elected official on the Right who will defend an agenda that includes helping boys achieve in education, reversing fatherlessness, diminishing male suicide, and addressing the other issues boys will face as they grow? It’s time for the Right to develop and update their policies on gender and family, and then let the debate begin.

Terry Brennan (@TerryBrennan211) is a co-founder of Leading Women for Shared Parenting, an international child advocacy group.