The Republican Party and Women in Politics

Last summer, as a part of our commitment to promoting a more inclusive democracy, Democracy Fund Voice partnered with Echelon Insights to better understand the views and values that drive Republicans to support or oppose female candidates. To better inform our strategies to support women considering a run for public office, we began by digging in to questions like, “Do Republicans think there is a problem with the number of female Republicans who are elected to office? Why or why not?” and “What remedies, if any, would Republicans support in order to boost the number of Republican women in office?”

Key findings from the research include:

  • Republican leaders vary greatly in their views on candidate recruitment, but most felt it is the role of party leaders to encourage people to become more active in the party.
  • Republican leaders have reservations about women-focused recruitment efforts, and prefer to focus on qualifications for the position rather than differences in identity.
  • Republican voters acknowledge women face unique challenges on the campaign trail.
  • Republican voters see family commitments and attacks from the media as deterrents and key reasons fewer women run or are elected as Republicans.

There were two phases of this research. Phase 1 began with sixteen in-depth interviews of Republican Party leaders across the country during the Summer of 2018. States included AR, AZ, CO, DC, KY, IL, MD, NC, ND, OH, PA, TX, VA, and VT. Phase 2 included both a pre-election and a post-election survey of N = 500 Republican registered voters nationwide. These interviews were conducted via a blend of live phone interviews and online interviews.

Please download a PDF of the pre-election toplines and/or post-election toplines to learn more.

Law Works Education Fund

Type of Activity: Project Grant.
Grantee: Law Works Education Fund
Amount: $200,000 over a six-month period.

What is Law Works Education Fund?

Law Works Education Fund, a fiscally sponsored project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501(c)4 social welfare organization, engages bipartisan voices in advocacy and educating the public on the importance of the rule of law, democratic norms, independent law enforcement entities, and the integrity of our legal institutions.

Why do we think this project is a good idea?

Democracy Fund Voice believes that the rule of law, checks and balances, and a strong and trusted judiciary are essential features of our democratic system. The Law Works Education Fund works with partners in the legal, judicial, national security, and law enforcement communities, as well as current and former elected and appointed officials from both sides of the aisle, to communicate the importance of these concepts to the American people. By mobilizing these champions for the rule of law, Law Works Education Fund is helping defend our institutions within all three branches of government and the foundational system of checks and balances that holds our leaders accountable.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Law Works Education Fund?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a six-month grant to the Law Works Education Fund in the amount of up to $200,000 for 2018.



Connecting Constituents to Representatives through Research and Development with Fireside 21

What is Fireside 21?

Just as President Franklin D. Roosevelt connected with individual citizens via radio with his “Fireside chat” broadcasts, Fireside 21 believes politicians in the 21st century can similarly build close relationships with constituents using the latest technologies and strategies. With the help of our grant, Fireside 21 will research and develop a constituent relationship management (CRM) software machine that seeks to improve the efficiency of congressional client offices to process email constituent communications. This is currently deployed in 150 offices of the House of Representatives.

Why do we think this project is a good idea?

Members of Congress receive record numbers of constituent engagement every day. It becomes difficult for congressional staffers to manage the flood of mail, which decreases the potential response and action congressional members can make. Fireside 21 has spent the last 10 years working on a fresh approach to how technology can be adopted by Congressional members for improved civic engagement. Efficiency among congressional offices through better technological advances can aid in providing not only better communications, but increased for political action to take place.


How is Voice supporting Demand Progress Action?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a one-year grant to Fireside 21 Demand Progress Action in the amount of up to $100,000 for 2017-2018.

Defending Democracy Together

Type of Activity: General Operating and Project Grant.
Grantee: Defending Democracy Together
Amounts: Up to $500,000 over one year. Up to $100,000 over one year.

What is Defending Democracy Together?

Defending Democracy Together is a new 501(c)4 organization for conservatives committed to defending democracy and preserving the rule of law — well-established values rooted in the Constitution of the United States.

Why do we think this organization is important?

Democracy Fund Voice is committed to supporting voices across the political spectrum who stand up for our democratic norms and institutions. We believe that checks and balances and the rule of law are essential features of our constitutional system that help protect against abuses of power. Defending Democracy Together works to create space for conservatives to voice support to defend democratic norms, institutions, and ideals based on a constitutional and moral mandate. Founded by Bill Kristol, Sarah Longwell, Linda Chavez, and Mona Charen, Defending Democracy Together pursues its mission by creating campaigns and coalitions such as Republicans for the Rule of Law.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Defending Democracy Together?

In 2018, Democracy Fund Voice approved two grants to Defending Democracy Together: first in the amount of up to $100,000 over one year and then in the amount of up to $500,000 over one year.

Bipartisan State Representative Networks

Type of Activity: Grant
Grantee: Bridge Alliance
Amount: Up to $90,000 over one year

What is Bridge Alliance?

Bridge Alliance, a bipartisan organization, is a growing movement of more than 80 civic action organizations working individually and together to transform the political terrain by putting country before self-interest. Bridge Alliance provides essential infrastructure and investment for their member organizations to connect and collaborate on projects that further shared goals and generate collective impact.

Why do we think this organization is important?

The political landscape of state legislatures tells an underlying story of lack of bipartisan cooperation, hyper-partisanship, and party polarization. Americans often feel forced to vote against candidates rather than for a candidate that truly represents them. Bridge Alliance works to find common ground between political parties to ensure a government that is of, by, and for the people.

With the help of our grant, Bridge Alliance will work to strengthen bipartisan, generational relationships among Millennial Action Project’s State Future Caucus Network members and among other networks in the field. This relationship and network building will help identify, seize upon, and amplify opportunities for bipartisan conversations in all 50 states. The impact of this national program will be measured by participant feedback, changes in process, and a tenor of civility achieved by state legislative leaders.

How is Voice supporting Bridge Alliance?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a one year grant to Bridge Alliance in the amount of up to $90,000 for 2017-2018.

Implementing Policy Change for Government Accountability

Type of Activity: Grant
Grantee: Demand Progress Action
Amount: Up to $200,000 over two years

What is Demand Progress Action?

Demand Progress Action, a fiscally-sponsored project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, is a charitable organization with two million affiliated activists focused on civil liberties and government reform-related issues. Demand Progress Action works to implement policy changes that keep the federal government accountable and support institutional reform.

Why do we think this project is a good idea?

At a time when few civil society organizations lobby on issues relating to congressional capacity, Demand Progress Action has emerged as a leader in helping Congress become a more resilient and functional 21st-century institution. Demand Progress Action helps Congress make sense of the complex set of impediments that hold back its ability to innovate and hamper its legislative capacity. A modernized and more functional Congress can develop stronger policy solutions to the challenges facing the American people.

Democracy Fund Voice will provide support to Demand Progress Action to advocate for congressional rules changes and legislation to strengthen congressional offices’ policymaking abilities and allow for technological innovation that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Congressional staff. With the help of our grant, Demand Progress Action will be able to track all hearings, markups, and legislation related to congressional capacity, deepen relationships with congressional leadership, lobby new measures supporting Congress’s ability to do its job, and build upon existing coalitions to support grassroots mobilization.

How is Voice supporting Demand Progress Action?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant to Demand Progress Action in the amount of up to $200,000 for 2017-2018.

United to Protect Democracy

Type of Activity: Grant
Grantee: United to Protect Democracy
Amount: Up to $200,000 over two years

What is United to Protect Democracy?

United to Protect Democracy is a new organization working to preserve constitutional checks and balances, and hold the Executive Branch accountable for ethical violations and abuses of power. It advances its mission through advocacy, lobbying, and public interest litigation.

Why do we think this organization is important?

United to Protect Democracy’s priorities focus on areas that pose the most significant threats to democracy, such as preventing the politicization of independent institutions and maintaining the constitutional balance of powers among the executive branch, Congress, judiciary, and the individual states.

How is Voice supporting United to Protect Democracy?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant to United to Protect Democracy in the amount of up to $200,000 for 2017-2018.

American Institutions Network

Type of Activity: Grant
Grantee:  R Street Institute
Amount: Up to $320,000 over two years

What is the American Institutions Network?

The American Institutions Network project, based at the R Street Institute, is an ideologically diverse network of civil society organizations and individuals committed to strengthening our constitutional system of checks and balances.

Why do we think this project is important?

The American Institutions Network has the potential to be a key element in civil society’s response to constitutional crises that may arise. As a bipartisan network of organizations and individuals, it will be well-situated to come together to educate Congress and the public about threats that may be posed to our system of checks and balances.

How is Voice supporting the American Institutions Network?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant to R Street Institute of up to $320,000 for 2017-2018 to facilitate expansion and coordination of the American Institutions Network.

Advocacy for Good Governance

Type of Activity: Advocacy Grant.
Grantee: Bipartisan Policy Center Advocacy Network, Inc.
Amount: Up to $150,000 in 2016 – 2017.

What is the Commission on Political Reform?

The Commission on Political Reform was launched by the sister organization of the Bipartisan Policy Center Advocacy Network (the Bipartisan Policy Center) in 2013 to investigate the causes and consequences of America’s partisan political divide and to advocate for specific reforms that will improve the political process in a polarized atmosphere. The Commission proposed 24 recommendations to strengthen the electoral process, the process by which Congress legislates and manages its own affairs, and the ability of Americans to plug into the nation’s civic life through public service.  These reforms and solutions, championed by both ends of the political spectrum, include reinvigorating the central role of the congressional committee and reestablishing bipartisan interpersonal contact.

Why do we think this is a good idea?

We believe that bringing together a coalition of organizations to support bipartisan political reform can increase the likelihood and the impact of those reforms. BPCAN is uniquely positioned to develop and implement a strategy for this work because of its powerful voice in congressional bipartisan policy. They will promote an ongoing conversation about how to overcome political divides and make our government work better.

How is DFV supporting BPCAN?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a one year grant to the Bipartisan Policy Center Advocacy Network in the amount of up to $150,000 in 2016-2017 to facilitate coordination with other organizations advocating for recommendations of the Commission on Political Reform and other congressional reforms.

Joint Committee on a Modern Congress

Type of Activity: Advocacy Grant
Grantee: The Congressional Institute
Amount: Up to $339,000 in 2015 – 2017

What is the Congressional Institute?

Founded in 1987, the Congressional Institute is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to helping Members of Congress better serve their constituents, and help their constituents better understand the operations of the national legislature. The Institute sponsors major conferences for the benefit of Members of the U.S. Congress as well as a number of smaller gatherings, all devoted to an examination of important policy issues and strategic planning.

The Congressional Institute’s latest project, the Joint Committee on a Modern Congress, encourages Congress to convene a bipartisan commission on procedural reform to restore confidence and comity in the legislative process. The project has recommended procedural changes that are the result of months of discussions and collaboration among several organizations dedicated to the effective operation of the Congress.

Why do we think the Joint Committee on a Modern Congress project is a good idea?

The bipartisan Commission on Political Reform recently found that “Congress is simply not performing the job it is required to do—passing budgets, responsibly managing the nation’s finances, making the decisions necessary to ensure that government functions at a basic level of efficiency.” Congressional job approval has dropped to near record lows following ongoing gridlock that has damaged the institution’s reputation with the American people.

The Congressional Institute’s efforts to establish a bipartisan venue through which our Congress can identify and adopt measures to improve the legislature branch’s ability to fulfill its core responsibilities represents an important opportunity to restore public confidence in our governance process.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting The Congressional Institute project?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant to the Congressional Institute in the amount of up to $339,000 in 2015 to support efforts to advocate for the establishment of an ad hoc Joint Committee on a Modern Congress to make recommendations on the organization of the Congress, its processes and procedures, and the behavioral patterns that currently drive congressional action.