For some conservative women eyeing the Senate race in Alabama, the ultimate women's issue right now is the GOP tax plan.
Republican nominee Roy Moore's favorability numbers are declining among women in the state as reports of the former judge behaving inappropriately with teenage girls continue to dominate headlines. But despite public opinion moving increasingly in the direction of siding with women when they make allegations of sexual harassment and assault, there has been an uptick in the number of GOP women who have publicly said they are supporting Moore.
When Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, was asked on Fox News Channel on Monday about Moore, who is facing multiple allegations of being inappropriate with teenage girls, including sexual assault, she pivoted to the tax plan.
The Trump aide discussed the race on “Fox and Friends”:
Conway: [Democratic nominee] Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal, which is why he is not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him.
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade: So, vote Roy Moore?
Conway: I'm telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through.
Fox & Friends host: "So, vote Roy Moore?"
Kellyanne Conway: "I'm telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through." pic.twitter.com/27pyaCx3um
— David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) November 20, 2017
Conway, the first woman to manage a winning presidential campaign, isn't the only Republican woman focused on what Moore joining the Senate could do in terms of the GOP's economic agenda more than the allegations involving minors.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) said Friday that she plans to vote for the GOP nominee although she said she has “no reason to disbelieve” the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.
“I will cast my ballot on December the 12,” she told reporters. “And I do believe that the nominee of the party is the one I will vote for.”
“We need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on the things like Supreme Court justices,” Ivey added.
And Ann Eubank, chair of Alabama Legislative Watchdogs, was among dozens of women who gathered at the Alabama state Capitol on Friday to argue that voting against Moore would be devastating for the state and the country.
“A Democrat must not be seated,” she said. “If these accusers are not telling the truth and if Roy Moore is defeated, Alabama is the victim. If a far-left, liberal Democrat Doug Jones is elected, America is the victim.”
This approach to next month's race mirrors the 2016 presidential campaign in many ways. While Hillary Clinton and others opposing Trump's candidacy frequently attacked his policies affecting women in addition to his past statements and behavior with women, the economy was one of the top issues for voters in 2016, including for women. The overwhelming majority — 90 percent — of Trump supporters said the economy was a “very important” issue for them, according to the Pew Research Center.
The majority — 61 percent — of white women without a college degree supported Trump, as did sizable percentages — 45 percent — of white college-educated women, according to Five Thirty-Eight. And many of them were white evangelical Christian women who could not embrace Clinton's belief that abortion is a women's issue.
Speaking at a post-election conference at the Harvard Kennedy School, Conway said women and other Trump supporters didn't allow Trump's offensive comments about women to sway them.
“Voters were being told constantly, 'Stare at this, care about this, make this the dealbreaker once and for all,' " she said. “And they were told that five or six times a week about different things. And yet they went, they voted the way voters have always voted: on things that affect them, not just things that offend them.”
And many women planning to vote in the Alabama Senate race seem poised to take the same approach. For them, sending a lawmaker to Washington who could support a tax plan that GOP leaders say will benefit the American people is the correct move — even if that lawmaker is accused of inappropriately touching a 14-year-old girl in her underwear and bruising the neck of a 16-year-old girl while forcing her head into his lap, both when he was in his 30s.
However, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Alabama voters may be taking a bit of a risk by assuming that a vote for the GOP tax plan is in their best interest. According to the non-profit, non-partisan research organization, nearly half -- 48 percent -- of the federal tax cuts would go to the richest five percent of Alabama residents.