The Republican Party is increasingly having a problem growing its support among women. Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel noted as much in a memo to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly nearly a year ago.

Women walked away from the party that nominated the candidate facing at least a dozen sexual assault allegations, and women are among the most visible members of the anti-Trump “resistance.” Polling suggests that the upcoming midterm elections will be brutal for the GOP when it comes to female voters. In August, nearly 60 percent of women said in a Washington Post-ABC News survey that they would back the Democratic candidate in their congressional district if the election were held that day.

A new sexual assault allegation against President Trump’s recent Supreme Court nominee probably will not help.

The Washington Post recently reported that Christine Blasey Ford, a clinical psychology professor, said Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party when both were teenagers in the Washington suburbs. Many Americans, increasingly sensitive to these types of allegations in light of the #MeToo Movement, could view this as the latest example of the GOP elevating a leader with issues with women.

In that previously mentioned Post poll, only 29 percent of women surveyed in August thought the Senate should confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. It’s hard to see that number going up in the wake of Ford’s allegation.

As voters wait to see how this situation will pan out, a particular spotlight will be on the most prominent women in the GOP. Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president and one of the most powerful women in the White House, gave a measured response that was notably different from the ones typically afforded to those whom the White House perceives as a threat.

On Monday, Conway said: “She should not be insulted; she should not be ignored; she should testify under oath, and she should do it on Capitol Hill.”

“Let me be very clear on behalf of the president with whom I’ve spoken at length about this: She should not be ignored or insulted; she should be heard,” Conway added.

And interest in the views of the Republican women in the Senate has been high, particularly the two who were seen as most likely to be swing votes on Kavanaugh even before the allegations.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R.-Alaska) said in a statement that these allegations must be taken seriously.

Despite the length of time since the alleged incident, Dr. Ford’s allegations should be heard and she must have an opportunity to present her story before the committee under oath, with Judge Kavanaugh having the opportunity to respond under oath as well.
Allegations surrounding sexual assault must be taken seriously and the Judiciary Committee must look into this further.

And Sen. Susan Collins (R.-Maine) has said she wants to hear from Kavanaugh and Ford.

McDaniel, the head of the party, like many other Republicans, has taken to questioning the timing of the release of the allegations by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, particularly Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.).

How the GOP responds moving forward will tell us whether they have taken the temperature of female voters — and if they want to make a play for them.

While some may view this case as an isolated incident, the truth is it will help tell us what has — or has not — changed since lawmakers questioned Anita Hill when she testified about her sexual harassment allegations against then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991.

Supreme Court picks are lifetime appointments. The implications of this recent story could have a long-lasting impact on the GOP’s relationship with women.