Elle: These women are teaching republican candidates how to talk to women

Mattie Kahn

On this, little boys and the women of Burning Glass Consulting agree: It’s hard to talk to girls. But, lately, it seems not even local elementary schoolers are as likely to strike out as Republican politicians.

In December 2014, Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin proposed a bill that would require a woman seeking an abortion to receive signed permission from “the father of the unborn child.” Except, he added, in the event of a “legitimate rape.” In God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, which Mike Huckabee published in January, the former Arkansas governor described Beyoncé lyrics as “obnoxious and toxic mental poison” and wondered whether Jay-Z had crossed the line from husband to pimp for “exploiting his wife as a sex object.” In February, Rand Paul reminded everyone of their worst ex-boyfriends when he “shushed” CNBC anchor Kelly Evans, telling her to “calm down” in the middle of a tense interview.

Your neighborhood bully could do better. Longtime political operatives Katie Packer Gage, Ashley O’Connor, and Christine Matthews know it. In 2013, the trio joined forces to establish Burning Glass Consulting. The firm is the first of its kind—a strategy outfit designed to help Republican candidates win over female voters. And its founders—two of whom worked for Mitt Romney during his run for president in 2012—want to correct the mistakes that have undone conservative campaigns in the past.

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