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The Brief: Texas Republican women feel alienated from their party

Republican women throughout the state say they feel alienated after recent comments by presidential nominee Donald Trump and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, leaving some to wonder what place they have in the party.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in his office in Austin, Sept. 14, 2016.

The Big Story

The release of a 2005 clip where Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump can be heard speaking lewdly about women, followed by a Tuesday tweet from Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s account that appeared to call Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton the c-word, have left many Texas Republican women saying they no longer feel welcome in their party. Here’s what many female consultants, lobbyists, activists and aspiring politicians are saying about the GOP's future:

•  Trump’s tone and recent comments made by Texas congressmen have the potential to run off an entire generation of the party's female talent pool, according to several women with strong ties to the party in Texas. "I can’t believe [Miller] even employs anybody who would post such a thing if he didn’t do it himself. Is everybody just so desensitized by the barrage of gutter-level talk that they don’t recognize it anymore?,” said Elizabeth Ames Coleman, a former Texas Railroad Commission chairwoman who also served in the Texas House.

•  Some Texas GOP women say they wonder if Trump, combined with a lack of women in positions of power in the party, is normalizing this sort of language. Most of those contacted by the Tribune noted that the number of GOP women running for office in Texas has been declining for years, which means male officeholders often have few female equals to challenge them on their behavior.

•  For the 2016 presidential election, some say the alienation within their own party has caused them to vote elsewhere. Some interviewed said they were considering voting for independent candidate Evan McMullin or other write-in candidates — or even for Clinton. In the future, none of the women interviewed said they are considering joining the Democratic Party, but several suggested they would follow the lead of McMullin’s campaign and explore building a new party.

Tribune Today

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What We're Reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

McCaul: Clinton's email actions amount to 'treason', Washington Examiner 

New polls show Trump's lead growing in Texas, The Dallas Morning News

Report: Number of immigrants working illegally in U.S. flattens to 8 million, Houston Chronicle 

Top Senate Republican: 'Premature' to talk about Hillary Clinton impeachment, CNN

Experts expected to file foster care reform plan, Houston Chronicle

Today in TribTalk

"Unfortunately, instead of driving a discussion of how immigration policy can be improved to continue strengthening our country and economy, hyperbole and assumptions — not facts — have turned immigration into a wedge issue in this presidential race."

— Joseph Kopser, entrepreneur and veteran 

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke on Nov. 4 at The Austin Club 

•   Live Post-Election TribCast on Nov. 9 at The Austin Club 

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville

•   A Symposium Previewing the 85th Legislature on Nov. 29 at The University of Texas - Texas Union Ballroom

•   A Conversation with Michael K. Young, President of Texas A&M University on Dec. 1 at The Austin Club

•   San Antonio & the Legislature: A Preview of the 85th on Dec. 2 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus

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