A growing number of prominent Republican women are worried that as members of their male-dominated party step up to defend Donald Trump against accusations of sexual assault, they are causing irreparable damage to the GOP’s deteriorating relationship with female voters.
Trump has faced questions throughout his campaign about his crass comments about women, but concern escalated this month following the release of a 2005 video in which Trump boasted that he had sexually assaulted women and subsequent allegations by 11 women that Trump had inappropriately touched or kissed them. A series of mostly male Republicans have come to Trump’s defense — dismissing the accusers as liars and, some worry, further alienating the female voters that the party desperately needs to survive.
“For next-generation professional women, the party is going to have to do something very, very drastic to change the course of where this candidate has taken us,” said Katie Packer, a deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012. “I think the leaders in our party are going to have to aggressively reject this. Come November 9, they better be prepared to make very strong statements condemning all of Trump’s behavior.”
This division within the Republican Party comes as polls suggest the nation is on the verge of electing its first female president even as misogyny remains a part of American life and culture. Ironically, it is Trump’s candidacy rather than Hillary Clinton’s that has brought sexism to the forefront of political debate.
Finally! It’s about time the problem was seen by all women. Non-GOP women have always recognized that there was a war on women. This issue became very apparent when various issues involving reproductive rights were in the forefront. There was great denial amongst Republican males. “War on women?” they scoffed. “Nonsense!” Then numerous reasons were given to negate when we knew.
GOP women now see instance after instance of disrespect shown to women, starting with the trashing of Megyn Kelly,and on to the fat-shaming of Miss Universe. They heard the famous bus genital-grabbing remarks with their own two ears. The bad behavior has been verified by 11 women who stepped forward so far to discuss in detail, their own personal experiences with Mr. Trump. They also see men who so far have refused to denounce much of the personal behavior of the GOP candidate. These same women also see many other examples of creepy behavior far too numerous to list that just shouldn’t be acceptable in the year 2016.
Listening to leadership as well as Trump supporters minimize or deny allegations of sexism and misogyny has made GOP women nervous. It has made them realize there really is a war on women. In 2016, we shouldn’t even be having these conversations. Yet alas, we still are.