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Who Can Save The GOP From Trump? Women

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Who Can Save The GOP From Trump? Women

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Donald Trump is the kind of man women are taught to avoid.

He’s arrogant. He blusters about physical violence. Listening is not really his thing, because his mouth is usually running full steam. And, worst of all, he has a special loathing for women who are intelligent, accomplished and not deferential to him. When challenged on this, he veers to smarmy protestations that he loves women.

These are the attributes of a toxic male acquaintance, boss or leader (not to mention husband or boyfriend).

This is not to knock his current wife, Melania Trump. She is everything that Trump wants women to be: unquestioningly devoted, strikingly gorgeous and willing to have sex with him.

Unfortunately for Trump, women who do not share this profile comprise virtually the entire female electorate. And that, in turn, is a problem for the Republican Party. Women are 53 percent of all voters, and Trump has a 73 percent negative rating among those who are registered.

Two questions present themselves: How much damage is the GOP willing to let Trump do to the party’s image with women? And what can it do to stand up to him on this issue?

This week, there was a sign that Trump has reached the limit of tolerance within his party. A recent convert to the pro-life point of view, Trump made a gaffe that embarrassed the entire movement when he busted out the idea that women who have an abortion should be punished if the procedure is ever outlawed.

No, no, no, Donald. One doesn’t say such things in public. Uncharacteristically, he retracted his remarks. Even he sensed it was a blunder on the order of the musings on rape and pregnancy that sank Republican frontrunners in two 2012 Senate races.

Add that screed to The Donald’s on-going attacks on Megyn Kelly, the putdowns of Carly Fiorina and so many other women who have dared to displease him, and it is easy to imagine a cumulative effect that spells crushing defeat in the general election if he is the nominee.

So far, the men of the GOP have been subdued in their response. Note the vile scuffle between Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz over their wives. It wasn’t until Heidi Cruz was personally attacked that her husband reacted strongly and defended her, as he should.

One would imagine that at some point a cohort of leading Republican women would take a principled stand, calling out Trump for betraying the party’s supposed commitment to gender equality. But, alas, they’ve been eerily silent, apparently too fearful of crossing their party’s likely nominee.

Some, like Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia, are in re-election campaigns and may fear losing support from Trump voters. (Comstock at least had the good sense to re-gift a $3,000 Trump donation to her campaign, buying a little bit of distance from him.) What a lost opportunity to stand up to sexism!

The Democrats will not waste the opportunity.

Recall the politically charged Senate judiciary hearings in 1991 to consider the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. The nomination was controversial from the start, owing to Thomas’ positions on a range of issues. But when testimony was reopened — and televised — after disclosure of Thomas’ alleged history of sexual harassment, things exploded.

The hearings turned to belittling questions and overt displays of sexism by the panel of male senators, as they grilled Anita Hill, Thomas’ accuser, about her allegations.

Women were outraged by what they witnessed. As a direct result, they became politically motivated to increase their numbers in the Senate. The following year, four women — all Democrats — were elected to the Senate, tripling female representation in the chamber.

Women in Congress remain overwhelmingly Democrats. According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, the U.S. Congress is about 19 percent female. Of the 104 women, 76 are Democrats and only 28 are Republicans. Moreover, the women in Congress who have been given plum committee posts tend to be Democrats. In the U.S. Senate, there are there are only six Republican women, compared to 14 Democrats.

And although Republican women tend to fare well in state politics, their more moderate voices haven’t been able to make it through the increasingly conservative primary process to reach national office.

There couldn’t be a better time for women to demand a greater role — and be the voice of reason — in the GOP. They have a compelling pretext to halt a candidate who almost certainly will damage their party. And even if they cannot derail him on his path to the nomination, they may be able to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the election.

But first they must take a stand.

(Mary Sanchez is an opinion-page columnist for The Kansas City Star. Readers may write to her at: Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108-1413, or via e-mail at msanchez@kcstar.com.)

(c) 2016, THE KANSAS CITY STAR. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC

Photo: Women’s rights protesters react in gallery of the House of Representative Chambers as State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, works on the second reading of Senate Bill 5. Statesman.com, Rodolfo Gonzalez/ Associated Press) 

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Mary Sanchez

Mary Sanchez has spent years covering immigration, schools, and other volatile beats for The Kansas City Star. She is now an editorial columnist for the Star, where she continues to offer insightful commentary on immigration, culture, and politics.

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19 Comments

  1. Sand_Cat April 1, 2016

    Why would anyone in her/his right mind want to save the GOP from anything?
    Trump is truly their creature; the fact that he keeps embarrassing them by saying what they believe but won’t say is their problem, and a blessing for the country.

    Reply
  2. charleo1 April 2, 2016

    Ironic when Trump finally after months of lies finally speaks a logical truth, the women involved in what would be conspiracy to commit an illegal act, murder, as the Right to Lifers agree abortion is, must be subject to prosecution, this he is obliged to walk back.

    Reply
    1. johninPCFL April 2, 2016

      Exactly correct Charley. Just like the “war on drugs”, those at the low end will be grabbed up and incarcerated to no good end. Those with money, of course, will never face the threat.

      Reply
  3. Arie April 2, 2016

    Trump has already shown many, many times that he is totally unfit to be president. This last idiocy is just one more on a long list.
    But how about Cruz, who now seems to be the savior of the GOP? He has given his ideas much more thought, and his ideas are abolutely horrible. He is more dangerous than Trump. He is a religious fundamentalist wacko. And apart from that, he is excruciatingly irititating, in his beter moments, otherwise he is just unbearable.

    Reply
    1. plc97477 April 2, 2016

      cruz is more dangerous in that trump hasn’t a snowballs chance of winning the white house, cruz could pull it off if dems stay home as usual.

      Reply
      1. Independent1 April 2, 2016

        I’m hoping that should Cruz get the nomination, that in the weeks leading up to the election after the convention this summer (during debates or campaign stops), Cruz will show enough of his totally evil/devious side, that it will turn off even many Republican voters. There are times that the evil just seems to ooze from him – some posters describe him as being creepy!!!

        Reply
    2. dpaano April 5, 2016

      Yes, he is, but I don’t think he would have much of a chance against either Hillary or Bernie if he were the GOP nomination. He’d have LESS of a chance than Trump.

      Reply
  4. Dominick Vila April 2, 2016

    There is no doubt in my mind that most women, African Americans, and Hispanics-Latinos, prefer a Democratic candidate. Let’s face it, it is not easy to support or condone the threats and insults cast by a man who has demonstrated an absolute lack of respect for women, minorities, POWs, and towards the party whose nomination he is seeking. The question is, are they motivated enough to vote?
    That seems like a rhetorical question, especially when we consider what is at stake, including the likelihood of a Supreme Court dominated by far right ideologues willing to overturn decisions that, for most Americans, were cast in concrete, but considering our voting patterns, and the horrendous consequences of our political indifference in recent years, anything is possible.
    Unfortunately for us, and for our country, both Trump’s and Cruz’ supporters are very motivated, disciplined, and most will vote, regardless of who their eventual nominee happens to be.

    Reply
    1. Independent1 April 2, 2016

      Here’s a relevant story from NewsMax that you may find of interest (according to the NewsMax article – the growth in Republican supporters for Trump is being offset with large numbers of totally irate Democrats):

      Donald Trump Is Motivating Democrats in a Huge Way, Poll Says

      http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/poll-trump-energizing-democrats/2016/04/02/id/721998/#ixzz44iiPw2Jx

      Reply
      1. Dominick Vila April 3, 2016

        Thank you for the link. Trump’s rhetoric, especially his offensive comments against women, ethnic minorities, and American Muslims, have energized those constituencies.
        Unfortunately, his rhetoric has also convinced large numbers of blue collar white males, registered as Democrats, to support his candidacy.
        The fact that a man running for the nomination of the Republican party, a party known for its anti-labor, pro business policies, and the party most responsible for the outsourcing of jobs, enjoys so much popularity in that segment of our population suggest that his appeal is based on other things. Millions of Americans are convinced that our socio-economic problems are caused by illegal immigrants, especially those who speak Spanish. That all Muslims are terrorists and a threat to the USA, and that the rise of women to positions of authority is a threat to their ability to impose their will and control the agenda.
        It remains to be seen how many blue collar Democrats switch party affiliation and vote for Trump, but there is no question that this is an issue that should concern Democrats.

        Reply
        1. dpaano April 5, 2016

          Of course some men are going to vote for a man over a woman no matter what their party might be…..some men are not brave enough or are too intimidated to admit that a woman may be able to do the job as well….or even allow them the chance. We can only hope that there are white color males and some very intelligent blue collar men who will do the right thing and vote for Hillary or Bernie. We can’t afford another 4 years of a Republican president…..the last one almost took us to the brink of a Depression with his unpaid-for wars, tax cuts, and the prescription drug program that he failed to pay for (and President Obama got stuck with). We need to continue along the positive path that our current president has forged for us….go FORWARD and not BACKWARD!!!

          Reply
    2. dpaano April 5, 2016

      Have you ever noticed in the past elections…..any GOP candidate (female) who ran for presidency has ended up dropping out very early in the game? Interesting that they can’t find ONE woman that they can support.

      Reply
      1. Dominick Vila April 5, 2016

        ..and they do everything they can to derail the candidacies of female Democrats as well, often holding them to different standards or making them look like criminals, without a shred of evidence suggesting they broke any laws.

        Reply
    3. dpaano April 5, 2016

      I think we women will be out in droves to vote this time around…..there’s NO way we’re going to allow either of the GOP candidates to get into the White House and cause the chaos that they are promising to cause!! So, womenkind….PLEASE get out and vote this year and don’t let our voices once again NOT be heard!!! We have to stand up, speak up, and vote!

      Reply
      1. Dominick Vila April 5, 2016

        I hope so!

        Reply
  5. itsfun April 2, 2016

    It sure is nice of the author to tell the GOP how to succeed.

    Reply
    1. dpaano April 5, 2016

      Gee, someone has to…..they’ve apparently totally lost their way and are on their way out the door!

      Reply
      1. itsfun April 5, 2016

        The GOP may just be breaking down the doors.

        Reply
  6. Aaron_of_Portsmouth April 3, 2016

    Too many elements in America and in the rest of the world suffer from a fundamental inability to see what has been a universal truth from the moment of creation—that is, that women and men are as “the two wings of the ‘bird of humanity’ ” from a Baha’i perspective. That this has not been realized in everyday practice from the beginning of humankind’s existence was due to the immaturity of humans and the nature of early human societies. Therefore, men were “granted” the right to lead and be in the forefront in matters of governance, decision-making, and the day-to-day functioning of society—yet the equality of women and men was always a reality.

    (Note: Equality does not necessarily mean “the same functions” , e.g., women are given the priority of being “the first educators” of children—not men. And therefore, priority of education should go to the girl when family funds for education are limited, according to Baha’u’llah’s injunction, an injunction announced in the 19th century in a Muslim milieu of Iran and intended to be put in practice world-wide[are you listening, my Saudi, Iranian, and Taliban friends?] ).

    But in this era, since the advent of the mid-nineteenth century, a new pattern has to be established which puts this reality of the equality of women and men front and center. No longer is it permissible for men to strut about as though they, and they alone, know what’s best for all.

    So, when the Donald(and anyone else) demeans women, especially in as egregious and shameless a manner as we’ve recently witnessed, it shows a degree of crassness that’s detrimental to all in America and elsewhere, and shows an profound ignorance of the imperative for the “bird of humanity” to fly correctly. This can’t be achieved if one wing is constantly abused, denigrated, and treated as inferior.

    We would do ourselves a favor by helping the other “wing” to exert its influence, thereby assisting humanity as a whole. Women can save not only the GOP from itself, but they can bring sanity, strength, and clarity of vision to all of humanity.

    Reply

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