"I know that I can't support Donald Trump, after working so hard for Carly." said a conservative Republican woman at a program I attended recently. "Whatever he is or has, Trump is simply obnoxious to women. I can't see supporting any of these other so-called conservative Republicans, most probably will find a way to support Hillary."
Donald Trump has a simple formula: Spew out increasingly offensive and demeaning insults and accusations. The media gives him around-the-clock free media. His polls soar. Begin again.
But there are some indicators that one group may be reaching their limit with this formula. Republican and independent women may have had enough and could be key to Hillary winning the White House. The thinking is that Trump's current coalition in the primaries relies heavily on male voters -- especially less-educated men. The female vote is less important in Republican primaries and a candidate who appeals mostly to working-class males can emerge. However, as one approaches the general election, the up to 50% of the GOP primary vote represented by women will become crucial.
Furthermore, because women are expected to make up 52 - 54% of the overall electorate in the general election, no Republican candidate can afford to lose ground among female voters.
At the end of December 2015, a Rasmussen poll showed that men prefer Trump over Clinton by a 41% to 31% margin, while women prefer Clinton by a similar 42% to 31% margin. Interestingly, voters under 40 give Clinton a 39% to 27% edge over Trump, while middle-aged voters are evenly divided between the two.
Nancy Dwight, a former National Republican Congressional Committee executive director was quoted in USA Today stating that women voters are likely to recoil over Trump's contention that the former first lady was an "enabler" of her husband's liaisons, including his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky..."She was as aghast by her husband's behavior as the rest of us," she said of Hillary Clinton.
"It's a distraction," said Donna Sytek, a former speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives and former state GOP chair. "We should be talking about the debt and security and any number of other things," she said.
My guess is that these Republican woman have read or heard about Trump's decades of misogynist words and deeds. A few cases and quotes on point:
1. Trump's Rabid Distrust for Women. "Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. ...I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye -- or perhaps another body part." (Trump: The Art of the Comeback, 1997)
2. Trump's Concept of a Woman's Place. "For a man to be successful he needs support at home ... not someone who is always griping and bitching." (Trump: The Art of the Comeback, 1997)
3. Trump and Modern Maternity. When a lawyer facing Trump in a 2011 deposition asked for a break to pump breast milk for her infant daughter, "He got up, his face got red, he shook his finger at me and he screamed, 'You're disgusting, you're disgusting,' and he ran out," attorney Elizabeth Beck told CNN.
4. Trump on Sexual Assaults in the Military. Twitter, May 7, 2013, 7:04 pm. "26,000 unreported sexual assults in the military---only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?"
5. Words. "My favorite part [of 'Pulp Fiction'] is when Sam has his gun out in the diner and he tells the guy to tell his girlfriend to shut up. Tell that bitch to be cool. Say: 'Bitch be cool.' I love those lines." (TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald, 2005)
There could not be a starker difference between Trump and Hillary Clinton on the subject of women and equality.
1. First Student Commencement Speaker at Wellesley. Clinton was the first student to speak at her all-girls Wellesley college graduation. Excerpts of her speech that were reprinted in LIFE magazine reported her saying that politics are the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible, especially when it comes to an equal playing field for women.
2. First Breadwinner. After Bill Clinton was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1978, Hillary became the First Family breadwinner, and in 1980, the First Mom of the State. During that time, Hillary became the first female board member of Walmart and co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families to improve medical and educational facilities for the poor.
3. First Lady as Advocate for Women. Two and a half years into her role as First Lady of the United States, Hillary increased her efforts for gender equality with a then-controversial speech to 47,000 delegates at the United Nation's Fourth World Conference on Women. She called out societies that do not respect and honor their women, denying them opportunities to participate in their communities. "Every woman deserves the chance to realize her own God-given potential... Women's rights are human rights once and for all."
4. First Senator. In 2000, Hillary became the first wife of a President to be elected to national office, by a solid margin. In doing so, Hillary became the first female U.S. Senator from New York.
5. 18,000,000 Votes. In 2008, Hillary earned more votes and delegates than any other woman who had ever run for president. In her concession speech Hillary said, "Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it."
6. Activist Secretary of State. During her four years heading the State Department, Hillary constantly emphasized the link between women's empowerment and foreign policy priorities such as economic development or extremist movements. She appointed the first-ever Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues at the State Department; oversaw the creation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security; and introduced the Global Health Initiative (GHI), investing $ 63 billion to help partner countries provide robust maternal and infant health services. Female ambassadors from foreign countries reached their all time highest numbers.
As Gallup polls showed after the last Presidential election in 2012, Republicans do not have one female vote to give up. President Barack Obama won the two-party vote among female voters in the 2012 election by 12 points, 56% to 44%, over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. In fact, women have favored the Democratic candidate in each of the last six elections.
"If I have to pick between the two, and Trump's doing this, it makes him look like this misogynous jerk," said Jamie Steider, a human resources director from Annandale, Va., as quoted in USA Today. "There's no way I will vote Republican if Trump's the nominee."
Her friend, Christina Bowman, a military wife from Cheyenne, Wyoming summed it up: "Hillary's the lesser of two evils, and usually, I would vote to the conservative side."