On Monday night, in the midst of some self-delusional word vomit, Donald Trump ― the presidential candidate who has approximately zero regard for facts ― stumbled upon one nugget of truth: He is completely clueless about women.
During a campaign rally in North Carolina, the GOP nominee bragged about how much (white) men love him and admitted he wasn’t quite sure what was up with the lady voters:
Fifty percent of our country is men, where I am doing very, very well, record-setting numbers, folks. That’s the good news. Let me give you the bad news. The women, I don’t know what is going on with the women here, but I think, I think I’m doing well with the women.
Let’s be clear: Trump is not “doing well with the women.”
The gender gap between Trump and soon-to-be-official Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton last month was a record 24.4 points. And despite his attempts to pander to millennial women by way of his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump ― who gave a speech at the RNC last week talking up policies that are nowhere to be found in the GOP platform and lie in direct opposition to her father’s campaign talking points ― women voters are not, in fact, idiots.
Trump has a well-documented history of misogyny ― in his interviews, his (ghostwritten) books, his treatment of female employees, his treatment of his ex-wives, and, of course, in his political campaign. For Trump, a man who has built his career on image, publicity and self-promotion, a lack of respect for women has long been a core part of his “personal brand.”
Over the weekend, just days after Ivanka touted her father’s commitment to women in the workforce through equal pay, Trump publicly praised Roger Ailes, who was recently forced to resign as CEO of Fox News after dozens of women accused him of workplace sexual harassment. Not only did Trump call Ailes “a very, very good person,” he actually had the audacity to chastise the women who have come forward.
“I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much [Ailes has] helped them,” Trump said on “Meet The Press.”
This is a man who purports to support the interests and needs of American women.
The first night of the Democratic National Convention gave Americans a taste of a very different side of our country. The speakers were diverse ― in their gender identities, political leanings, religious identities, racial identities and life experiences. Those speakers addressed racial injustice and the power of protest, equal pay and abortion rights, the dignity of workers, mental health and smashing glass ceilings.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the third female DNC keynote speaker ever, drove home the importance of so-called “women’s issues.” “We believe ― and I can’t believe I have to say this in 2016 ― in equal pay for equal work and a woman’s right to control over her own body!,” Warren said. “Hillary will fight for women. And we’re with her.”
First Lady Michelle Obama, in what may have been the most powerful speech of the night, explained why it’s so important for children to see a woman breaking our country’s very highest glass ceiling.
The party’s platform reinforces that “every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services,” that “LGBT rights are human rights,” that we must “restore the full power of the Voting Rights Act,” and that Democrats are committed to raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. These are just a few of the things that many women voters care about, and that Donald Trump has zero plans to deliver on.
As Rebecca Traister wrote in March, before the primary process had ended, a Clinton v. Trump race is one of great contrasts:
Hillary Rodham Clinton may be running her historic race to be America’s first woman president against the living embodiment of this country’s sexist id: an orange-tinted phallus in a FUCK HILLARY, GOD KNOWS SHE NEEDS IT T-shirt.
This election presents the American public with a stark choice. Do you vote for a candidate ― even one you might find “unlikeable” ― who recognizes that women, Muslims, immigrants, Jews, working families, people of color and LGBTQ+ people are human beings deserving of equal rights? Or do you vote for one who does not?
This is no longer about political party. It’s about existing in a country that demands its citizens think and engage beyond themselves. It’s about looking at the trajectory of history and moving forwards instead of craning or necks so far we fall backwards into a racist, divisive abyss. It’s about embracing love over xenophobia and outright bigotry.
Donald Trump does not “know what is going on” when it comes to any of that. Let’s remember that come November.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump