GOP: Women need not apply here

By Bill Press

Pity poor Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State. Nobody in Washington has a tougher job.

For McMorris Rodgers, it’s not being the No. 4 Republican in the House, and the only woman in House leadership, that’s tough. It’s not even juggling her responsibilities on Capitol Hill with raising three young children ages 8 and under. Her tough job? Trying to convince women there’s a home for them in the Republican Party when her party’s front-runner disparages women and treats them like third-class citizens.

Granted, Donald Trump has never run for political office before. But you’d think even an amateur politician would have figured this out: You can’t win the presidency with old, white males alone. Or, in Trump’s case, you can’t alienate all Latinos, African-Americans and women – and have any chance of winning the White House, even if you can attract enough hate-filled primary voters to steal the party’s nomination.

It’s Trump’s treatment of women especially that worries sensible Republicans like McMorris Rodgers (there are still a few left), because it’s not only morally wrong; it’s politically suicidal. After all, women not only outnumber men in the population, they are also more likely to vote. In fact, in every presidential election since 1980, more women have voted than men. In 2012, for example, 63.7 percent of women voted, compared to 59.8 percent of men. And in every election since 1992, the majority of women have voted for the Democratic Party candidate.

According to the Center for American Progress, in 2012, 53 percent of all voters were women, and 55 percent of them voted for Barack Obama, who held a 12-point advantage over Mitt Romney among women. Clearly, women determined the outcome of that election, and will determine the outcome of this one, which is why Republicans should be reaching out to women, instead of turning them off.

Everybody seems to understand that but Mr. Trump. He began his campaign with mean-spirited, personal attacks against Megyn Kelly of Fox News. When she suggested he might have a problem with women, after calling some of them “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,” Trump proved her point by implying that she only asked him tough questions because she was menstruating: “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

Following the barrage of condemnation he received for that sexist remark, you’d think Trump might have learned his lesson. No way. He’s continued to malign women during the course of his entire campaign, though never worse than this week – when, even for his own supporters, Donald Trump may have finally crossed the line between colorful and dangerous.

First was his treatment of Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. After police charged his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with misdemeanor battery for grabbing and pushing Fields, Trump not only defended Lewandowski – the one time Trump should have said, “You’re fired,” and didn’t – he accused Fields of assaulting him.

Then Trump made the mistake of going on MSNBC, calling for a ban on abortion, and suggesting that any woman who had an abortion for any reason whatsoever should face jail time. Even though he quickly backed down, retreating to the safer position that only the doctor who performed the procedure should go to jail, not the woman herself, the damage was done. Trump was roundly condemned, and not just by pro-choice groups, but also by anti-abortion activists, nervous that Trump had clumsily let their ultimate goal, the criminalization of abortion, out of the bag.

No wonder, in the latest CNN poll, Donald Trump has a 73 percent disapproval rating among women. He’s the supreme commander of the war on women waged by today’s Republican Party, which is officially anti-choice, anti-health insurance coverage for contraception, anti-pay equity for women, anti-federal funding for child care and anti-almost anything else women care about – all of which makes Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ task more difficult, if not impossible. “I find them hurtful,” she says of Trump’s comments on women, “and I think they are hurtful to the party.”

So where does this leave Donald Trump? I know we’ve said it before, but this time I think it’s true: He’s not only killed any chance of winning the White House, he’s provided the opening many Republicans have been looking for to deny him their party’s nomination. How ironic: There were once 16 candidates running against him, but in the end, nobody could stop Donald Trump but Trump himself. It looks like he just did.

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