The GOP has a woman problem- and it’s not necessarily Hillary Clinton

Posted on October 29, 2016 by

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“When you’re famous they let you do it”

There are just 10 days left before the world witnesses who the United States has selected to be their next president. This election season has been full of controversies from both sides that have either changed or reaffirmed perceptions the American people have of their choices for president. However, the scandal that has been the most influential thus far has been Republican nominee Donald Trump’s sexual assault allegations. The Washington Post released a video of Trump making lewd comments about women and implying he can kiss and grope them and get away with it because “when you’re famous, they [women] let you do it”. The full video is below:

Trump waited about 12 hours before releasing an apology video and many Americans criticized him for not being genuine enough in his apology. In the video shown below, after Trump said he regrets the words that he said, he began to attack former president Bill Clinton for the ways in which he treated women and Hillary Clinton for defending her husband’s actions. He even invited three women who accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting them to the second presidential debate. This was a play that was supposed to get more women to view Trump favorably, but it failed to do so.

Women are vital in this election

Trump has been having trouble appealing to women voters and this tape definitely did not help. The PEW Research Center conducted a survey in July that shows Trump significantly trailing behind Clinton among women by as much as 16 points. College-educated white women have been a solid demographic for Republicans and Trump does not have the same support that his Republican counterparts have had in previous elections:

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According to a New York Times article by Trip Gabriel, there are fewer Republican women supporting Trump this year than in 2012 as well:

The latest CBS News poll, released last week, found that Hillary Clinton held a 19-percentage-point lead over Mr. Trump among women likely to vote. Among Republican women, 79 percent supported Mr. Trump. That was far below the 93 percent of Republican women who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012.

The fact that Trump is this far behind Mitt Romney’s support from women in his own party is not a good sign for the remainder of his campaign. Many of these women find Trump to be unfit for president and do not believe he has what it takes to be the leader of this country. Politico interviewed several women who identify as Republicans and asked them why they do not support Trump. One woman responded,

“When you see the leader of your country, his job is to be that leader, and characterizing women in derogatory ways—somebody says something he doesn’t like and she’s a bitch or she’s fat or ugly… We’re creating an environment where it’s acceptable to characterize women like that. I think it’s scary, and it would really take us quite a few paces back.”

At a time when Trump is behind in the polls by an average of 6 points overall, it is an extremely troubling sign that women (who are the largest voting bloc) are disgusted with him.

Problem for the GOP as well?

The problem does not just end with Trump. Many Republican women are less confident with the men in their party. In the same New York Times article, Gabriel mentions that:

Many [Republican women] are complaining publicly that for years, they stood up for the party against Democrats who accused it of pursuing a “war on women.” They are unable to do so any longer, they say, and they see hypocrisy in Republican men rallying behind Mr. Trump after the same leaders for years accused former President Bill Clinton of predatory behavior.

It is not a good sign for the down ballot candidates when Republican women feel as though the men in their party that they have stood behind and supported are turning their backs on them. This is a potential disaster that high ranking GOP officials are trying to avoid by distancing themselves from Trump.

However, it is much too late now for them to save face. Some of the GOP members who disavowed Trump after the initial video was released, have flip-flopped and are now even embracing the GOP nominee again. Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah who said that he could not “…put [his] good name and reputation and [his] family behind Donald Trump when he acts like this” has now come out and said he will indeed be voting for Trump because Hillary Clinton is just that bad. Even after stating that because he has a 15 year old daughter, he could not endorse Trump, he has decided to put his party affiliation over his own moral virtues.

What the heck is the matter with the GOP?

It is hard to understand why the GOP continues to tip toe around whether or not they support their presidential nominee. Since they have a ‘woman problem’, it would make sense that they would be doing everything in their power to retain whatever remains of their reputation. This year is unlike any other in history and there are still 10 days that can provide even more surprises. One thing that is definitely true is that the GOP must find new ways to reach out to different demographics, otherwise they will be swept out with the new era of Democratic rule.

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