For years, one of the key roles of Republican women operatives has been to make regular media appearances expressing outrage that Democrats say Republicans are waging a war on women with things like forced ultrasounds or opposition to equal pay. In the year of Donald Trump, some of those very same women are regularly in the media expressing dismay that their party has nominated and is standing behind such a raging misogynist:
“For next-generation professional women, the party is going to have to do something very, very drastic to change the course of where this candidate has taken us,” said Katie Packer, a deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012. “I think the leaders in our party are going to have to aggressively reject this. Come November 9, they better be prepared to make very strong statements condemning all of Trump’s behavior.”
Because that’ll look great: “Yesterday, we urged you to vote for Donald Trump. Today, we condemn him in the strongest terms possible.”
Christine Matthews, a Republican pollster, said in an interview that Democrats no longer have to push a “war on women” narrative because it’s playing out on its own thanks to Trump — and comments like those that Gingrich made on Tuesday [to Megyn Kelly].
It’s been playing out on its own for a while now. You’re just getting around to admitting it.
“It’s just one more clueless middle-age-to-older white guy taking to task a woman,” Matthews said. “It’s so unhelpful on every level.”
Whereas in no previous election cycle have we seen middle-age-to-older white Republican men taking women to task. We’re dealing here in a difference of degree, not kind.
It must be tough, to have been the public face of claims that the Republican Party isn’t terrible to and for women and then to have to watch Donald Trump—and all the continuing support for him from top Republicans like Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus—show just how wrong you were all along. But we cannot for a minute lose sight of the fact that, if “grab them by the pussy” wasn’t a position most Republican politicians held, “make them get a medically unnecessary ultrasound” was pretty damn widespread. These women were happy to defend that.
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