Sometimes it’s humanly impossible to track all the Republican hijinks.
Take yesterday, for instance. Donald Trump held forth on foreign policy with predictable incoherence, as evidenced by this gem:
“Instead of trying to spread universal values that not everybody shares or wants, we should understand that strengthening and promoting Western civilization and its accomplishments will do more to inspire positive reforms around the world than military interventions.”
Huh? Isn’t a vow to strengthen and promote “Western civilization” the same thing as “trying to spread universal values?” Wouldn’t Trump see those as synonyms? Just because a huckster can read a speech in front of flags doesn’t make him a font of gravitas.
Elsewhere yesterday, desperate Ted Cruz played dress-up with Carly Fiorina, as in: “Hey, let’s pretend we’re nominees! I’ll be president, and you’ll be veep!” It was cute that they printed up signs advertising their ticket, and it was fun to watch Carly bond with Ted — in the hopes of erasing what she publicly said about Ted a few scant months ago: “He is just like any other politician. He says whatever he needs to say to get elected.” All of which solidifies my belief that, 50 years from now, the answer to the ultimate 2016 trivia question will be: “Carly Fiorina.”
Also yesterday, in front of an audience, former Republican House Speaker John Boehner weighed in on Ted Cruz: “Lucifer in the flesh….I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” I will go out on a limb and predict that Boehner’s diplomatic critique will not appear on Cruz’s campaign literature.
Also yesterday, former Republican House Speaker and serial child molester Dennis Hastert got sentenced to the slammer, despite written pleas for leniency from fellow Republicans; perhaps Hastert will share a jail with the hordes of transgender people who have been convicted of child molestation … ooops, no hordes.
Also yesterday, in an apparent new episode of “Breaking Bad,” Emily Pitha, a fundraising official for John McCain and former “constituent services representative” for two other Republican senators, was busted for having a meth lab in her house.
But I’ve saved the best for last.
On Tuesday night, Trump yet again accessed his inner pig: “Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the women’s card.”
No wonder sane Republicans are girding themselves for a November catastrophe. They’ve lost the majority of women voters in six straight presidential elections, dating back to 1992; this is not a good thing, because women are the majority gender and they typically comprise 53 percent of the presidential electorate. And there’s zero chance that they will bestow the majority of their votes on a boorish blowhard whose first instinct is to demean a woman’s professional credentials.
After Mitt Romney lost women by 11 percentage points in 2012, the GOP released an autopsy report that featured this advice: “Be conscious of developing a forward-looking vision for voting Republican that appeals to women …. Republicans need to make a better effort at listening to women voters, directing their policy proposals at what they learn from women, and communicating that they understand what a woman who is balancing many responsibilities is going through.”
Trump is the antithesis of that advice — and most women instinctively know this already.
According to a Fox News poll released earlier this month, women favor Clinton over Trump by 22 percentage points; according to a new Suffolk University/USA Today poll, women favor Clinton by 21 points. Those polls are twice as wide as Romney’s gender gap. Thanks in part to his long string of insults — demeaning Fiorina’s face, mocking Cruz’s wife, assailing Megyn Kelly for her tough questions by suggesting that she was having her period — Trump faces a seemingly unbridgeable chasm.
When I hear Trump suggest that Clinton is merely a product of female affirmative action — he said it again yesterday: “It’s just a very, very true statement, if she were a man, she’d get five percent” — I am reminded of how some of the white ballplayers reacted when Jackie Robinson was tapped to join the Brooklyn Dodgers. Superstar pitcher Bob Feller infamously said: “If he were a white man, I doubt they would ever consider him big-league material.” Translation: Robinson, because he was a black man, had no credentials.
I suspect that many female voters, hearing Trump’s discourse on Clinton, quickly decoded his sexist message: That serving eight years in the Senate and four years as Secretary of State means nothing, because she’s only a woman; and that real-life issues of paramount importance to women — like pay inequity, health care, and paid family leave — can be cynically dismissed as “the women’s card.” (Best joke I heard yesterday, told by a woman: “I went to an ATM and used my women’s card to withdraw $100. It gave me 79.”)
But wait a sec … If Clinton’s lady parts are supposedly such an advantage, if being a woman is such an automatic leg up on the boys, then what explains the dearth of viable female presidential candidates in the entirety of American history?
Anyway. Leave it to the Republicans to saddle themselves with a guy who makes Hugh Hefner sound like Betty Friedan. A guy who takes a jackhammer to the GOP gender gap. Who rubs salt in the party’s deepest wound. Whose idea of a credentialed woman is a curvacious 10 devoid of a brain. Who was endorsed yesterday by Bobby Knight, the chair-tossing jock coach best known for saying: “I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”
There’s some advice for Making America Great Again.