Condemn the GOP’s disregard for women in light of Trump sexual misconduct
During this election cycle, the Grand Old Party has irrevocably revealed itself as an institution that prioritizes men above women. Of course, leaders and members of the party would loudly deny this claim and spit back something similar to Republican nominee Donald Trump’s tired lie: “Nobody respects women more than I do.” But the very opposite is true: Women rank below men on the GOP’s hierarchy, and after this election cycle, no amount of empty words will be able to hide that.
It is no secret that the GOP is historically less popular with women than the Democratic Party is. In fact, women voted for Democratic candidates at higher rates than men in the last nine elections, according to a July 28 Pew Research Center report.
A few years ago, however, one of the primary gender-related criticisms of the GOP involved its stance on abortion and Planned Parenthood ― particularly in regards to its members’ shocking ignorance of female anatomy and alarming desperation to control women's bodies. Admittedly, the partisan contention regarding abortion is not as clear cut as either side would have the public believe. Both sides have the potential to make rational arguments, and therefore either could reasonably attract female constituents. Despite insistence otherwise by pro-choice advocates, women could have, in theory, voted red in the past without necessarily opposing their own interests.
On Nov. 8, 2016, this will not be further from the truth. Whereas abortion could reasonably be a gray area for women, Trump’s candidacy ― and the resulting direction of the GOP ― could not be more black and white.
Put simply, a vote for Trump is a vote against women.
From his comment about “blood coming out of [Fox journalist Megyn Kelly’s] wherever” to his sexual objectification of women ― seen most candidly in the 2005 Access Hollywood video released on Oct. 7 ― Trump has notoriously disrespected women with his words.
But, it seems, he has also done so with his actions. From the early 1980s to 2013, women and girls ― some as young as 15 at the time of the incident ― have accused Donald Trump of at least 13 separate sexual offenses, ranging from rape to voyeurism, according to an Oct. 14 Daily Beast timeline of accusations against Trump.
Trump and many of his supporters claim that these accusers are lying and have just come forward now to prevent Trump from clinching the presidency, but the American public must not prematurely dismiss these women’s allegations without granting them proper consideration. Yes, maybe they are stepping forward now with hopes to block him from the Oval Office, and maybe the release of the 2005 Access Hollywood spurred them to do so ― but that does not mean that they are lying. Doubting these women ― whose numbers continue to grow ― would be an enormous mistake for the American people.
Further, even if some women came forward with false stories and ulterior motives, that would not invalidate all of the accusations. Many of Trump’s accusers mentioned his actions to at least one other person before he became a presidential candidate.
For example, after the release of the Access Hollywood video, Rachel Crooks publicly accused Trump of forcibly kissing her in the elevator of their shared office building in 2005, and the same night of the incident, she told her then-boyfriend, Clint Hackenburg, who has recently confirmed her story, according to an Oct. 12 New York Times article.
Crooks is not the only woman who verbalized an accusation against Trump more than a decade ago. A 1989 rape accusation exists as part of the 1990 divorce deposition between Donald and Ivana Trump, according to a July 27, 2015 Daily Beast article, but as the divorce papers also included a gag order on Ivana Trump, this incident has been relatively absent from the media and the public eye. It is important to note that a 1993 book titled “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump” by reporter Harry Hurt III corroborates the story, and all of this documentation dates back decades before Trump even entered the political arena.
Trump and his supporters have questioned why his recent accusers did not come forward sooner. Former People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff recently alleged that Trump assaulted her in his home in December 2005 while she was there interviewing him for an article. In response to this allegation, Trump told attendees of a North Carolina rally that “if it did happen … 100 percent she would have written it,” according to an Oct. 14 Time magazine article. “Why wouldn’t she have put this into the story?” he asked.
Stoynoff answered this exact question two days earlier in her Oct. 12 People magazine article explaining the incident: “I was ashamed … [and] I was afraid that a famous, powerful, wealthy man could and would discredit and destroy me.” She reacted “like many women,” she wrote, including, most likely, many of Trump’s other victims. Consequently, though a colleague urged Stoynoff to go to the managing editor at the time, Stoynoff said nothing until years later.
When examining the accusations against Trump, the American public must ask itself who is the more likely liar ― more than a dozen women with their own individual stories or a man who was recorded bragging about getting away with actions eerily similar to the accusations? Keep in mind that the latter has a 71 percent false rating from Politifact and was awarded their “Lie of the Year” designation in 2015.
Trump’s reactions to the accusations further highlight his disrespect toward women. He has insensitively called himself a “victim,” according to an Oct. 15 CNN article; worse, he has dismissed and flung personal insults at his accusers.
Even his conduct toward reporters trying to cover the story is deplorable. He called one New York Times reporter “a disgusting human being” when she tried to gather information for the Oct. 12 article.
Though Trump’s support has dipped in light of the the Access Hollywood video and subsequent allegations, he has retained a significant portion of the electorate. A Monday evening FiveThirtyEight projection predicts he will win 42.8 percent of the popular vote. However, some would go even further than simply voting for him. After becoming convinced that their candidate would win if women did not vote, some Trump supporters have indicated their willingness to trade women’s suffrage for the ascension of their beloved misogynist with the hashtag #Repealthe19th, according to an Oct. 13 U.S. News article.
Throughout all this, many prominent GOP leaders have stood by and watched. Some ― like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan ― have offered meek criticism of Trump in an attempt to placate the enraged public, but even their criticism reveals a disregard for the well-being of women. Many Republicans, including McConnell, framed their reaction through a self-absorbed lens. They noted that they have female relatives, implying that the reason Trump’s comments and actions are wrong is because of women’s relationship to men. This implicit notion, that women’s value is determined by their relationship to men, subordinates women’s existence as human beings and further perpetuates the very culture that incubated Trump and propelled him to power.
Further, despite many Republicans’ purported outrage, most have done nothing to stop Trump’s bid for the White House. As such, their words are empty, and they have become complicit in the transformation of the GOP into an anti-woman party, for all intents and purposes.
There are innumerable reasons why Trump must never be president, but his well-documented mistreatment of women ranks among the top five. If America elects an alleged sexual predator and confirmed misogynist over a well-qualified woman, it will effectively reject the interests of half its population and begin down a path from which there is little chance of recovery.