Trump Embraces Blunt Sexism: His Supporters Love the Absurd Idea That Even the Smartest Woman Isn’t as Good as a Man

His constant slams on women works with his ardent backers—but it will destroy him in November.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Amanda Marcotte/Salon

Emphasis Mine

Donald Trump never met a preposterous statement he wasn’t willing to stand by, and so it is with his apparent belief that women are unfairly advantaged over men in our societyOn Fox News on Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Trump why he would say that Hillary Clinton is a talentless hack who is coasting on the “woman card,” i.e. the unearned privilege he believes women enjoy over men, and Trump defended himself by pulling his P.C.-police-suppress-the-truth card.

“Well, I’m my own strategist and I like that—what I said and it’s true,” Trump said. “I only tell the truth and that’s why people voted for me.”

The audacity of it is stunning, of course. If he hadn’t been born a white man in a wealthy family, Trump would be a used car salesman in Des Moines who spends his weekends on desultory Match. com dates with divorcees who never call him again. Meanwhile, a huge amount of Clinton’s appeal is that she’s a smart and talented woman who has overcome a huge amount of sexist abuse in order to get as far as she has.

But Trump’s bleating about the “woman card” epitomizes the appeal he has to his supporters, even as he manages to alienate everyone else in the country. There’s a certain logic to his argument if you believe, as most conservatives do, that sexism is a thing of the past and that feminists are just making up stories to “play the victim” and earn the sweet, sweet cash they supposedly get from saying sexism still exists.

The problem with the “sexism is over” argument is that women in this country are still not equal. There’s a persistent pay gap. Women are underrepresented in congress and no woman has ever been the president. While women graduate from college at greater rates than menthey are less likely to get plum jobs and promotions.

Looking over the statistics, there’s really only two ways to explain the inequities: Either women are being treated unfairly or women are simply inferior to men. Feminists stand by the first argument, pointing out multiple studies that show that sexist beliefs about women and systematic discrimination holds women back.

Conservatives, however, reject the notion that sexism is still a thingforcing them to argue that women fall behind because they’re simply not as good as men. There are a lot of euphemisms for this argument—they usually say it’s because of women’s “choices” instead of bluntly claiming that women are inferior—but the gist is there: It’s not sexism, it’s that women aren’t good/smart/ambitious enough.

Once you buy into the argument that women’s inequality is due to women’s inferiority, it’s not much of a leap to start assuming that any woman who does go far must be getting some unfair advantage. For Trump and the sexist men who support him, it’s easier to believe that Clinton’s success is due to a feminist conspiracy to promote women over more deserving men than to admit that there are women out there that are smarter and more capable than they are. It’s the same mentality that led Trump and the folks who support him to embrace “birther” theories about Barack Obama. It was easier to believe he was installed by a shadowy cabal than accept the possibility that an African-American man could be a legitimately elected official.

Trump’s simplistic sexism has become déclassé in mainstream conservative circles. Instead, the trend has been to accept some women into leadership positions, as long as they remain firmly in the minority and don’t ever rise to the tippy-top positions reserved for men. This simultaneously props up the argument that conservatives aren’t sexist while maintaining a belief in female inferiority. The gist of things is that while a small handful of exceptional women are good enough to compete with men, most are not. And even those who are smart enough will never be quite as good as the men at the top.

Ted Cruz’s selection of Carly Fiorina as his running mate is a perfect illustration of the delicate dance that conservatives are performing with gender politics. On one hand, he’s trying to show off how non-sexist he supposedly is by picking a woman. On the other hand, he went out of his way to pick someone who isn’t as smart as he is, as evidenced by her long history of professional and political failures. The pick allows him to appear to respect women while reinforcing conservative beliefs that women aren’t quite as capable as men. If anything, by picking someone who isn’t very good, Cruz is subtly reaffirming the belief that women in leadership are incompetents who get a leg up not because of talent but because of “political correctness.”

John McCain did the same thing in 2008 with his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Now there is a hack who only got as far as she did because powerful men wanted to be seen as the kind of people who promote women. She was a bad pick for his campaign, but a good pick for pushing the belief that women aren’t as smart as men and can only really get far because of their supposed female privilege.

Under the circumstances, it’s easy to see why so many voters prefer Trump. He doesn’t play these complicated games of pretending to respect women while rejecting the possibility that women really can be equal to men. His belief systems are far more straightforward: He doesn’t think women are smart and any woman’s success that challenges him will be waved away as a gimme handed to her because of “political correctness.” For those who are sick of pretending to believe things they don’t want to believe, such as in the possibility that women can be smart, the Trump method is far more appealing than the elaborate systems of B.S. that other conservatives have built.

That, plus it’s always thrilling to misogynists to hear that, simply by virtue of being male, they are better than a woman who was her class valedictorian, an accomplished lawyer, a senator and the secretary of state. But odds are low Trump will get far with the general electorate by suggesting that even the smartest woman somehow pales in comparison to a mediocre man.

Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon. She’s on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte. 

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-embraces-blunt-sexism-his-supporters-love-absurd-idea-even-smartest-woman-isnt?akid=14217.123424.vApA3m&rd=1&src=newsletter1055746&t=8

Trump’s Attack on Cruz’s Wife Proves He’s Too Sexist to Stand a Chance Against Clinton

Trump sneers at Cruz’s wife, showing why he’s not just going to lose female voters, but a lot of male voters, too.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Amanda Marcotte/Salon

Emphasis Mine

While most of the U.S. political world was focused on the terrorist attacks in Brussels and the primaries in some Western states Tuesday night, Donald Trump—surprise, surprise—was sitting around nursing a grudge. And he decided it needed airing out on Twitter, of course.

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There’s been a robust discussion in feminist circles about this ad that is actually a meme and how it’s unfair and slut-shaming. There’s a strong argument to be had supporting this, but you have to give the woman who made it, Liz Mair, some credit for finding and exploiting a real vulnerability when it comes to Trump and female voters, both liberal and conservative.

While it’s true that Melania Trump is smarter than a lot of people realize and isn’t doing anything wrong by taking risqué photos, this ad isn’t really about her. This ad is about Donald Trump, highlighting that he really is a cartoonish stereotype: The wealthy sexist who talks about women like they’re objects for purchase and who is probably not interested in his wife because she speaks five languages and has studied architecture and design. One can politely ignore that fact in public, but there’s simply no way women aren’t taking note of it in private.

(Conversation I heard from two women talking in public recently: “Well, she’s probably smarter than the rest of us. We’re working and she’s probably out on 5th Avenue shopping right now.” “Yeah, but him? Ugh. He can’t really think she wants him for himself.”)

Trump’s reaction to this—to try to drag Ted Cruz into a wife-measuring contest, like they are debating the merits of owning a Ferrari vs. a Toyota Corolla—just confirms the suspicions that this ad is trying to raise.

This is why those who worry that Trump’s over-the-top sexism will somehow help him in a general election match-up against Hillary Clinton are completely misreading these particular tea leaves. Sure, there are a lot of men out there who see things the way Trump does. Those men admire him for his history of categorizing women as either sex objects or wastes of space whose continued existence is a mystery to him.

But those men are not the dominant voting bloc in a general election. In fact, men, as a group, do not make up the majority of voters. Women vote more than men and have since 1980And women hate Trump. Sure, there’s a lot of sexist dislike for Clinton, which explains why her unfavorability ratings are significantly higher with men than women. But Trump’s sexism has an even more profound impact on his popularity with women, as Jon Schwartz at The Intercept explains:

Women dislike Trump with what’s likely a historically unique intensity for a national politician. Trump’s average net favorability among women over the past six weeks is minus 33 percent—far worse than the minus 2 percent net favorability among women for Marco Rubio or the minus 14 percent for Ted Cruz. Likewise, in a poll taken just before the 2012 election, Mitt Romney had a net favorability among women of minus 2 percent.

And this is before the general election even really gets underway and Trump starts pulling his “why is this woman I don’t want to have sex with even talking” act with Hillary Clinton. As Jeet Heer points out at the New Republic, the only time Carly Fiorina was really doing well with Republicans was when Trump was disrespecting her in this way. And that’s with a crowd that has way higher tolerance for overt sexism. The public at large is not going to like it, not one bit. Nor will this hurt Trump with just women, either. Sure, Trump plays well with the Maxim crowd, but he takes the sexist vitriol so far that it repulses a whole bunch of men, both liberal and conservative. The exchange with Cruz was a good example of how the way Trump talks about women is also insulting to men.

screen_shot_2016-03-23_at_4.59.36_pmMost news sources are assuming that Trump was referring to Heidi Cruz’s history of struggling with depression, and if so, then congratulations, Trump. You did the impossible: You made Ted Cruz, by far the creepiest politician on the national stage since Ross Perot, seem like a decent man who cares for and stands by his wife.

That sort of thing doesn’t just impact female voters, but a lot of men, as well. Even some men who might have some sympathy for Trump’s leering sexism are going to draw the line at treating a beloved wife like she’s a defective product who needs to be returned to the factory just because she has some health problems. Most men’s marriages are more like the Cruz marriage than the Trump marriage. They aren’t going to be keen on the idea that Trump would look down on them for that.

Six out of 10 female voters think Trump is an embarrassment, but it’s also true that 4 out of 10 male voters think that. Just wait until the general election, where his sexist antics will get even more attention (as hard as that may be to believe) than they are getting now. This is a man who can’t crack 50% of Republican voters, even in Arizona, where his xenophobic campaign should be going over like gangbusters. On a national stage, against a female opponent whose very existence counters Trump’s reductionist attitudes about women’s worth, Trump is going to look even more like an embarrassment.

Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon. She’s on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte. 

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trumps-female-problems-donald-trumps-attack-ted-cruzs-wife-proves-hes-too-sexist-stand?utm_source=Amanda+Marcotte%27s+Subscribers&utm_campaign=c6e2f1532d-RSS_AUTHOR_EMAIL&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f2b9a8ae81-c6e2f1532d-79824733

GOP Debate Scorecard: The Big Winner Wasn’t Anyone on the Stage, It Was Democrats

Trump comes off as a sniveling bully; Bush as simple-minded; Cruz as maniacal. And that’s good news for Democrats.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Amanda Marcotte/Salon

Emphasis Mine

One thing is certain from Tuesday night’s Republican debate on CNN: Whatever polling data the Republicans are reading, it’s telling them that GOP primary voters are worried that ISIS is sneaking in through the air ducts and that the only thing that will save them now is thumping your chest really hard and repeating, “Radical Islamic terrorism, radical Islamic terrorism, radical Islamic terrorism” until the magical spell works and the baddies go away.

Oh, and bombing someone. Definitely have to bomb someone.

So who won this debate, clearly aimed at people who, like Lindsey Graham, really miss the Bush administration and those carefree days when it seemed that all the world’s problems could be solved by bombing some innocent civilians half a world away? Here’s an examination:

Winner, Untouchable Division: Donald Trump. Trump came across as a sniveling bully and a consummate bullshitter who clearly just says the first thing that pops into his head and then, when confronted, just doubles down on it instead of admitting he was wrong. But that’s never hurt him in the polls before, and it’s unlikely to do so now.

Bonus points: Trump’s “plan” to bar Muslims from traveling into the U.S. became one of the central points of contention in the debate. Trump continues to amaze with his ability to control the narrative just by flapping his loose jaws while other politicians fail to get a word in edgewise with their carefully constructed talking points.

Loser, Conservatives Are A-Skeered DivisionRand Paul. The crowd was definitely not feeling his attempts to be a maverick by rejecting the security state and (some) war. Paul, never the principled libertarian he plays on TV, did his best to pander to the heightened bloodthirst of the conservative crowd by chasing after Rubio on immigration, but ultimately the moment fell flat, flatter than Paul’s poll numbers.

Winner, Impressing The Political Press Division: Jeb Bush.

Bush’s war-mongering and simple-minded posturing would probably not hold up well in a contest with Hillary Clinton. However, he said a couple of things that were true during this debate, such as noting that all this Muslim-bashing is going to undermine our relationships with Muslim allies we need to fight ISIS. This made him look like a foreign policy genius compared to the clowns on stage pretending Syrian orphans are about to go jihad on us, and he’ll probably get a bunch of kudos for it from the political press.

Loser, Actually Getting Anywhere With The Voters Division: Jeb Bush. The audience loved it when Bush said, “Donald, you’re not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency,” but only, oh irony, because Trump has trained them over months to react to every feeble insult like it’s the sickest burn they’ve ever heard. But despite landing a couple of blows during the debate, Bush’s concluding remarks were so limp he got bored with them and trailed off. Voters will soon forget that he’s even in this race.

Winners, Tap-Dancing Around The “How Fascist Are You” Question Division:Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio. You can’t denounce Trump’s nutty idea of a Muslim travel ban, because you’ll just drive more of your idiot base into his arms. But you can’t endorse it, either, because it’s unconstitutional and seriously a legitimate threat to national security. So both candidates, when faced with the question, rattled off officious-sounding nonsense to run out the clock. Rubio gave us a history of the San Bernardino shooter and Fiorina gave us a history of social media, but both accomplished the main goal of babbling until the buzzer sounded without either of them actually answering the question.

Loser, What’s This Debate About Again Division: Chris Christie. Christie’s Hail Mary pass in the past few months is to paint himself as a “law and order” type, feeding off conservative hostility to the Black Lives Matter movement in hopes of getting some kind of attention. An entire debate dedicated to Syrian politics did not help him in this mission, even though he mentioned that he’s a federal prosecutor roughly 1.2 billion times during the debate.

Winner, Oh God He Might Actually Win DivisionTed Cruz. He was nearly as maniacal as Donald Trump when it comes to racist pandering and was by far the most convincing in the contest to see who is most eager to kill them all and let God sort them out. This is a man who knows how to fight and claw his way to the top of any trash pile you give him, and winning the Republican nomination is what he was born to do. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Loser, Being Able To Sleep At Night Edition: The viewers. Well, at least viewers who still have enough wits about them to know Barack Obama isn’t a secret Muslim and that chemtrails aren’t mind control. Those viewers watched candidates dedicate nearly 2 hours out of a 2 and a half hour debate to the question of Syrian politics and the most immediate takeaway is not a one of them has the first clue about what’s really going on in the unbelievably complex civil war there.

Oh, the candidates know that Bashar al-Assad is on one side and ISIS is on the other and that Vladimir Putin is being a dick, all of which is probably more understanding that the typical Republican voter has regarding the whole thing. But memorizing these little factoids is hardly relevant when you still think the solution to an intricate civil war that mostly isn’t about us at all is to stand around declaring how tough you are.

Winner, General Election Division: The Democrats. The Republicans look for all the world like they’re going to nominate their candidate based on fears about a country most of them can’t find on a map. Better yet, that candidate will not be chosen based on his foreign policy qualifications, but on whether or not he said the nastiest things about Muslims. Either way, it’s going to be fun for the Democrat to run against this impetuous pick 11 months from now, when the issue of Islamic terrorism has faded from the public imagination and journalists have returned to asking questions about issues that are far more immediate to voters than who has a leg up in the Syrian civil war this week.

Amanda Marcotte co-writes the blog Pandagon. She is the author of “It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments.”

See: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/gop-debate-scorecard-big-winner-wasnt-anyone-stage-it-was-democrats?akid=13782.123424.ZFQd7f&rd=1&src=newsletter1047420&t=4

Blood On Republican Hands: Killer Screamed “No More Baby Parts!” At Planned Parenthood

Source: Occupydemocrats.com

Author: Collin Taylor

Emphasis Mine

When the news broke of the shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, the right-wing echo chamber immediately began trying to frame the attack as anything than what it wasfirst as a bank robbery, then as just another “mentally disturbed individual.” But NBC just reported that Robert Louis Dear yelled “no more baby parts” during the attack, proving to the whole world that this was a right-wing terrorist attack inspired by the Republican Party’s vile slander and public lies about Planned Parenthood.

The beloved healthcare provider was called out on national television by opportunist and reprehensible gender-traitor Carly Fiorina who demanded that we “watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” The footage used belonged to a miscarriage, and did not take place in a Planned Parenthood, and may not even have been inside the United States. Florida Senator Marco Rubio even had the gall to say that women were getting pregnant “just to sell their fetuses to Planned Parenthood”. As Bernie Sanders noted today, the damage has been done, despite the countless investigations that have come up with nothing.

The Republican Party’s collective refusal to acknowledge the truth and their relentless propagation of these abhorrent lies have come to this. Three dead, including a policeman. They are all responsible for this outrageous act of terrorism, and the mainstream media is just as complicit in distorting the narrative. The New York Times called him an “itinerant loner” and the Washington Post called him “adrift and alienated.” This was an act of terrorism, pure and simple; but our nation refuses to call it that.

After the outpouring of hatred and bigotry coming from the right over the past two weeks, aimed squarely at Muslims, where is the outcry? Why won’t Republicans call this what it is – radical Christianity? Why won’t moderate Christians denounce this terrible attack? Why aren’t we collecting databases on alienated white men who own machine guns? Their hypocrisy is absolutely disgusting, and now the blood is on all of their hands.

But especially yours, Ms. Fiorina.

See: http://wp.me/p3h8WX-5Pq

Carly Fiorina and the GOP Outsider Boom

Most weeks, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich speaks with contributor Alex Carp about the biggest stories in politics and culture. This week: Carly Fiorina’s rise, Scott Walker’s fall, and Donald Trump being Donald Trump.

Source:New York Magazine, via RSN

Author:Frank Rich

Emphasis Mine

arly Fiorina has risen faster than anyone in the Republican field since the last debate, while making a series of statements that have some commentators describing her “willful disregard … or ignorance of reality.” How do you explain her rise?

A willful disregard or ignorance of reality is hardly disqualifying in the GOP presidential sweepstakes! If nothing else, Fiorina’s fictional Planned Parenthood video suggests she might have more success cooking up gory B-movie scenarios in the San Fernando Valley than she had running Hewlett-Packard in Silicon Valley. In that real-life business horror story, Fiorina slashed 30,000 employees, not to mention shareholder value, while mismanaging what had been one of the most fabled corporations in American business.

Fiorina’s rise after the last debate is coming at the expense of the previous “skyrocketing” Republican contender, the retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson. The theory had been that Carson was the kinder, gentler “outsider” who would finally usurp Donald Trump. But, as it happened, the good doctor proved to have all the pep on-camera that one of his patients might exhibit shortly after being given anesthesia. Worse, despite his ostensible prowess as a man of medicine, Carson waffled when confronted with Trump’s debate fiction about a link between vaccines and autism. That both Fiorina and Carson have enjoyed booms, however transitory they may prove to be, makes one thing clear. The base would prefer almost anyone, and so far Trump most of all, to Jeb Bush or any of the other choices that the GOP Establishment has put its big bets on. In new polls out over the past couple of days, from Fox News and Quinnipiac, the results are markedly similar in the spreads separating Trump from Carson and Fiorina, and show that a majority of Republicans favor one of these three outsiders over the rest of the field combined.

Fiorina may be impaled by the Washington shutdown, should it happen; she endorsed what Karl Rove has called the “suicide” strategy of holding the government hostage to the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Should she crater, be assured that she has a strong understudy waiting in the wings: Meg Whitman, the current CEO at HP, who just announced her plan to lay off another 30,000 workers. The similarities don’t end there: Like Fiorina, who ran for Senate against Barbara Boxer, Whitman ran as a Republican for statewide office in California in 2010 (for governor, against Jerry Brown) and lost by double digits. Should she, too, get fired by HP, she’ll have the perfect résumé for entering the Republican presidential race.

Scott Walker, who started his run for the GOP nomination as the reported favorite of the Koch brothers, now says he’s been “called to lead by helping clear the field” of candidates — starting with himself. Does his campaign’s failure show the limits of super-pac politics?

Not necessarily. Walker was a ridiculous candidate and would remain so no matter how much money any billionaires poured into his super-pac. Back in early July, a few days before Walker announced his run, I was at a small gathering in Washington where a prominent Republican political operative (not affiliated with any of the 2016 campaigns, and not speaking for attribution) gave a rollicking tour of the field. Of Walker, he said, “There are two reasons he can’t win. First, he has a bald spot. Second, he’s stupid.”

Suffice it to say that Walker’s presidential run was farce from start to finish, from his three different positions on the issue of “birthright citizenship” to his calling Reagan’s busting of the air-traffic controllers’ strike of 1981 “the most significant foreign policy decision of my lifetime.” At the CNN debate, he had all the charisma of a department-store mannequin. Yet not long ago he was a rock star. He’s “the one guy in the race who has shown how to defeat the media and Democrat coordinated attacks on conservatives,” said Rush Limbaugh as Walker entered the race. He’s “a truly impressive individual,” effused the right-wing Washington Post pundit Marc Thiessen. Fox News hosts fell over themselves to boost him as a union-busting “hero.” At FiveThirtyEight in March, Nate Silver used what he called “totally subjective odds” to rate the first-tier Republican candidates on the likelihood of their getting the nomination and deduced that Walker was on top (at 26 percent), ahead of Bush (24 percent) and Marco Rubio (16 percent).

This week, after Walker dropped out, The Wall Street Journal ran a news story explaining that Rubio would benefit by inheriting much of Walker’s fund-raising apparatus and donors, since he, too, is a “fresh face ready to shake up Washington.” Never mind that Rubio, unlike Walker, is already in Washington (where his strategy for shaking things up seems to have been to miss more Senatorial votes than anyone else in the race). Or that the voters Rubio might inherit from Walker do not even amount to a rounding error; Walker was polling at less than 0.5 percent at the end. In any case, Rubio’s candidacy is almost uniformly described by the press and Republican pols as more substantive than most (especially on foreign policy), and he’s been widely judged as one of the strongest contenders — if not the strongest — at both debates. But with recent polling numbers still averaging at roughly 10 percent, Rubio, like Bush, is thus far a candidate who looks theoretically great on paper to all the professionals in the media-political complex, but not so much to Republican primary voters who are the actual deciders.

Donald Trump again played the (barely) coded racism card when he didn’t contradict a supporter’s birther canards about President Obama. Can he keep doing this without paying a price?

Seems so. The true answer to this question can be found not in Trump’s various outrages — whether the latest or all those that came before — but in the fact that most of his rivals respond to his slurs by either agreeing with him or refusing to take a stand altogether. The only three candidates who immediately criticized Trump this time — Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, and Bush — had nothing to lose by coming out against bigotry. Two of them aren’t polling any better than Walker was, and Bush, though faring somewhat better, is fighting for his political life. The other candidates are cowering as usual or, in Carson’s case, going Trump one better by saying that Muslims should be barred from the presidency.

In 1961, Barry Goldwater advised Republicans that they should “go hunting where the ducks are” by currying favor with segregationist voters in the Deep South. Carson’s campaign manager, Barry Bennett, was similarly unapologetic about his candidate’s intentions in playing the Islamophobia card, telling the Associated Press this week that “Republican primary voters are with us at least 80-20.” Let’s not pretend otherwise.

 

See:http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/32646-focus-carly-fiorina-and-the-gop-outsider-boom