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“It’s Time For You To Speak Out Against Trump”: How You’ll Feel If Trump Is Elected And You Did Nothing To Stop Him

Earlier this week, a friend of many years signed on to Facebook and surprised me — and surely many others who know her — by writing a short but powerful post about politics.

Specifically, she addressed that small and vocal percentage of Bernie Sanders supporters who insist they will never vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election.

My friend’s message to them: If Hillary loses by a narrow margin, you will share the blame.

This is so unlike her. She has plenty of political opinions she shares privately, but on social media, she is relentlessly kind and uncontroversial. She is also, however, so worried about the future of our country.

The ensuing discussion on her Facebook wall was spirited but never ugly. She was lucky. I’m not naming her, nor am I quoting her exact words, because I don’t want angry strangers to read this and hunt for her on Facebook.

Almost daily, I hear from women who want to either explain why they keep secret their support for Clinton or share their regret that they didn’t. We veterans of the misogyny wars — women who are columnists, activists or in a leadership role of any kind — know how ugly it can get when a woman dares to share her opinion. But this campaign season has been a harrowing initiation for a whole lot of women who had no idea just how quickly strangers — and people who are supposed to love them — can turn on a woman for speaking her mind.

Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, which makes this a presidential campaign like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Here in the U.S., I mean. I’ve written many times already about his misogyny, xenophobia and racism. To leaders of countries around the world, he is an abomination. His rhetoric of hate turns rallies into mobs and deceives so many into thinking he actually cares about them.

This is why all of you good women and men who normally steer clear of politics must find ways to influence the debate over who should be our next president. You are the ones who can have the greatest influence in winnowing those margins. Most of the people in your lives don’t care what people like me have to say about elections. They do, however, care what you think.

It can be scary wading into those choppy waters. When I saw my friend’s Facebook post, I thought of a 46-year-old woman who called me at my desk in the Plain Dealer newsroom in September 2008.

I had written several columns during that campaign season about how white working-class voters were reportedly struggling with the issue of race in the presidential election. I come from the white working class, and I knew from raw experience the content of too many of those conversations.

In those columns, I encouraged people like me, who were eager to elect the first black president of the United States, to talk to their loved ones — those who might only watch Fox so-called News Channel but were willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint from someone they love.

That woman who called me was one of the brave souls who took me up on it.

In a trembling voice, she told me she had finally told her beloved father, “Stop.”

I described our conversation in an essay for The Nation the day after the election:

“He said he wouldn’t vote for a black man,” she told me. “And I held up my hand and said, Daddy, stop.”

She said it was the first time in her forty-six years that she had stood up to her father, and that her knees were trembling after she did it. When I asked her what happened next, she laughed.

“Well, after he got over the shock, we talked. And we’re still talking. I don’t know if he’s going to vote for Obama, but at least he understands now why I will.”

Eight years later, I still think about that woman because of the peace she described washing over her after she had stood up for what was right. There’s nothing like it, and there’s only one way to find it.

You may think you don’t have it in you to speak up when someone you know talks about why he or she is voting for Donald Trump.

You’re just one person, you might say.

Multiply you by millions, I say.

I’m asking that you consider how you’re going to feel if Trump is elected and you know you could have done something to stop him.

 

By: Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and Professional in Residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism; The National Memo, May 26, 2016

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Women Voters | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Trump Pivots To the General Election…By Attacking Women”: The Days Of Women Succumbing To Insults Are Long Over

It has been fascinating to observe pundits who claim that Donald Trump will change his stripes during the general election in a way that appeals to a broader constituency. I’ve always thought that those assumptions were based on the idea that he was simply playing a character during the primaries – much as he did on TV. But that ignores the fact that he has been a narcissistic bully for a very long time.

Now that Trump’s competitors have dropped out of the race and he is the presumptive Republican nominee, the bullying insults to anyone who challenges him have not stopped. Last night in New Mexico, his target was Gov. Susan Martinez – who happens to be the chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, the first Latina governor in the U.S. and the first female governor of New Mexico. But of course, this is what you get from Trump if you refuse to endorse him.

But the Donald wasn’t done.

Martinez was not the only powerful woman that Trump attacked at the rally. He also went after Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has become an outspoken surrogate for Clinton — and one is not afraid to challenge Trump.

During the rally, Trump repeatedly referred to Warren as “Pocahontas,” a reference to the Native American heritage that she claims.

“She is probably the senator that’s doing just about the least in the United States Senate. She’s a total failure,” Trump said. “She said she was an Indian. She said because her cheekbones were high, she was an Indian, that she was Native American. And, you know, we have these surrogates — people like her, total failures.”

The pairing of racial slurs with personal attacks on females who challenge him are a two-fer for the Donald in that he manages to offend pretty much every constituency that isn’t white male. Trump’s ignorance and misogyny are on display when he spews this kind of nonsense and then says that he doesn’t want to lose the votes of women.

“They say I’m setting records with men — it’s so unexciting to me,” Trump said. “I want to set records with women, not with men.”

I suspect that he actually WILL set records with women. He’ll find that the days of women succumbing to insults like this are long over.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, May 25, 2016

May 25, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Women Voters | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“They’re Not An Interesting Story Line”: Hillary’s Army Of Women Conquers New York, Occupies The Democratic Party

We talk endlessly about the youth vote in the Democratic primaries, as Bernie Sanders wins young voters four- and five-to-one. But young voters are typically around one-fifth of electorate; under 30s were 17 percent in New York, according to the exit polls.

But we talk less about the women’s vote, which made up an eye-popping 59 percent of the Democratic vote. That’s three out of five voters, with Clinton winning more than three out of five of those votes (63-37). But hey, they’re not an interesting story line.

Actually that 59 percent number isn’t eye-popping if you’ve done any homework. Women were 58 percent of the Democratic primary vote in New York in 2008, when Clinton beat Barack Obama by one point more than the 16 she topped Sanders by yesterday. And it tracks with other results this year. Women were 58 percent in Florida, 56 percent in Ohio, and 55 percent even in Michigan, which Clinton lost (although she carried women by 51-44 percent). There’s hardly a state where women weren’t at least 55 percent of the vote (in primaries; caucuses don’t have gender breakdowns), and there aren’t many states where Clinton didn’t win among women by double digits.

So what? True, it’s not surprising. But just because something isn’t surprising doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting or that it doesn’t have ramifications. This is, and does.

What’s interesting about it is this: Sanders’s campaign surely knew the 2008 exit-poll data. Don’t you think a candidate might try to craft a message that would appeal more directly to three-fifths of the electorate he’s trying to woo?

Assuming Sanders does lose this nomination, his supporters will complain about the corrupt bosses and the system being rigged and all that. But those who decide to take a slightly more introspective approach to their Monday-morning quarterbacking might ask why their candidate didn’t bother to make any effort to speak more directly to the particular concerns of the groups that are the Democratic Party.

I know, I know—Citizens United affects everybody, health care affects everybody, the big banks affect everybody. You don’t have to tell me. I’m a universalist critic of excessive identity politics going back to the 1990s. At the same time, some measure of identity politics is necessary and good! Different groups of people have actual distinct concerns in life, and politicians are supposed to address them.

When Sanders talks about the Supreme Court, it’s always about Citizens United, and only occasionally about Roe v. Wade. When Clinton went on that riff at the Brooklyn debate about how in all the debates they’d never been asked a single question about Roe, I bet a lot of light bulbs went off over a lot of heads. Sanders didn’t actively alienate women as he did African Americans and their conservative, reality-distorting votes, but he didn’t go out of his way for them either.

As for ramifications, the results tell us a little something about how a general election might play out against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. It should be pointed out that Trump crushed it among women in New York on the Republican side, since after all as we know he cherishes women and will be the best president for women in history, forget about it. He got 57 percent to John Kasich’s 28 percent and Cruz’s 15 percent. But there, women were only 44 percent of the vote. And in terms of raw vote totals, Clinton hauled in almost exactly twice the number of votes Trump did—1.037 million to 518,000. That means about 665,000 women voted for Clinton, while just 215,000 voted for Trump.

The story has been similar in most contests. In Florida, Trump’s best big state outside of New York, Clinton got 675,000 votes from women, and Trump 464,000. It adds up. Of course Trump is going to dominate her among men overall (she’ll beat him, one assumes, among black and Latino men, just because they’re so overwhelmingly Democratic and, in the case of Latinos, she doesn’t want to throw them out of the country).

The big secret questions of whether Clinton can make it to the White House are these: How much sexism is out there in 2016, in terms of men just not wanting a woman president; and how many women will say “I don’t like that Hillary” a hundred times up until Election Day but then get in the voting booth and think, “Well, woman president…” and pull her lever.

We’re not going to know these things until the morning of Nov. 9. We do know that we’re headed toward a real battle of the sexes this fall.

 

By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, April 20, 2016

April 21, 2016 Posted by | Hillary Clinton, Women Voters, Young Voters | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Good Advice For A Presidential Candidate”: Kasich Explains Government Spending To Woman: ‘You Ever Been On A Diet?’

At a town hall Tuesday in Dubuque, Iowa, John Kasich gave an interesting answer to a woman who asked the GOP candidate and former chairman of the House Budget Committee his advice on how to keep federal spending under control.

“I know how to do this. I mean, I know how to balance budgets; I know how to cut taxes; I know how to deal with the bureaucracy. I know how to do these things. And I get there, and we’ll get it done — but it won’t be done overnight,” Kasich said, actually sounding at least somewhat sensible. “It’s gonna take years to get there, because the debt is really high. And there’s no way to just slash all these programs — people wouldn’t accept that. But they will accept change.”

Then his answer got interesting. “And then you get there, and once you’re there, then you say, ‘How are we gonna stay here?’ And that’s where things kind of fall apart, because — Have you ever been on a diet?” Kasich said to the woman.

The woman replied, “Many times.” — to which he laughed and responded, “Well, you’re the perfect example!”

“Okay, so we set a goal, and you reach it. And what happens? How about a little spumoni? How about a trip over to Mario’s, an extra — you ever go to Mario’s? We were there last night. How about a little spumoni? How about another piece of garlic bread?”

The key, he said, was to maintain the original discipline — which might also be a good advice for a presidential candidate making personal remarks to people who ask questions at town halls.

 

By: Eric Kleefeld, The National Memo, November 4, 2015

 

November 5, 2015 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates, John Kasich, Women Voters | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Whose Positions Are ‘Extreme”?: Marco Rubio, ‘A Woman Has A Right To Choose’, But Not Really

A few years ago, shortly before Election Day 2014, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) realized he was struggling with women voters and he worried about whether the gender gap would derail his campaign. Walker responded with a TV ad in which, in the context of the abortion debate, the governor defended leaving these decisions “to a woman and her doctor.”

Substantively, the rhetoric was ridiculous – it reflected the exact opposite of Walker’s policy agenda – but the Republican candidate saw value in trying to use his rivals’ phrasing to make his own far-right policies sound more mainstream.

BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski reported the other day on a similar tactic adopted by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

“Again, terrible tragedy what happened in Oregon, but you’re right, every single year unborn in this country are killed legally, through laws that allow that to happen,” Rubio said when radio host Glenn Beck asked him to respond to Hillary Clinton’s comments on the Oregon shooting, which Beck used to pivot to the issue of abortion.

“Look, I recognize this is tough issue and I actually do believe that a woman has a right to choose with her body,” he added. “The problem is that when there’s a pregnancy, there’s another life involved and that life has a right to live. And so, as policymakers we have to choose between two competing rights, and I’ve chosen as a matter of principle to choose life in that debate.”

First, it’s a lingering mystery why we still see competitive candidates for the nation’s highest office associating themselves with Glenn Beck, chatting about who they see as radical, without appreciating the irony.

Second, it’s jarring for Rubio, who’s been a consistent far-right voice on issues such as abortion and contraception access, boast that he “actually” does “believe that a woman has a right to choose with her body” – though he’s comfortable pursuing an agenda to curtail and restrict that right.

The Florida senator added that Hillary Clinton “has extreme positions” when it comes to reproductive rights.

Rubio has argued more than once in recent months that if a woman is impregnated by a rapist, the government has the authority to force her to take the pregnancy to term, regardless of her wishes.

How eager is he, exactly, for a debate about whose positions are “extreme”?

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 12, 2015

October 14, 2015 Posted by | Marco Rubio, Women Voters, Women's Health | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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