Republicans discovered something shocking about presidential candidate Donald Trump this week – he’s sexist. Gasp you should. Who would have thought all of his comments about pigs, dogs, slobs, menstruation, body ranking and sex tapes would lead to this assessment? Well actually they didn’t. It was only the recently unearthed Access Hollywood tape which showed Trump bragging about being able to sexually assault women because he’s famous which has finally derailed his campaign, and Republicans are fast ditching the toxic Trump Train in droves.
The response to the tape was instantaneous and damning; the media exploded, top Republicans withdrew endorsements, thousands of women shared their stories of sexual assault and Hillary Clinton called the remarks “horrific”. Even though Trump has a long and well-documented record of being sexist about and to women, it was this comment that finally, almost universally, turned people off. Immediately recognizing how much trouble he was in, Trump, who never apologizes, swiftly did a sorry not sorry apology via social media – and then immediately screwed it up by refusing to take responsibility for his actions, dismissing what he said as “locker room banter” and deflecting by pointing an accusatory finger at Bill Clinton’s past.
Through his “actions speak louder than words” defence, Trump has revealed that he doesn’t actually understand what he said or that words matter. What’s dangerous about his dismissive attitude is that it normalizes rape and promotes ignorance about sexual assault – and by speaking from a position of national leadership it becomes a pretty powerful message. So what can Trump expect from women now? Not submission. Trump’s popularity with women has hovered around 30% for most of his campaign, and this latest development is likely to make his numbers drop even further. As much as Trump would like to deny and deflect, the fact is his sexist views are going to cost him this election.
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