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Conservative CNN commentator Amanda Carpenter penned a Washington Post op-ed slamming the Republican Party for making women “out for fools” by ignoring and excusing a “brazen and unapologetic misogynist” in their nominee, Donald Trump.
Trump’s history of misogynistic comments drew new scrutiny after a 2005 tape surfaced of Trump bragging about allegedly sexually assaulting women, followed by 11 women coming forward to accuse him of inappropriate sexual behavior. Nevertheless, Trump’s backers have jumped to his defense, trying to discredit the accusers’ claims, attacking and victim-blaming them, and claiming Trump’s comments may have been an exaggeration. Many attempted to use Trump’s spin that his lewd comments about assault were simply “locker room banter.”
In an October 25 op-ed, Carpenter, a former communications adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), decried the GOP for abandoning the party’s women, who she says have “eagerly defended the party from charges of sexism” only to be made “out for fools” by the party. Carpenter wrote that the party refused to “defend women from this raging sexist,” calling Trump “a brazen and unapologetic misogynist.” According to Carpenter, Republicans found it more important to appeal to the types of Trump voters who call Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton a “bitch” and a “cunt” than to appeal to women voters.
Carpenter also condemned the conservative “locker room” spin, stating that Trump’s comments were “a confession of assault.” Carpenter also pointed out that her party could not have been surprised by the tapes, noting that “Trump’s chauvinism was well-documented in decades’ worth” of material. Carpenter ended her op-ed with an ultimatum for the Republican Party and the women’s vote: “defend us or lose us.” From the October 25 Washington Post op-ed:
As a former communications aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and former senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), I can personally testify that Republican women have, for years, fended off accusations from the Democrats of the party’s allegedly anti-woman beliefs. What did we get for it? The nomination — by way of a largely older, male voting base — of a brazen and unapologetic misogynist.
I want to ask the men leading the GOP some questions. Why didn’t you defend women from this raging sexist especially after so many Republican women — for so many years — eagerly defended the party from charges of sexism? You must make us out for fools.
Over the course of the GOP primary, it became clear that too many Republicans felt it was too politically risky to do anything that would offend the types of voters Trump was attracting in droves — the types who showed up at rallies wearing T-shirts that said, “Trump that b—-” and “She’s a c—, vote for Trump.”
Somehow, in some amorphous but unambiguous way, it was decided that appealing to those voters was more important than appealing to women.
Trump’s men have told women this is “locker room” talk — that we should accept this is how men speak behind closed doors, get over it, and vote Trump.
Perhaps, they should talk to some rape survivors. They need to hear what those women heard when Trump bragged about grabbing a woman’s genitals, aggressively kissing women without consent, and getting away with it because he’s rich and famous. That wasn’t boyish banter. That was a confession of assault.
I expect that Republicans will try to pretend, postelection, as if those recordings were some one-off, unpredictable revelation. They’ll say they didn’t know he was so deviant.
But I won’t accept that explanation. Trump’s chauvinism was well-documented in decades’ worth of publicly available smutty television, radio and print interviews long before he became the nominee.
Yet, the Republican Party ignored it all.
I will not vote for Trump. I’ll remain a committed conservative and will vote for down-ballot Republicans, but the top of the ticket will be blank. I didn’t leave the GOP — the GOP left me for Trump.
Now, I don’t purport to speak for all women, but I know I am not alone. I am one of the many women the Republican Party left behind this election.
The GOP is about to learn a hard lesson when it comes to the women’s vote: defend us or lose us.