Republican War On Women Turning Into Another Battlefront In The Republican Civil War?
Erick Erickson disinvited Trump from his for-profit GOP presidential forum today. "I am just not willing to give up being a decent person for Donald Trump," the notorious sexist pig Erickson told Red State attendees. Some applauded, some booed. But, ironically, Megyn Kelly had taken him on for his own grotesque misogyny last year on Fox (see video above above.) Planned Parenthood notes that Trump-slayer Erick Erickson compared pregnant women to “female animals” and called Texas state Senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis "Abortion Barbie." Dave Zirin tweeted this morning that "Since Erickson is a noxious, vulgar, grandstanding bigot, his anti-Trump posture appears like a case of self-loathing." Remember when he called First Lady Michelle Obama a "Marxist harpy?" And he's the head of the GOP tone police now?
Trump-- not to mention the Kochs-- have forced the presidential contenders to rush headlong away from the political mainstream and way over towards fringe right-wing positions they will have trouble defending in future general elections. The candidates are alienating potential general election voters to compete with Trump for the extremists in the Evangelical-dominated Iowa GOP. As yesterday's Washington Post put it, "In the span of a few days this week, Scott Walker emphasized that he opposes abortions, with no exceptions in cases of rape or incest or to save the woman’s life. Marco Rubio shot down a suggestion that he advocated exceptions for rape or incest."
[I]n the most wide-open Republican presidential field in memory, most of the contenders continued a rush to the right this week in the hope of capturing the attention of the GOP base. The strategy is clearly aimed at primary contests in states such as Iowa and South Carolina, which are dominated by large blocs of evangelicals and other conservative voters.Hillary isn't missing a beat. She sent out an e-mail after the debate that noted that "Ten men stood on stage and ignored 51% of the American population."
But it could also cause the eventual nominee problems in a general election with a more moderate electorate. On social issues ranging from abortion to same-sex marriage, much of the Republican field has now taken positions that are at odds with mainstream American opinion. For example, 3 out of 4 Americans say a woman should be able to obtain a legal abortion if she becomes pregnant as a result of rape.
Moderate Republicans said Friday they are concerned about the potential for Democrats to revive their “war on women” line of attack from 2012, when they successfully portrayed presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other Republicans as out of touch with or even hostile to the concerns of women.
Yesterday's NY Times addressed the Republican Party problem with women even before Trump and Erickson got into their mud wrestling match last night.
Republican Party leaders, whose presidential nominees have not won a majority of female voters since 1988, are setting their sights on making electoral gains among women in the 2016 presidential race and trying to close the gender gap in swing states like Florida and Colorado. But the remarks and tone about women at Thursday’s debate-- and the sight of 10 male candidates owning the stage-- may have only damaged the party’s standing among female voters in the 2016 general election, according to pollsters and some Republican leaders.Of course, some might point out that the Koch's candidate, Scott Walker, was not disinvited to the Red State conclave even though he had just told the American public that he would rather see women die than be allowed to have an abortion to save her life.
“So much of the debate was all about appealing to male voters and other parts of the Republican base, rather than doing anything to help the party’s general election goal of trying to be more inclusive,” said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “By being callous or showing disregard toward women, and then laughing it off with a charge of political correctness or simply saying they’re taking conservative stands, the Republicans could win over some of the older male Republican voters out there. But what about female voters?”
Democrats were gleeful at the tone of the debate, already imagining future campaign advertisements featuring debate cutaways with Mr. Rubio saying that future Americans will “call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies.”
...With the possibility that a woman could be the nominee of a major political party for the first time, Republicans are facing the likelihood of an even more complicated environment than they have had in recent presidential elections. Gallup polls show that female voters have been favoring the Democratic presidential nominees since the 1990s, often by increasingly large numbers.
...“Not one candidate attempted to persuade women voters,” said Margaret Hoover, a Republican consultant and author. “The G.O.P. needs to fight for women votes because it believes our policies are better for women. There’s a difference between pandering and vote-courting: Thursday night, G.O.P. candidates did neither for women weary of the Republican brand.”
Maybe Erickson was just angry Trump attacked a Fox News colleague... or maybe he was being paid off... in one way or another. After all, that's all that has ever motivated Erickson and even GOP propagandist and right-wing hack Byron York admits that Trump walked into a trap set for him by GOP Establishment desperate to resuscitate Jeb Bush. Or Scott Walker. Does anyone think Rove couldn't have had a handing this? As Laura Ingraham tweeted this morning, "GOP ought to pause & ponder this Q today-- Can Jeb, Scott, Marco or Kasich win WH w/out Donald Trump supporters?" The Wall Street Journal never mentioned a Rove/Ailes trap but they sure painted a picture of one Friday. The GOP Establishment had to get rid of Trump and the Fox anchors had it pretty well figured out. "Trump’s refusal, before a national audience, to rule out an independent White House bid sent a wave of anger and anxiety through the GOP ranks, stretching from conservative grassroots activists to veteran party insiders."
The Republican nominating contest has revolved around Mr. Trump for much of the summer. The billionaire reality-television star entered the first debate in the 2016 primary with big leads in most public-opinion surveys and a stranglehold on the media narrative. He stole the show again Thursday, dominating a debate in which the first-time candidate was flanked by three senators, three governors and the son and brother of the last two Republican presidents.
“Donald Trump remains the main story, and that is not necessarily good for the Republican Party,” said Vin Weber, a Republican former congressman who is supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. “It distracts from these other candidates being able to establish their own brand.”
...In an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday, Mr. Trump did not back away from the threat to wage an independent bid. “I’m a natural negotiator, and I like leverage,” Mr. Trump said. “If somebody gets in that I like and if I’m treated with respect, I would not run as an independent. But I want to leave the option open, just in case that doesn’t happen.”
Most Republicans are reluctant to attack Mr. Trump or pressure party leaders to force him from the main stage in the next candidates’ debate in California in September in part because they want to win over his supporters if he falters. Even Mr. Trump’s detractors and rivals for the nomination said it would be futile to pressure him.
...Trump’s strength has been giving voice to the party’s legions of rank-and-file members frustrated with Washington and professional politicians. A drop off in their support could be what ultimately forces Mr. Trump to directly address the third-party option.
"My concern is that he’ll split the party or go the independent route and hand the election to Hillary,” said Chuck Rabe, 71, a retired financial planner from Cincinnati.