Trump: Look, Hillary Wouldn't Even Win Five Percent of the Vote if She Were a Man

Posted: Apr 27, 2016 1:01 PM
Trump: Look, Hillary Wouldn't Even Win Five Percent of the Vote if She Were a Man

And the tail end of Donald Trump's triumphal rally/press conference/stream-of-consciousness extravaganza last night, he offered an assessment of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, arguing that she's got nothing going for her aside from the "woman's card." In true Trumpian style, he took an observation with a kernel or two of truth and dragged into the realm of childish counter-productivity.  Here's his parting barb:

It's in moments like these when one wishes there were some way to access and download the internal monologues of the Christies, who flanked Trump onstage.  A short Vine of Mrs. Christie's chagrined eyeroll as Trump spouted off about Hillary's gender quickly began making the rounds on social media. It looked as if New Jersey's first lady immediately recognized how those remarks would play, and how they'd probably end up benefiting their intended target. Sure enough, the Clinton campaign anticipated the 'woman card' shot (which he's been using for months), and incorporated it into her victory speech -- which she delivered before Trump used the line again. When he followed their script, Team Hillary was ready:

An easy layup. Through a (::cringe::) "basketball ring," as Ted Cruz called it in hoops-crazy Indiana yesterday, evidently doing his best John Kerry Pander Fail impression.  Writing at The Week, Paul Waldman predicts that Clinton will successfully bait Trump into keeping her beloved "sexism" victimhood storyline alive and well throughout the general election campaign.  "For the candidate vying to be the first woman president, there's no better foil than a man like Trump, who has discarded a series of supermodel wives when they began to get old and thinks that when he comments on a woman's looks in a professional situation he's just paying her a compliment," he writes, concluding:

Clinton will have so many different paths to attack Trump on issues of concern to women that she may not know where to start. But don't be surprised if she baits him into insulting her in ways that every woman voter will recognize. A barbed comment about his age here, a joke about his hair there, an implication about his virility over there — and Trump will respond with a sexist tirade the minute he hears about it. Just the fact that the critique is coming from a woman — and even worse, one with her own power — will send Trump into a rage. I promise you that at some point Trump will call Clinton ugly (even if he doesn't use that word), because he plainly believes that proclaiming his lack of sexual interest in a woman is the most cutting insult he can offer. Few candidates have ever appealed more directly to anxious masculinity than Trump, and every time he gets in a new flame war with someone like Megyn Kelly, many of his supporters are overjoyed. Trump voters pine for a return to the familiar social hierarchies of the past — one part of Making America Great Again is a return to an imagined time when everything was perfect and certain kinds of people knew their place. Yet for every voter who thinks that, there are more who could not want to go back any less.

She'd take subtle digs at his masculinity, then endlessly exploit and amplify his inevitable in-kind counterpunch as more evidence of misogyny.  In a fair world, her cynical and promiscuous use of this ploy should be less potent than ever, given that she and her allies laughably tagged Bernie Sanders as a sexist.  But Trump offers her a giant orange target, with loads of examples to buttress her premise.  He's right that her gender (and the fact that she remained in a political marriage despite multiple indignities) plays a large role in her current station in life.  He's right that the "woman's card" is a central element of her pitch to voters, partially because it helps compensate for her many weaknesses.  It's also probably true that a generic male candidate with her personal flaws, poor political instincts and grating speaking style would likely have been relegated to afterthought status long ago.  But "historic" candidacies in an age of identity politics are what they are.  And Trump is what, and who, he is.  A large majority of women are already heavily predisposed to dislike the GOP frontrunner; roughly 70 percent of female voters hold a negative view of him, with a majority expressing "strongly unfavorable" views.  In his closing comments, Trump noted that "women don't like" Clinton very much, which is fairly accurate.  She's an unpopular figure. Alas...

I'll leave you with an example of the pre-spin blamestorming that's suddenly sprouting up all over the place from Trump's fan club:

For a cult of personality so deeply invested in their Hero Figure's invincibility (and his critics' alleged irrelevance), they're awfully quick to offer excuses in advance of Trump's very likely general election loss -- which he will have built all by himself.