We all have an image in our minds of what we think the “typical” Trump supporter looks like: an angry, middle-aged, working-class white guy, weathered and rough-looking, maybe missing some teeth and sporting jeans, a t-shirt, and a MAGA hat.
But is that really the typical Trump supporter or just the image Trump’s campaign promoted to create pathos for the dispossessed working class, long ignored by establishment Democrats?
In actuality, the median household income for Trump voters is $72,000, and in the 2016 CNN exit poll, 51% of people who were asked whether they had “some college” were Trump voters.
So Trump supporters aren’t necessarily destitute, low information voters. Theoretically, they might even have a better-than-average chance of getting access to the resources necessary to develop critical reading/thinking skills as well as the financial means to purchase technology that allows them to engage with the wider world.
And 42% of these Trump voters were women: Republicans, Independents, and yes, some Democrats.
Which brings me to my main point: Women with even a modicum of privilege, intelligence, and access to media should have known better than to vote for Trump. They should have done better for their own daughters.
Don’t get me wrong: Men are equally to blame. They should have known better too. The whole damn Midwest, West, South, and Southwest should have known better.
But women? When so many of them have been sexually assaulted and or verbally abused by men like Trump? When so many of their own daughters are vulnerable to sexual predators? When they knew exactly what sort of man Trump was before they voted? It’s almost inconceivable.
But what, specifically, did they know about Trump? To answer that question, I imagined what it would be like to be a “typical” woman Trump voter, based on CNN exit poll statistics: white, Republican, married (presumably with kids), over forty-five, perhaps some college education, a household income of $72,000, a Protestant who goes to church once a week, living in a rural area, and whose primary source of political information is Fox News.
Then, I immersed myself in the Fox News website for an entire afternoon, reading stories and watching clips from that crucial four-month period between Trump’s nomination in July and his election in November.
Afterwards, while taking a long, hot shower to scrub off the filthy feeling of having lost a beautiful day reading right wing propaganda, I came to the conclusion that there were several well-publicized news items that women voters in particular should have recognized as red flags.
Although Trump supporters might have been low information voters when it came to understanding his platform, they were high information voters when it came to assessing his character.
For example, there’s indisputable evidence that Trump bragged about forcing himself on women. There were ninety-seven stories posted on the Fox News website between 7/19/16 and 11/8/16 that reference Trump’s hot mic conversation with Billy Bush. This means there’s no way any avid fan of Fox News could have missed hearing that tape or reading the transcript in which Trump infamously bragged, “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Funny how lots of conservatives condemn Bill Clinton for abusing his fame and power to take advantage of women, but nonetheless voted for Trump anyway.
Trump mocked a reporter with a disability. Of course the slanted Fox News story makes the case that this is no big deal because Trump mocks lots of people this way, but the fact that he would mock anyone like this, especially someone who is disabled, should be troubling because it’s straight up bullying.
Republican women are against bullying, right? We know this because they made such a big deal about praising Melania’s platform. So help me out here, then, because I’m confused: Is online bullying somehow more troubling than bullying in person? Is bullying acceptable when the bully is a grown man? Is it okay if the victim of bullying is disabled as long as he’s an adult? Is it okay when the bully is a serial bully because it’s just part of his personality and he can’t change?
Trump reportedly had an affair with a Playboy centerfold while married to Melania. You’d think an affair alone would be enough to call Trump’s character into question (especially for people who demonize Bill Clinton), but do a little simple math and the story looks even worse: the affair must have happened while Melania was pregnant and/or when she was a new mother.
I don’t know one married woman who wouldn’t view this as a violation of trust for multiple reasons, but for some reason Trump gets a pass?
According to Miss Universe 1996, Alicia Machado, Trump called her “Miss Piggy,” “Miss Housekeeping,” and then later “disgusting” (in a series of tweets) after she revealed this information to the world. Between July 2016 and November 2016, Fox ran sixty-seven stories which referenced Trump’s alleged mistreatment of Alicia Machado. No one paying attention to Fox News during this time period could have possibly been unaware of her accusations.
Remember how pissed off Republicans were when Hillary called them “deplorables”? I guess it’s okay to say these things about Machado because she’s Venezuelan?
Trump was accused by teen contestants of walking in on them changing their clothes at the Miss USA Pageant – something he bragged about on The Howard Stern Show. Fox ran this story in October 12, 2016, quoting Trump’s earlier interview with Stern, in which he said: “I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else. And you know, no men are anywhere…I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And, therefore, I’m inspecting it. I’m inspecting it. I want to make sure everything is good…You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”
Somehow this isn’t problematic, but Anthony Weiner’s sexting is? Mmkay.
A woman accused Trump of raping her in 1994 when she was a teen, suing him but then dropping the lawsuit three times because of alleged threats made against her. The lawsuit also names Level 3 sex offender and Trump friend Jeffrey Epstein, who has a history of soliciting, raping, and molesting minors.
I don’t have anything sarcastic to say about this one. This is sick business, and I’ll wager we haven’t heard the last of allegations like this against Trump.
Finally, Trump allegedly groped or forced himself on more than a dozen different women who either worked or socialized with him in various capacities over a period of several years. Fox ran thirty-five stories about this between 10/12/2016 and 10/16/2016 alone. These accusers’ stories, published originally in The New York Times and People Magazine, were corroborated by friends’ accounts.
Funny how Trump voters seem to believe that all the women who accused Bill Clinton of having improper relations with them were telling the truth, yet the women accusing Trump of the same thing must have been lying as part of a liberal plot to smear him.
And these are just some of the red flag issues publicized during the four months leading up to the election. Even if only a fraction of these allegations are true, Trump is at the very least a bully, misogynist, groper, and creeper with possible pedophilic tendencies. And that’s putting it nicely.
In light of all this, given what you did know, what you were undoubtedly aware of, if you’re a woman who voted for Trump, I want to ask you some questions:
When someone bullies your kid for being different, do you make excuses for the bully?
If a man grabs your daughter by the pussy, or if the star of her school’s football team brags in public that he can do anything he wants to her, will you laugh it off as “locker room talk” or say “boys will be boys”?
If your daughter and a dozen of her friends all tell the same story about a boy in their class who groped them, will you accuse them of lying?
If you find out your daughter’s male soccer coach is walking into the locker room when the girls are changing, ogling them and then bragging about it to his friends, will you tell your daughter it’s his right because it’s his team? Or that the girls on the team should expect this kind of treatment because it’s what they signed up for?
If your daughter tells you she’s been raped, will you threaten her until she shuts up?
There was a time when I would have assumed—naively, perhaps—that your answers to these questions would have been an angry and resounding “No!” But I’m not so sure anymore. According to CNN’s exit poll, when voters were asked the question “Does Donald Trump’s treatment of women bother you?”, 87% of Trump voters answered “no” compared to only 10% of Clinton voters.
This isn’t low information; this is culturally-embedded conservative misogyny borne in part out of the worst kind of Christian indoctrination.
But those emails. But Bill Clinton. But Obama …
But nothing. Trump is a man with a well-documented history of sexually and verbally abusing women. There is no disputing that.
Admit it: You helped elect a version of the same guy who used to treat (or still treats) you like garbage; the guy who will make fun of your kid because he has a disability; the guy who will objectify, grope, and sexually or verbally abuse your daughters and destroy their self-esteem—or much worse.
You sold your daughters out in exchange for false promises, and now they’re growing up in a world in which it’s becoming even more and more acceptable for men to treat them badly.
Next time, do better. For them and for all of us.