So, I've been mulling over this latest Trump debacle – and of course the question that keeps coming up is: Why, after all that he's said and done – and especially his history of denigrating comments about women – is this particular bit of slime creating so much furor among Republicans?
In the past months we've been subjected to multiple Trumpisms, any of which coming from a normal person would have caused even the most craven of of his own party to speak out, and would have likely effectively ended the campaign. But not so with this sack of garbage. The Republicans have continued to suck it up, make excuses and let his comments slide.
But this time, for some reason, Trump's comments have not only created a firestorm within the party, you have Republicans announcing they will not vote for him, disinviting him to campaign events, calling for him to step down from the election, and actually saying his comments were beyond acceptable; “disgusting, vile, sickening” are a few of the adjectives used.
Which brings me back to my original question: Why this time? It's certainly not his first foray into “deplorable” territory – his comments are well-documented, I'm not going to attempt to repeat them all here. But through it all the Republican organization has stood by him...so why is this finally the straw that broke the camel's back?
My theory? & yes – I know this is not going to sit well with some, and I'm usually the last person to cry misogyny or racism … but, here it is:
In ALL of his prior repulsive comments, Trump has always targeted: non-whites, “foreigners,” Democrats that Republicans already hate (ie: Hillary Clinton), women that don't meet the GOP standards of attractive (Rosie O'Donnell; even Carly Fiorina), and individuals or groups that basically have some weakness already – even Heidi Cruz, whose main issue is that she is married to Ted Cruz who nobody (Republican or Democrat) seems to like.
In classic “Bullying 101” fashion he's always attacked someone who is already weak, and already viewed with disdain by the Republican bullies as being out of the mainstream.
But lo and behold! What people heard on that Access Hollywood video was Trump attacking THEM! He was denigrating “beautiful” white women! Women that Republicans see as respectable, successful, and attractive, and most importantly – part of their “tribe.”
Women who could actually be Mitch McConnell's or Jeb Bush's daughters. Trump just jumped the fence and came into their yards!
All of a sudden his comments got personal. And notice the way they've responded? Not with outrage that he's once again shown his lack of respect for any human who's not him, but that he's talking about women who could be “their” women … their property. “MY daughters, MY sisters.”
“I have a wife. I have a daughter. I have a mother, and I have five sisters all of whom I love dearly,” [Sen. Mike] Lee said. “It's occurred to me on countless occasions today that if anyone spoke to my wife, my daughter, my mother or any of my five sisters the way Mr. Trump has spoken to women, I wouldn't hire that person. I wouldn't hire that person, wouldn't want to be associated with that person...”
“I am sickened by what I heard today,” [House Speaker Paul] Ryan said. “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified.”
“As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize directly to women and girls everywhere, and take full responsibility for the utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape,” [Sen. Mitch McConnell] said late Friday.
“Today!” We've all been hearing Trump speak that way about all women for decades – even his own wives and at least one daughter … but only with this tape did it suddenly dawn on the Republicans that it could be their own women that Trump was speaking to or about.
I don't have to repeat here the names and women he's attempted to shame over the decades, let alone the last several months; you've heard them often enough, but as I think about it, with very few exceptions every one of those women has been … not a “WASP.” They've mostly been non-white, or from another country, or successful in occupations traditionally dominated by white men, or not conforming with an Aryan profile of attractive, and most importantly they've not been “owned” by white Republican men.
For the Republicans this isn't about Trump's lack of respect for people in general, or even for women in general. It's about the fact that it's maybe – finally – sinking in that he's “coming for them,” and maybe – finally – they're starting to understand that they too need to be afraid.