Trump’s party of men

The Washington Post reports:

The Republican Party’s fight to save President Trump’s embattled Supreme Court nominee amid allegations of sexual assault has surfaced deep anxieties over the hypermasculine mind-set that has come to define the GOP in the nation’s roiling gender debate.

The images are striking: The specter of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee — all 11 of them men — questioning U.S. Appeals Court Judge Brett A. Kavanaugh’s female accuser. A senior GOP aide working on the confirmation resigning amid his own sexual harassment allegations. A viral photo of “women for Kavanaugh” featuring more men than women. A South Carolina Republican congressman making a crude joke about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg being groped by Abraham Lincoln.

And then there is the party’s id, Trump, who as a candidate denied more than a dozen accusations of sexual assault and harassment and sought to silence and retaliate against his accusers — and who as president has defended one accused man after another.

The moment brings into sharp relief the gulf that has emerged between the two political parties as they navigate America’s cultural reckoning on sexual assault. Democrats have embraced the #MeToo movement to galvanize female voters and attempt to lift scores of female candidates to victory in November’s midterm elections. A growing number of Democratic women are also considering presidential campaigns in 2020.

By contrast, strategists in both parties say Trump’s agenda and style — and the fact that the GOP leadership stands mostly in lockstep with him — are undoing years of often painstaking work by party leaders to court more female and minority voters.

Trump risks solidifying the Republican Party as the party of men. Though the president is not on the ballot this fall, he is framing the midterm elections as a referendum on his presidency, and that has leaders and operatives in party fearing what GOP strategist Alex Castellanos termed a “pink wave” of women powering a Democratic takeover of the House, and perhaps the Senate, to deliver a rebuke to Trump. [Continue reading…]

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