This week, a friend texted me, “I feel a panic that won’t stop.” I didn’t have to ask what she meant; we are, after all, less than three weeks from the midterms. “#MeToo,” I replied.
Many women I know — though, of course, not only women — are walking around with a churning knot of terror in their stomachs. The confirmation of the cruel former frat boy Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court brought back the anguish and degradation so many of us felt after the 2016 election. Donald Trump grows more thuggish and mendacious by the day; “gaslighting,” a term taken from a play about an abusive husband trying to drive his wife insane, has become a byword of our national life.
Republicans are increasingly explicit about campaigning to preserve male power. Criticizing the #MeToo movement early this month, Trump said it’s “a very scary time for young men in America.” Republican congressman Andy Barr of Kentucky ran a commercial attacking his opponent, former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, for describing herself as a feminist. The Washington Post wrote about how an “outbreak of male resentment” is poised to play a “defining role” in the midterms.
Chances are that running as the party of aggrieved men won’t work for Republicans — the statistics website FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a roughly five-in-six chance of at least taking the House. But those are Russian roulette odds. It is unlikely that Republicans will keep total control of Congress, allowing an increasingly authoritarian Trump to consolidate his power. It is very far from impossible, though. [Continue reading…]