You know what really I’d rather not think about? Ted Cruz’s sex life. You know what I’d like to think about less? Donald Trump’s. And yet here we are in a presidential campaign, with smoke still rising from the terror attacks in Brussels, and the two leading Republican presidential candidates are busy fighting over their wives’ looks, backgrounds, and secret lives. If Ted Cruz and Donald Trump could put down their clubs and Twitter feeds long enough to look in the mirror, they’d see the embarrassing images of modern day cavemen looking back at them.
Let’s start with the disclaimer that Heidi Cruz and Melania Trump are both accomplished, intelligent women. Life is full of mysteries, so I couldn’t tell you why these two professional women chose to marry their respective husbands or why they’ve stayed with them. Has Donald Trump cheated on this current wife? Who knows, but we know from his own prideful declarations that he has cheated before, and bragged about it. Has Ted Cruz cheated on his missus? The National Enquirer wants us to think so, but that Trump ally Roger Stone is impugning his integrity proves nothing.
Cruz himself vehemently denies the allegations, but true or false, I really don’t care; even if it were all true, Cruz would be only be the millionth politician to cheat, and millionth-and-first church-going moralist to paint a picture for the cameras that had nothing to do with life on the other side of the lens.
What I and many other women do care about, however, is the level to which both of these men have deliberately lowered the political process in the last week. After an anti-Trump super PAC ran a barely-seen Facebook ad with a picture of Mrs. Trump laying mostly nude on a bear skin rug back when she was a professional model, Trump blasted the image and leveled a threat against Heidi Cruz to his 6 million-plus Twitter followers. When the Enquirer ran with a story about Cruz’s alleged affairs,no reporter had the bad taste to bring it up, but Cruz called a press conference to talk about it anyway.
A back-and-forth ensued between the two men defending their women (or was it their own egos?), with all of the subtlety of Neanderthals throwing rocks at each other’s heads.
Thanks to Cruz’s press conference calling Trump “a sniveling coward,” and Trump’s Twitter threats to “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz, I can no longer allow my young children to be in the same room as a news report for fear of what they’ll see or hear from the mouths of these two men. Normal Americans living their lives literally have to shield their children from the men running for president instead of encouraging them to aspire to be like them someday. It’s a sad state of affairs, so to speak.
Anyone who thinks that all of this won’t hurt the GOP in November is kidding himself. Hillary Clinton’s sky-high unfavorable ratings become instantly neutralized in a head-to-head match up with Trump, thanks solely to his toxicity among independent and even some Republican female voters. Clinton, who is among the least trusted politicians in America, now beats Trump by 20 points among women, with a gender gap twice the size as the one between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in 2012.
And that was before Trump retweeted an unflattering image of Mrs. Cruz, a Harvard MBA and mother of two young girls, alongside a red carpet photo of the current Mrs. Trump with the caption, “This picture is worth a thousand words.”
Perhaps the most lasting self-inflicted damage to the GOP among women voters, however, may have come from Indiana, where Gov. Mike Pence signed a historic abortion restriction bill. Among other things, the legislation requires women to register with the state if they choose to end a pregnancy if their child is diagnosed with a terminal condition in utero.
Doctors, along with even some female GOP state lawmakers who describe themselves as pro-life. went to Pence before he signed the bill to warn him of the dangerous conditions the bill would create for women whose unborn children have been diagnosed with genetic diseases, but Pence signed the bill into law nonetheless.
After the massive losses they suffered in 2012 elections, the 2013 GOP autopsy had a long list of adorable ideas for the party about how to win women voters in the future. The document included guidance like “make a better effort at listening to female voters” and “develop messaging training to let women know we are fighting for them.”
My best advice would be to change course and act like the last year never happened.
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