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Over the last 16 months of this exhaustive election circus cycle, we have watched as Republican elected officials have stood steadfast by their presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Twisting themselves into knots to defend the indefensible, all because they decided to place Party and perceived power above country.
Since Donald Trump’s campaign kicked off on June 16, 2015 with a barrage of offenses – beginning with his now infamous line on “Mexican illegals being rapists and murderers” – his nonstop deplorable stream of consciousness hasn’t slowed. Nothing, including Trump stating that he could “shoot someone on Fifth Ave and not lose support,” has brought one-time respectable Republicans to condemn him.
The Republican Party has stood by Trump as he insulted a Gold Star family, POWs, veterans suffering from PTSD, mocked a disabled reporter, hailed the unconstitutional method of “stop and frisk,” called the now exonerated Central Park 5 guilty, insulted a former Ms. Universe by referring to her as “Ms. Housekeeping,” called pregnancy an inconvenience to businesses, called for the punishment of women who seek abortions, and incited violence at his rallies against Black protestors.
This is just the short list.
It wasn’t until leaked tapes of the reality TV star boasting about sexual assault by “grabbing a woman’s p*ssy” did Republicans finally come out against Trump.
To be clear, they are not jumping from the Trump Titanic because they believe, like much of the country and the world for that matter, that he is dangerous and extraordinarily unfit.
They are jumping ship because he has offended the one group they hail above all others.
Trump’s misogyny was fine to stomach as long as it was directed at poor women of color seeking reproductive care or immigrant women; but once his remarks had a “fairer” target—their daughters, wives, mothers—then and only then could they see Trump for who he really is. A threat to “their women” and to American democracy.
What was it about these comments, as disgusting as they were, that set them apart from the list I referenced above? Why is this the statement they can’t explain away as “locker room banter?”
It’s simple. Straight, Christian, white, married women have been the base and spine of the Republican Party for decades and without them—they truly have nothing.
Just think of the phone calls and texts that were received by sons and fathers from their mothers, wives, and grandmothers after this tape was released. I imagine that pearls were clutched so hard that the jewelers in red states are making a killing stringing them back together again.
Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” Well, Trump has been showing the world who he is and what he stands for the last 16 months—but more than that he has also shined a very bright light on what Republicans will stand for as well.
The Republican tent is small, with a member’s only sign hanging above, and we now know without equivocation who those members are—white men and above all else white women. Demographic shifts be damned, the Trump Republicans have at once closed their tent and let the world know whom they do and do not value.
This unwavering support of Trump up until this week was never about ideological differences between two parties; but instead about whom they believed to be dispensable and that was all of us—whether black, brown, disabled, POWs, veterans, those suffering from mental health issues, women, LGBT—the cup runneth over.
Just think about this for a moment.
In the same week that Trump’s misogyny went viral, he also claimed to believe that five Black and Hispanic teenagers, now men, who were exonerated for being wrongfully excused of rape in Central Park were still guilty. Trump himself took out ads all those years ago calling for the deaths of these boys before their trial and yet, Republicans only found one thing to be outraged about this week.
Let’s be clear though, as Republicans wage a stampede from Trump and his comments about women, Republicans writ large are no less dangerous to women than Donald Trump. While he may boast openly and heartily about being a big star with the ability to “do whatever he wants” to women—the GOP has been using their power to assault a woman’s right to choose, access equal pay, healthcare, and to not carry her rapists baby for decades. Trump’s language may in fact be disgusting but the GOP’s policies against women are far worse.
Donald Trump is a narcissistic bigot and yet what’s remarkable is that despite the evidence laid out before his Party — this was not his downfall.
This post originally appeared on essence.com: GOP Shows That White Women ‘Trump’ All OthersOther stories from Essence you might be interest in reading: