The biggest political story of this year’s elections may end up being that we all underestimated just how deeply alienated the female electorate might grow from President Trump — and, possibly, the Republican Party as well.
On Friday, Trump finally gave up and succumbed to his raging urge to slime Christine Blasey Ford, which he had managed to keep bottled up for a miraculous five days:
Trump’s explicit questioning of Ford’s credibility comes after Axios reported that people around Trump were shocked at how long he had refrained from this. One source who has been talking to Trump all along said that “you have no idea” how hard it has been to keep him quiet about Ford. One White House official said: “Hopefully he can keep it together until Monday. That’s only, like, another 48 hours, right?”
Nope, no such luck.
This also comes as a new batch of polling out Friday suggests that the Republican Party’s problems among women in the midterms may be getting worse. Here’s a rundown:
- A new Reuters poll finds that larger percentages of Democrats than Republicans are certain to vote this fall, relative to 2014, a year Republicans won handily — and crucially, this is particularly pronounced among various female constituencies. The percentage of Democratic women overall who are certain to vote is nine points higher than in 2014 — while among GOP women it’s two points lower. This pattern is even more pronounced among specific female constituencies, such as young women and white women older than 60, who are incredibly fired up to vote.
- A new USA Today poll finds that Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination is under water amid accusations of sexual assault, with Americans opposing Senate confirmation of him 40 to 31 percent. Those abysmally low numbers are heavily driven by women, who oppose confirmation by 20 points, 43 to 23 percent.
- A new NBC News poll also finds Kavanaugh’s nomination under water, with 38 percent of Americans opposing it and only 34 percent in support — with opposition rising nine points since last month. Again women figure heavily, with women over 50 moving from being +3 on confirmation last month to -7 now, and suburban women jumping to -11 now. There’s also been a drop of 14 points among Democratic women.
- A new analysis from Janie Velencia of FiveThirtyEight, which combined numerous polls from this month, found that women favor Democrats in the generic House ballot matchup by an average of 15 points. As Velencia concluded: “That’s a bigger margin than the one by which they voted for Democrats in 2016 (+10 points), 2014 (+4 points) or 2012 (+11 points).”
- Velencia also found a large gender gap driving Democratic leads in multiple statewide races. Recent polls show Kyrsten Sinema enjoying a 22-point lead among women in the Arizona Senate race; Phil Bredesen with a 21-point lead among women in the Tennessee Senate race; and Tony Evers leading Scott Walker by 16 points among women in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race.
All this comes before Ford’s likely testimony next week, at which she will be grilled either by a lineup of scowling, hidebound Republican senators, or by female outside counsel chosen precisely because those Republicans cannot be trusted to refrain from a display of aggressive, chauvinistic condescension and hostility. Should things go badly for Republicans at that hearing, expect more rage tweets directed her way by Trump. If Kavanaugh is then confirmed after such an outpouring in her direction, that outcome will be accompanied by a chest-thumping victory tour from the proudly self-proclaimed sexual predator in chief himself.
We may not yet have hit bottom, either when it comes to Trump’s handling of the Ford-Kavanaugh affair — or when it comes to female alienation from Trump and, possibly, his party.