Republicans Have a Huge Women Problem
Does the name Todd Akin ring a bell? For conservatives who remember the 2012 presidential election all too well, it induces a kind of political PTSD.
Akin, the Republican nominee favored to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, sent shockwaves through the GOP when he said, in defense of no abortion exceptions for rape or incest, “From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
The backlash was appropriate and swift. The GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Sens. Kelly Ayotte, Roy Blunt, Scott Brown, Richard Burr, Ron Johnson, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and others denounced the grotesque and ignorant comments, and called on Akin to withdraw his nomination. He refused, and was trounced by McCaskill on election day.
Democrats went on to pick up two seats in the Senate, making 2012 the last time that party won an outright majority in the Senate, and Barack Obama won his re-election bid over Mitt Romney, whom Democrats had effectively smeared as “bad for women.” Some blame Akin for Romney’s loss.
A decade later, and it’s hard even to remember a Republican Party that was truly appalled by ignorant, impolitic, anti-women comments. Because in today’s GOP — still effortlessly led by Donald “grab ‘em by the p---y” Trump, those kinds of comments are so commonplace they barely register.
So abundant are they, in fact, that there are categories of anti-women Republicans.
There are the frat bros — the preternaturally immature man-boys who like to cartoonishly cosplay at masculinity by grunting out lame insults and taking cheap shots at the military.
These are guys like Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who, incidentally, is under federal investigation for alleged sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl.
This past weekend, Gaetz characteristically put his worst foot forward at a frat bro gathering called Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, founded by fellow frat bro and military critic Charlie Kirk.
“Why is it that women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions?” asked Gaetz. “Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb.”