Every woman knows a version of Donald Trump. Most of us have known more of them than we can (or care to) recall. He’s the boss who thinks you owe him something; the date who thinks that silence means “yes” and “no” means “try harder”; the stranger who thinks your body’s mere existence constitutes an invitation to touch, take, own and destroy. He’s every deadbeat hookup, every narcissistic loser, every man who’s ever tried to leverage power, money, fame, credibility or physical strength to snap your boundaries like matchsticks. He is hot fear and cold dread and a pit in your stomach. He’s the man who held you back, who never took you seriously, who treated you like nothing until you started to believe it, who raped you and told you it was your fault and whose daddy was a cop so who would believe you anyway? Come on, women. You know this man. I can name the ones in my past — name yours and imagine each as president, with every woman’s life in his care. Would you even trust him to watch your dog? (That’s a trick question because he would never do it. His defining characteristic is that he does not care about you.) When Mr. Trump tells Mr. Bush that he’s “gotta use a Tic Tac” just in case he cannot restrain himself from non-consensually affixing his perfectly round, gasping lamprey mouth over Ms. Zucker’s, he is talking about sexually assaulting a co-worker. When he says he grabs women’s genitals, he is talking about sexually assaulting anyone he feels like, at any time. Female Trump voters: It’s fine if you’ve come to terms with not being a full human being in the eyes of your party, but what about your daughters? Is that the life you want for them? You want old men to grab their genitals? You want the president of the United States to go around grabbing genitals? Mr. Trump is rape culture’s blathering id, and Sunday night Hillary Clinton (who, no doubt, has just as many man-made scars as the rest of us) has to stand next to him on a stage, and remain unflappable as she’s held to an astronomically higher standard, and pretend that he is her equal while his followers persist in howling that sexism is a feminist myth. While Mr. Trump boasts about sexual assault and vows to suppress disobedient media, cable news pundits spend their time taking a protractor to Mrs. Clinton’s smile — a constant, churning, microanalysis of nothing. Many people, well, many men, are expressing their disgust with Mr. Trump the only way they know how: By invoking their mothers and daughters and sisters — people, presumably, with the anatomy Mr. Trump feels free to assess and knead. Hillary Clinton has been showing us all year, and all her life, that, sure, women can be cherished if you want, but they also can be president. Meanwhile, right-wing lawmakers are scrambling, sanctimonious and pathetic, to distance themselves from their own hideous progeny, clearly hoping to salvage some personal credibility and perhaps even save their party. But here is the thing, the big thing, that Paul D. Ryan and Reince Priebus and Mike Pence and all the spineless Billy Bushes of the world (and plenty of progressive men too, for that matter) don’t understand: Most of you are no better than Mr. Trump; you are just more subtle. If you have spent your career brutalizing and dehumanizing women legislatively rather than personally, you are no better. If you were happy to overlook months of violent racism, xenophobia, transphobia and Islamophobia from the Trump campaign, but now you’re mad that he used a bad word and tried to sleep with another man’s wife, you are no better. If you have derided and stigmatized identity politics in an effort to keep the marginalized from organizing, you are no better. If you snicker or say nothing while your fellow men behave like Donald Trump, you are no better. The truth is that all of you have failed women for generations, and you deserve to lose our votes. Next month we will grab you where it hurts. By your ballots.
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