Video: This anti-Trump ad quoting him on women probably isn't moving many votes, huh?

Rubio has a good line he’s been using on the trail lately: “We have to get rid of this idea that just because you’re polite you’re politically correct.” He’s right, we do. But I’m thinking we’re probably not going to do it by June, in time for the end of the GOP primary. And we’re definitely not going to do it this way, with po-faced actors shooting the viewer reproachful looks for not being sufficiently disgusted at His Trumpiness. Can you believe what he once said about poor Princess Diana?

Can I believe that a guy who likes to joke that he might be dating his daughter if they weren’t related is prone to saying off-color things about women? You know, I think I can. Mollie Hemingway:

Yes, we know he has called various women bimbos, dogs, fat pigs, flat-chested malcontents, fat-ugly-faced losers, etc. Yes, we know he has tried to fill up his insecurity by hiring sleeping with women who put up with him in exchange for whatever. He seems to have a special insecurity around strong women, but it’s not like he does that while avoiding insults at men…

Having a bunch of women, each and every one who seem to have answered a casting call for “public elementary school teacher,” read off things we already know without cracking so much as a smile has to be the least effective tool to deploy against Trump. The ending, “This is how Donald Trump talks about our mothers, our sisters, our daughters. If you think we deserve better, vote against him,” or whatever it says, is as overwrought as a Sally Struthers infomercial…

This anti-Trump ad would work if it were funny. It would even work if it just straight up mocked the short-fingered vulgarian. But to go Feminist DEFCON 1 in the humorlessness department in the midst of a Republican primary, of all things, is a waste of an opportunity.

Yeah, and not just in the middle of any Republican primary but one where Trump has succeeded via the idea that he’s the alpha-iest alpha male of them all. You can be an alpha without being crass towards women, needless to say, but crassness in Trump’s case is shorthand for “I can say anything I want and no one can stop me.” Megyn Kelly tried at the first GOP debate, opening with a question along these very lines, and she got the “blood coming out of her wherever” comment plus months of attacks from Trump and his fans on social media for her trouble. It’s almost impossible to shame Trump on the right, I think, with criticism that’s commonly associated with the left. This ad isn’t “feminist” so much as it is a critique of Trump’s character by focusing on one narrow niche of his public pronouncements, but it’s a line of attack you’re more likely to hear from feminists. And that’s a bad move when you’re coming after a guy who’s running an “us and them” campaign in a primary, when nearly everyone is “us.” Who ya gonna side with it? Trump or “the feminists”? Us or them?

Hemingway thinks this is designed to exploit the gender gap that Trump’s suffering from, in which he fares much better with men than with women. (I wonder why.) Probably true. There are still undecideds out there, and it may be that support from Trump’s female fan base is softer than it is among males. An ad like this, at least in theory, will help anti-Trumpers run up the score among women. I wonder, though, if there’s more to it. One lefty I know on Twitter watched this and tweeted asking whether it’s legal to run another party’s primary ad in the general election. That’s a joke on how well this jibes with Democratic “war on women” messaging, but it’s not entirely a joke. You will see ads like this in the fall for Hillary, whose candidacy depends on piling up women’s votes. Maybe Our Principles, the Super PAC that produced it, knows that it’s unlikely to hurt Trump in the primary and is already looking ahead to the summer, after Trump has clinched and conservatives are weighing whether to climb aboard or to go third-party. An ad like this, to the extent it works, is an appeal to the gut — “I could never support someone like that.” Maybe Our Principles has already begun the process of recruiting righties, especially righty women, to the #NeverTrump cause.

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David Strom 8:41 PM on January 30, 2023