President Donald Trump has historically low favorability among women, with the Pew Research Center now reporting that 63 percent of women disapprove of how he is doing his job—compared with 30 percent who approve. That might not be surprising, given the range of things that Trump has said and done that might be seen as offensive to women. There’s the famous “Access Hollywood” tape that gave rise to thousands of pussy hats, the 22 women who have publicly accused him of sexual harassment and assault, and the hush money his personal lawyer has admitted to paying to cover up marital indiscretions. There is Trump’s tendency to insult women, from Carly Fiorina to Megyn Kelly to Mika Brzezinski. Most recently, there was his rally in Mississippi, during which the president mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that Brett Kavanaugh, who has since been confirmed to the Supreme Court, had sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.
Trump’s election and performance in office have clearly pushed independent and Democratic women into action, resulting in record numbers of women running for office, and surges of women involved in local political organizing for the first time. But what about Republican women? Is it possible that Trump—and the Republican politicians who enable him—are not just alienating left-leaning women, but are permanently damaging the GOP’s female ranks, driving some splintering portion of women away for good?