Carpenter continues, “If the GOP has truly convinced itself that openly engaging in sexual assault fantasies is something normal that men do among one another, I have a suggestion. Relocate the Republican National Committee headquarters into a men’s-only locker room. Eliminate all pretenses of wanting to let women in.”
This reaction is by no means universal. Mollie Hemingway writes at The Federalist that the press is in fact obsessed with sex, and is overlooking the substance of Trump’s campaign.
But voices like Kelly’s, and Carpenter’s, can’t be ignored. Kelly may be some people’s idea of a moderate (her colleague Sean Hannity’s, for example), but she’s no one’s idea of a liberal. She remains, for example, deeply skeptical of progressive claims about racism. Carpenter is even more solidly conservative. If even this strain of conservative feminism, which makes the minimal demand that conservatives recognize sexual assault as such and speak out against open misogyny, is too extreme for the GOP, what place can there be for women in the party?
Carpenter has a ready answer: “Now, I don’t purport to speak for all women, but I know I am not alone. I am one of the many women the Republican Party left behind this election. The GOP is about to learn a hard lesson when it comes to the women’s vote: defend us or lose us.”