Since tapes of Donald Trump making predatory comments about women were released over the weekend, the businessman turned politician has faced crippling backlash. Trump has been on the defense in an attempt to control the damage and repair his image, largely in the eyes of women voters. Though Hillary Clinton has not made many comments on the tapes, these events have largely played to her favor, and she has taken the opportunity to use Trump’s biggest weakness against him with more force than ever.
-Image from The Star
Trump has utilized multiple strategies to try to reconcile with woman voters. Almost immediately after the tapes were released, he offered an apologia, choosing to differentiate between what most people are calling “sexual assault” from “locker room talk.” This stance has received massive push back as men, especially athletes, have used social media to point out to Trump that his comments were not permissible.
Women have also used social media to make known how Trump’s apology meant nothing to them, and how his “locker room talk” sounds a lot more like rape culture to them. Internet personality, Kelly Oxford, tweeted about her experience with sexual assault and encouraged other women to tweet her their experiences using the hashtag #NotOkay. Thousands of tweets poured in recounting horrific accounts of women being sexually assaulted, which for Trump equates thousands of lost votes to his opponent.
Other women, like actress America Ferrera, have also taken a stance to donounce “locker room talk” spearheading the twitter movement #pussygrabsback. The actress also tweeted a picture of a map projection created by Nate Silver that showed what the electoral college would look like if Trump received no support from women. The result? 100% blue states which again proves just how important women will be in determining this election.
Trump is still trying to recover from this devastating blunder since his attempts at apologizing and differentiating sexual assault from locker room talk have been largely ineffectual. As the leaked tapes were the dominating topic of the first portion of the debate, Trump was forced to use the debate to rally his home base, especially Republican women, as opposed to expanding his voter pool. During the debate, Trump relied heavily on the women who claim to be sexual assault victims of Bill Clinton to restore credibility among women voters. This has not seemed to have had much of an impact for a majority of voters, conservatives included. Though Hillary Clinton has not made many comments on the tapes, these events have worked in her favor. She has recently released ads that portray Trump as misogynistic and womanizing, which in light of the leaked tapes, have been even more powerful.
Moving forward, I think this will have a devastating impact on Trump’s campaign. I’m sure that a percentage of Republican women will vote for him no matter what he says or does, but I think that the majority of the demographic as well as independents will be driven to vote for Clinton. I don’t think Nate Silver’s projection will come true because I don’t think Clinton is capable of winning all 50 states, however I think that the role of women in this election will be to decide the vote, as well as to take a stand in renouncing rape culture.