As painful as this is to admit, recent developments force me to concede that Donald Trump was right. As he told us not long ago via Twitter, this Election Day there “will not be a Blue Wave.” However, the wave won’t be red, as Trump hopes. It’ll be pink. And what Trump really doesn’t get is that this “pink wave” is coming for him and his GOP.
A new CNN poll out Tuesday gives us the best evidence yet that the women of America will be leading a pink wave come Election Day that is poised to crush the GOP. Per this poll, a whopping 63 percent of registered female voters stated they were going to vote Democratic come November 6 to only 33 percent who would vote for Republicans. In contrast, this poll found that men narrowly support the GOP candidates 50 to 45 percent. Can you say a tidal wave-size gender gap?!
If these numbers turn out to be accurate and the GOP only attracts 33 percent of the female vote, that will mark the lowest support by women for Republicans in a midterm election ever. Yes, ever! (Or at least since 1982 when these numbers have been kept.) Before this, the lowest percentage of women voting for the GOP was 42 percent back in 1982.
In contrast, in 2010, when a massive red wave saw the Republicans pick up six Senate seats and 63 House seats giving them control of that chamber, the GOP actually won the women’s vote by two points. (51 to 49 percent.) Now eight years later the GOP is looking at losing the women’s vote by possibly 30 points.
Why? Simple: Donald J. Trump. He has never been that popular with women, despite his bragging that women love him. (Perhaps Trump means the women he pays hush money to love him.) But in 2016, while Trump did win 52 percent of white women, overall Hillary Clinton won the women’s vote 54 percent to 41 percent.
And since then, Trump’s approval among female voters has steadily eroded—and for good reason. For starters, there were Trump’s unpopular polices such as separating families at the border, which was opposed by 70 percent of women. Then there was Trump, as president, defending men accused of abusing women, from his aide Rob Porter who allegedly beat his two ex-wives to Senate candidate Roy Moore to Bill O’Reilly to Brett Kavanaugh.
Consequently, recent polls now show that women just don’t dislike Trump--they really, really don’t like him. A PBS/NPR Marist poll from last week found that only 33 percent of women approved of the job Trump is doing as president, compared to 51 percent of men. But more instructive for the midterms is that 48 percent of women polled “strongly disapprove” of Trump. Trump is literally strongly disliked by half of an entire gender!
As I’ve written before, historically people don’t vote in midterms to say thank you to the president for doing a good job. Rather, people who are angry at the president are the ones who come out to vote. For example, in the 2006 midterm, despite a very solid economy and low unemployment of 4.5 percent, George W. Bush’s mishandling of the Iraq War was the defining issue. Exit polls found that only 35 percent were “enthusiastic” or “satisfied” with Bush. In contrast, 59 percent of voters said they were “angry” or “dissatisfied” with Bush. The result was that the Democrats won control of both the Senate and the House, taking 30 House seats and six in the Senate.
Same thing in 2010, when a red wave led the GOP to control of the House. Exit polls found 25 percent of the voters who turned out were “satisfied” or “enthusiastic.” In contrast, 73 percent were “angry/dissatisfied.”
Now Trump does have intense passion among some men, with 34 percent strongly approving of the job he’s doing. But compare that to the 48 percent of women who strongly disapprove. Plus historically women vote in higher numbers than men in the midterms and represent a bigger part of the electorate.
There’s one more thing that these polls don’t capture that tells me that there’s going to be a pink wave, and that is what I’ve been hearing from female callers to my SiriusXM radio show since Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified over a week ago. Countless women, even self-described independents, called to share how they had been sexually assaulted in their lives but had remained silent. The calls were not partisan, they were simply moving. In fact, I had to fight tears many times as I’m sure others did while listening to what these women had endured.
But that non-partisan tone changed after Trump belittled Dr. Ford at his rally last Tuesday. Trump ridiculing a sexual abuse survivor to the delight of his fans was Trump’s most vile moment in a sea of vileness. And the women who called my show after that were outraged to levels I’ve not heard before.
Could things change between now and Election Day? Of course, but I doubt it. The intensity I heard from callers to my show, as backed up by recent polls, make it clear this is not something that will be forgotten in a few weeks. And if this pink wave is as powerful as I hope, it will not only change Congress, it has a chance to change cultural norms for the better in this country by making it clear that if male politicians demean women who come forward to report sexual abuse they will lose their election.