Donald Trump is far behind with female voters. Given that fact, one would expect the Trump campaign to make some moves to appeal to women. Yet on Tuesday night, anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson addressed the RNC and its audience of millions, despite her holding views that go far beyond garden-variety opposition to abortion.
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, Johnson faced a firestorm of criticism for saying in a YouTube video earlier this year that her "brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons." Then, shortly before the RNC began, a White House reporter for CBS News drew attention to two of Johnson’s tweets from May in which she expressed support for "bringing back household voting," which would give each household a single vote — and give husbands "the final say." (Johnson doubled down on this outlandishly retrograde position on Tuesday evening just a few hours before her speech.)
No wonder, then, that when she stood at the podium at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C., Johnson unleashed an unmodulated attack on her former employer Planned Parenthood, denouncing its "racist roots," deploring its "barbarity," and even pausing to evoke "what abortion smells like." The assault naturally culminated in gushing praise for the anti-abortion efforts of President Trump.
There are ways for Republicans to appeal to women. There are even ways to do so in pro-life terms — by talking about the tragic, wrenching struggles and anguish experienced by so many women when they contemplate and make the decision to terminate a pregnancy. But Johnson said nothing about any of that, and really expressed no empathy for women at all. Which is exactly what one would expect of someone who would prefer a Handmaid's Tale world in which women lose their bodily and political autonomy and are forced to submit their minds and civic convictions to the absolute rule of their husbands.
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