The coalition Trump is missing: Women of Color
© Greg Nash

The media consensus in the ongoing post-debate hangover seems to be that Trump is down, but not out. That despite his “manterrupting,” lurking, lying, and incoherent speech, he somehow snatched a “good night” from the jaws of a national embarrassment. I guess as a country if we see a man stomp around and yell at a woman for 90 minutes, that’s considered a win?

Exactly who Trump is winning remains up for discussion. In particular, news networks and pundits alike are spending a lot of time discussing how suburban/married white women will vote. Still, the outcome may not rest with this coveted group.

Often left out of political narratives about the electoral gender gap is the fact that President Obama won in 2008 and 2012 without ever winning a majority of white women voters. In fact, it was only because women of color—and Black women in particular—voted so overwhelmingly for Obama both times that a gender gap existed at all. If Trump is to have any chance at all, he would need to be courting women of color. Yet he, and his party, have done nothing to show that they care about our lives. 

In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. So, when the news broke on Friday about Trump’s repulsive video, my first thought was: “yeah that seems like something he would say.” After all, he started his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants like my own grandparents “rapists,” he called for a ban on Muslims entering the country, and he’s insulted Black folks time and time again, including his bizarre talking point that all Black people live in “inner cities” (newsflash: they don’t).

For the GOP, however, the revelation that Trump’s disrespect for women goes beyond schoolyard insults and into bragging about criminal sexual assault was a bridge too far. Now they’re racing to distance themselves from their imploding nominee.

But where were the mass desertions when Trump went after former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, a Latina, in the middle of the night? Did his psychological abuse of her not hit home? Trump had already insulted and dehumanized women. Immigrant women, Muslim women, Black women, to name just a few, have already been put in the crosshairs of Trump’s vitriol and would be immeasurably harmed by his policies.

The combination of Trump's racist and misogynistic policies are especially dangerous for women of color. Trump wants to end Obamacare, which has been a game-changer for women and low-income people, including millions of Latino/as. Trump actively encourages Islamophobic hate-mongering, and would codify religious discrimination against Muslim people. Trump’s immigration plan would devastate immigrant families and put immigrant women and children in harm’s way. 


To improve the lives of Black women, Trump has offered to put more police in their neighborhoods, authorized to “Stop and Frisk.” He’s proposed nothing to address the national crisis of maternal mortality, and has bolstered and re-tweeted white supremacists. Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, called Trump “a charlatan who will embolden racists and destroy communities of color.”

And despite walking back his rhetoric about punishing women who have abortions, Trump supports the Hyde Amendment, which punishes poor women seeking abortion care by pushing them deeper in poverty.

The conversation we’re having about sexual violence is an important one, and this horrific video has opened the way for some much-needed truth-telling on the subject. Every 109 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. In the time it took to watch the 3-minute video of Trump callously bragging about violating women, one person in this country experienced the trauma of sexual violence. Worse yet, sexual assault disproportionately affects women of color:  approximately 40 percent of Black women report coercive sexual contact by age 18. Native Americans are victims of rape or sexual assault at more than double the rate of other groups—and are more likely to be victimized by non-Native American perpetrators.

The same day the video of Trump was released, President Obama signed an historic sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights into law, but we still have a long way to go. If we really care about sexual assault survivors, we need policies that respect and support them.

Yet instead of offering empathy and solutions, Trump erases their experiences. Trump doesn’t offer policy solutions to assault, possibly because he views every woman as either a sexual object or an object of ridicule--or both. The policies he does embrace would cut off survivors from the care and support they deserve.

Women — especially women of color — have no shortage of reasons to oppose Trump. That was true before last weekend. Now we have even more reasons. Every day, more Americans, not just but especially women of color, see more clearly how dangerous a Trump presidency would be. While the media continues the speculate about undecided voters, I look forward to joining women from all backgrounds to decide together that we can and will chart the course of our future, as individuals, as women, and as a nation.

Lopez is the co-director of All* Above All Action Fund. Follow All* Above All Action Fund on Twitter @AllAboveAllAct


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