Juan Williams: Trump's problem with women runs deep

Juan Williams: Trump's problem with women runs deep
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When Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) dropped out of the running to be Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE’s vice president last week, the odds went up that the GOP will have an all-white and all-male ticket.

The GOP’s primetime convention lineup in Cleveland is taking on the look of a parade of older white men, too. The exceptions are likely to be Ernst and perhaps some fashion-model beautiful women from the Trump family. 

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Overall, Trump’s convention is going to look like a boys’ locker room compared to a Democratic convention focused upon the first female presidential nominee of a major party. 

The heart of Trump’s problem is that top Republican women, especially women of color, are distancing themselves from him and his convention.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, whom Trump has disparaged as “not doing the job,” and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley have gone out of their way to publicly signal their distaste for Trump. Condoleezza Rice’s name was mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick. Rice made clear she was not interested in any such offer; she will not even attend the convention.

Even a political newcomer, Rep. Mia Love of Utah, plans to skip the convention. Love is the first black female Republican ever elected to Congress.

At the 2012 Republican National Convention, presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a big show of giving primetime speaking slots to Rice, Martinez and Haley. He hoped to give his campaign a much-needed summer boost as he trailed President Obama badly among women of color. Romney went on to lose 96 percent of black women and 76 percent of Hispanic women.

Four years later, Trump is in such a deep hole he can’t even match Romney’s ability to have women stand up for him at the convention.

The absence of prominent women speaking for the GOP nominee is incongruous with political reality. Women are now the majority of all voters in presidential elections. In 2012, women cast 53 percent of the total votes.

In the last presidential race, Obama lost to Romney among white women. But with a record turnout by black, Hispanic and Asian women, Obama won the election. 

Now the rising number of minority women voters spells big trouble for Trump in swing states such as Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Virginia. 

A Quinnipiac poll taken late last month found Trump registering exactly one percent support among African-American voters with Clinton garnering 91 percent. 

Among Latina women, a Fox News Latino poll in May found Clinton leading Trump by 68 percent to 17 percent.

The Latino electorate is revved up for a strong turnout to take down Trump, given his hard line on illegal immigrants and his especially harsh comments about Mexico and Mexican immigrants — including recently pointing to a plane flying over a rally and suggesting Mexico might bomb the U.S.

Black women, meanwhile, have already provided the firewall for Clinton that allowed her to defeat her primary rival, Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE (I-Vt.).

The Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics reported last year that because “Black women have topped all other race and gender groups in turnout in the past two presidential cycles, Democratic candidates and campaigns will rely on their votes to secure their base. Likewise, Republican candidates and campaigns may seek to chip away at the Democratic stronghold among Black women voters.” 

But with Trump as their candidate, the GOP effort to “chip away” at Democrats’ dominance of the black female vote becomes impossible.

And then there is Trump’s history with white women.

He has already been featured in two political ads, one run by anti-Trump Republicans and the second sponsored by the top super-PAC supporting Clinton, Priorities USA. In the super-PAC ad, women of all colors lip sync as Trump makes negative comments about women, claiming that one woman has a “fat ass,” asking whether “you like girls who are 5”1’, they come up to you know where” and offering his judgment that a woman “who is very flat chested is very hard to be a ten.”

Trump’s problem with women voters is an exaggerated reflection of the Republican Party’s problem with women.

Of the 20 women currently serving in the U.S. Senate, only six are Republicans. Of the 84 women serving in the House, just 22 are Republicans. In the Senate, one of those six, New Hampshire’s Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford Pallbearers, speakers announced for McCain's DC memorial service and Capitol ceremony Tributes pour in for John McCain MORE, is one of the most vulnerable incumbents running for reelection this year. 

As The Hill reported last week, House Republicans are increasingly worried that their most endangered incumbents are disproportionately women and minorities. 

The report pointed to Love and Texas Congressman Will Hurd, the only black Republicans in the House, as two of the most vulnerable in the country. Also targeted are Arizona’s Martha McSally, Virginia’s Barbara Comstock and New York’s Elise Stefanik. 

In addition, the House GOP is losing two female incumbents to retirement this cycle, while another — North Carolina’s Renee Ellmers — will also be gone, having lost her primary. 

By contrast, House Democrats are led by a woman, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), and will almost certainly grow and replenish the number of women in their ranks.  

After the 2012 election, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus told reporters: "The RNC cannot and will not write off any demographic or community or region of this country.”

But that is what is going on in 2016. Trump’s strategy is based on increasing the white vote, and especially the white male vote.

Twenty-eight years ago, Texas Gov. Ann Richards delivered the keynote speech to the Democratic National Convention. 

She quipped that women “can perform [in national politics] — after all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, she just did it backwards and in high heels.”

Next week in Cleveland, any woman supporting Trump is going to have to dance backwards, blindfolded and balancing a ton of political baggage on her head. 

Juan Williams is an author and political analyst for Fox News Channel. His latest book, "We The People: The Modern-Day Figures Who Have Reshaped and Affirmed the Founding Fathers' Vision of America," published by Crown, is out now.