Excerpt from my OpEd in today’s Washington Post. Click here for the article.
Here in rural Kentucky, six months after the election, I sat next to a 30-something woman at a party. A grade-school teacher. She did not like Hillary Clinton and voted, she said, for Trump. Turns out she was on a third date, and she and her new beau had not yet gotten around to politics.
He was as stunned as I was. And when he and I both took our hard stance, when it started to feel like we were ganging up, I began to feel sorry for her — she was, more than anything, uninformed, it seemed — and I decided to leave them to their now-ruined date. Astoundingly, she had not only not heard of the “Access Hollywood” tape, she had no interest in hearing about it. The election was over.
I wish I could say I found this woman’s lack of information shocking. But the truth is, beyond the confines of coastal news and entertainment, much of white, churchgoing middle America accepts both Trump’s “locker room talk” excuse and his wife’s lackadaisical “boys will be boys” defense. Many of the women I meet here — of all ages — do not follow national news, much less national politics. They also tend to follow their pastors’, or their husbands’, talking points: Clinton can’t be trusted, she thinks she’s a man, she should look at her own husband and her own marriage. I suspect they looked at their own marriages and families, as well. Was Trump any different in his rhetoric from their own husbands, their brothers, their fathers? Their pastors? What can you do? Men have needs.