Faced with mounting evidence that Donald Trump was telling the truth when he bragged on mic about sexually assaulting women, Trump’s supporters are taking a long, hard look at themselves and their preferred candidate, having a nuanced and thoughtful discussion of what it means to respect women and their boundaries. Just kidding! They’re demanding women have their right to vote taken away and accusing all of Trump’s accusers of being liars.
Donald Trump may claim that since he made comments about grabbing women “by the pussy,” he’s a changed man. His most vocal supporters online don’t seem to have much interest in that theoretical man.
Yesterday, a certain basket of Twitter users voiced their support of the hashtag #repealthe19th. Their reasoning: poll nerd Nate Silver had shared a map showing an easy Trump victory if only men voted. Ergo, the only way to Make America Great Again is to turn the polls into a sausage fest. Like how it was back in the good old days, prior to 1920, when the amendment was ratified. Before we had such greatness-inhibitors like penicillin (discovered in 1928).
Naturally, everybody loves a righteous pile-on, and the hashtag quickly went from a microtrend among a small number of users to a big trend that everybody wanted to take turns yelling at. The hashtag made it all the way to CNN, where Carol Costello ripped it another in a series of new ones.
But not all Trump supporters are aboard. Some are sure it’s a conspiracy designed to make them look bad. Over on Reddit, skeptical Trump fans claim that Hillary Clinton-funded robots are responsible for the hashtag’s trending status, that it’s a classic false flag. But the hashtag has been in use, at least sporadically, since 2011, and only picked up steam after the airing of this very funny Jimmy Kimmel “End Women’s Suffrage” bit, which was remade, but in a less-good way, as recently as earlier this month.
The Trump campaign’s strategy between now and election day will be to trot out women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual abuse at every turn, according to a report by Bloomberg. But Trump supporters’ strategy seems to be to doubt women who make nearly identical accusations against Trump.
#NextFakeTrumpVictim is the new thing Trump supporters are yelling about today. Some are claiming that the women who have come forward to The New York Times, Palm Beach Post, and People Magazine brought their charges at a suspicious time. Others are saying that the accusers’ credibility is nonexistent because the women didn’t file charges at the time of their assaults. Others, parroting Trump surrogate talking points, say that too much time has elapsed between the alleged incidents and their coming forward publicly. Almost every point made by Trump supporters and surrogates against Trump’s accusers weakens their own argument against Bill Clinton, the hand upon which they are betting it all.
At the core of both of these dismaying trends, that woman can’t be trusted to vote or accurately recount what happened to their bodies, is the unwavering belief that women lie, and Donald Trump tells the truth. Except not when he’s bragging about sexually assaulting women. Or putting Hillary Clinton in jail. He’s not lying then, either. He’s joking. And he seriously expects voters to believe this.