- The Washington Times - Monday, May 16, 2016


Yes, The New York Times article on Donald Trump’s treatment of women was a hit piece — even their lead anecdote, Rowanne Brewer Lane, said the newspaper took her words out of context to make the billionaire businessman look like a misogynist pig.

“He never made me feel like I was being demeaned in any way,” she told Fox News on Monday. “He never offended me in any way. He was very gracious.”

Mr. Trump’s over-the-top bombast has been aired live in people’s living rooms on “The Apprentice” for the last decade, and his cultivated playboy image was splashed across the tabloids years before that.

The American people know who Mr. Trump is (he hasn’t changed) and to many of his voters, his lifestyle is aspirational. Unless he’s done, or does, something criminal, Mr. Trump’s supporters will remain.

But that’s not to say he doesn’t need to expand his base.

Fifty-two percent of the electorate are women, and more than 70 percent of them have a negative perception of the real estate mogul. Still, before Mr. Trump even became the presumptive GOP nominee, the Republican Party had a deficit among women. In 2012, Barack Obama led Mitt Romney among female voters by about 11 points, with a particularly steep shortfall among single women.

Mr. Trump is going to need to do better, and the way he can isn’t by altering his personality, but by driving home the message that the Obama administration has failed women economically, and Hillary Clinton as president will do worse.

For women are not single-issue voters — they care about the economy, about the federal overreach of big government, about having the ability to work hard, get paid well and to afford their children opportunities they never had.

Under the Obama administration — the one Mrs. Clinton pledges to continue — 3.7 million women have been driven into poverty. And in the big government economy they both espouse, women’s median incomes are worse off today than they were in 2008, by about $733.

In Obama’s (and Clinton’s) economy, overall workforce participation rates are lower than they were in 1977. Excluding the Great Recession, there are 6 million Americans who are working part-time but want full-time work — the highest level in about 30 years or so.

Mr. Trump wants to “Make America Great Again.”

This is where the American public — and women in particular — can find his message alluring. For he’s run his business as a meritocracy, which has rewarded the most abled and hard-working, no matter one’s gender or race. Mr. Trump’s also been unafraid to break cultural boundaries, hiring a woman as his chief of construction 20 years ago when it was unheard of in the business.

Mr. Trump’s employed more people in his lifetime than Mrs. Clinton has ever dreamed. He sincerely can become the next “jobs president,” and that’s something quite frankly, Americans want.

Within the Republican primary, Mr. Trump continually does well among the counties with the highest unemployment rates. He’s also outperformed within the Rust Belt region, where blue-collar workers (both male and female) continue to be pinched.

And it appears his base is widening with this message.

It was reported in The Washington Post over the weekend, that Mrs. Clinton is building up her ground game in industrial states, which were once a stronghold for Democrats in the general election.

“Clinton’s plans include an early, aggressive attempt to defend Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — reflecting a growing recognition inside her campaign of the threat that Trump’s unconventional bid for president may pose in unexpected places, particularly in economically struggling states that have been hit hard by global free-trade agreements,” The Post reported.

It’s now time for Mr. Trump to tailor his economic message specifically to women, demonstrating how devastating it’s been to them under a Democratic White House.

He needs to show off his daughter Ivanka Trump, who is a successful businesswoman in her own right, and highlight women within his company of whom he’s promoted.

He needs to actively campaign that he’s going to change the way government operates from a bureaucracy, where only the politically connected get rewarded, to that of a meritocracy, where one is promoted based on talent and drive.

And lastly, Mr. Trump needs to hit Mrs. Clinton hard for her lack of accomplishment in this area. National head-to-head polls show Mr. Trump handily beats her when the American public is asked who they trust more to deal with the economy.

Mr. Trump’s favorability numbers among women may be down, but that’s no reason to suspect he can’t draw them higher — or even get women to vote for him despite their dislike of him — because only he can provide the jobs and lifestyle they so desire.

Enough with the status quo.

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