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Posted by on Apr 3, 2016 in 2016 Elections, 2016 Presidential Election, Women | 6 comments

Trump’s Just Winging It, and That Should Scare Everyone

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Trump’s Just Winging It, and That Should Scare Everyone
By Dick Polman

What’s important to remember about Donald Trump is that our aspiring tinpot despot is wildly winging his presidential campaign. It’s like he’s the star of his own improv show.

The problem is that every time Trump flaps his infamous yap, he loses audience share. A recent national poll says that he’s now viewed favorably by just 23 percent of American women, and that poll was conducted before Wednesday’s rhetorical detonation about women being criminally punished for having an abortion.

What’s truly pitiful (and what so vividly illustrates his unpreparedness for office) is he made those comments during a “town hall” exchange with Chris Matthews while flying by the seat of his pants. This is not someone who has thought deeply about the kinds of policies that actually affect human beings. This is someone who, when backed into a corner, riffs off the top of his head, in impolitic ways that reveal his true character.

Basically, Trump boldly goes where no politician has gone before. He is the Captain Kirk of misogyny.

Trump has been parading himself as an anti-abortion guy (because his market is the Republican right), so Matthews asked, “You’re running for president of the United States….Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?”

Trump: “The answer is there has to be some form of punishment.”

Matthews: “For the woman?”

Trump: “Yes.”

Matthews: What type of punishment? And for how long?

Trump: “That will have to be determined.”

Matthews: “What about the guy who gets her pregnant?…Is he responsible under the law for these abortions?”

Trump: “I would say no.”

Riffing by instinct, he reached his nadir. Women get punished, men are off the hook. That stance was so out there even the anti-abortion women were slapping their foreheads.

The oft-stated view of the pro-life right is predominantly male doctors should be punished, not the women who have abortions. Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said in a statement that Trump is “completely out of touch with the pro-life movement – and even more with women who have chosen such a sad thing as abortion….No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. This is against the very nature of what we are about. (We want) paths to healing, not punishment.”

Trump blundered into a political no-no. The best way for a Republican to address the punishment issue is simply to dodge it. Way back in 1988, candidate George H. W. Bush, an anti-abortion convert, was specifically asked whether women who have abortions should be jailed. His fuzzy reply, during one of the debates, was, “I haven’t sorted out the penalties….I’m for the sanctity of life, and once that illegality is established, then we can come to grips with the penalty side, and of course there’s got to be some penalties to enforce the law, whatever they may be.”

But Trump, being an improv amateur, went full misogynist — and then tried to reverse himself within hours, releasing a new statement saying that the doctors should be punished, not the gals. We’ll see how that plays in Wisconsin, which votes next Tuesday; a Marquette University poll, released Wednesday, says Trump is drawing only 23 percent of Republican women. Like most voters, they don’t mind a little pandering. But pandering plus ill-preparedness is a surefire loser.

Stephanie Cegielski should get the last word. A communications specialist and adjunct NYU professor who worked last year for Trump’s now-defunct super PAC, she saw the guy up close. Now she writes, “I don’t think even Trump thought he would get this far. And I don’t even know that he wanted to, which is perhaps the scariest prospect of all. He certainly was never prepared or equipped to go all the way to the White House, but his ego has now taken over the driver’s seat, and nothing else matters….The Donald is his own biggest enemy.”

We’re seeing that now, on a tragically daily basis. The big question is what the abject GOP intends to do about it.


Copyright 2016 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia ( and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Philadelphia. Email him at [email protected]

  • Brownies girl

    Riffing by instinct, he reached his nadir.

    You know, I thought you all had solved this back with Roe v Wade in ’73 with a SCOTUS decision that, at 7-2, wasn’t even close. What is WRONG with Americans, that they can’t seem to keep their slimy little mitts off women’s reproduction works? Who’s behind all this push to BAN abortion anyway? Is it the Evangelicals? Is it the “poorly educated”? I don’t know. And why? I just wonder why any human being would want to force a woman, ANY woman, to bear a child she didn’t want to bear, for whatever reason.

    Especially when there’s a push on to deny birth-control to those who need it — and when/if a child is born, to deny social services for poorer women who need help in raising that child. It just doesn’t make sense.

    There is NO freedom for women who don’t have a choice about abortion. No freedom at all. Just listening to all this crap aimed at women, especially women in need, so they can get their lives together – it just makes me cringe.

    • KP

      Canadians and Americans mostly agree.

      “The nationwide survey commissioned by Postmedia News and Global TV, which examined the state of Canadian values, reveals that a majority would support a law that places limits on when a woman can have an abortion, such as during the last trimester of her pregnancy.”

      That sounds a lot like state of the matter in America. Down here about 65% oppose over turning Roe v Wade and about 85% favor late term abortion when health of the mother is in question, rape or incest are involved.

      Canadians and Americans are closer politically than some Canadians admit. You just had almost tens years (2006 to 2015) of a conservative prime minister in Harper 🙂

      • Brownies girl

        KP writes: “… a majority would support a law that places limits on when a woman can have an abortion, such as during the last trimester of her pregnancy.”

        A majority may support it, but the fact is, we don’t NEED that law. Abortions during the last trimester NEVER happen here, *IF* the fetus is healthy. Exceptions for the last trimester include if the fetus is already dead, or the life of the mother will be placed in a dire situation. Doctors with strong ethical standards make the call. Their ethics don’t permit them to abort a *healthy* fetus at that stage – they urge other solutions and work closely with the mother.

        And yes, I realize that Canadians and Americans share close political views in many of cases — and yes, we just got rid of Harper (thank you Lord!), but in no way can I ever EVER imagine that Canadians of all/any political stripe, would consider someone running for PM, with the attitudes and downright colossal ignorance of a Trump. Or a Cruz for that matter.

        I am so looking forward to watching the Republican Convention — and I hear that Andrew Sullivan, one of my favourite ex-bloggers will be blogging it for a New York mag (or something) … I got the dates on the calendar all block out. Ain’t goin’ ANYWHERE when that’s on.

        • KP

          “Abortions during the last trimester NEVER happen here, *IF* the fetus is healthy.”

          That would be my hope here in America as well.

          We agree again.

    • I want to “force a woman…to bear a child she [doesn’t] want to bear.” However, I am all for supporting the child through all the early formative years (say, until 19). We have an adoption waiting list that is through the roof. However, I will not force my opinion down the throats of Massachusetts women.

      Please keep in mind, if the fetus is >6 months old, we “force a woman…to bear a child she [doesn’t] want to bear.”

  • Hey America, if you don’t want trump as your president can you send him to Australia?It would be nice to have him as our President .our politicians don’t care about their people like trump cares for all of America ( FACT )

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