Two days later, at a North Carolina rally, the president tried to appeal to women by telling them what they want — a torrent of Trump-splaining that seemed unlikely to help him with the female demographic. “You know what women want more than anything else? They want safety, security, and they want to be able to have their houses, and ‘Leave me alone,’” he said. “Right? The suburban woman.”
Mr. Trump’s entreaties to women have come simultaneously with his attacks on the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, Kamala Harris. Republicans spent a full three decades tearing down Hillary Clinton, often in flagrantly sexist ways — criticizing her clothes, her tone of voice, her physical stamina, her “likability,” her response to her husband’s infidelity. It worked and she lost because a large proportion of the nation, including lots of women, viscerally disliked her.
The Republicans have had no such head start with Ms. Harris, a relative newcomer on the national stage. But the assault has begun. Appearing on Fox Business Channel after the vice-presidential debate, Mr. Trump twice referred to her as “this monster.”
Half of the nearly 139 million Americans who voted in 2016 were married. It is impossible to know how many marriages include a Democrat and a Republican, but from data that researchers have compiled of voter registrations, it’s safe to say that it’s well into the millions.
A few were willing to talk to me.
Katie Blume works for a conservation advocacy organization, is a local officeholder in her small town in central Pennsylvania and was a Hillary Clinton delegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Her husband, a mechanic, is a Trump supporter. He was awaiting dental surgery, and not up for talking. I asked how she was coping.
“I just drink more bourbon now,” she said.
But more seriously, she added, “I have to compartmentalize it.”
“He sees what’s posted on Facebook from his friends. One thing that resonates with him is immigration. He’s worried about people coming for Americans’ jobs. I care about social justice, the environment, reproductive rights. Those aren’t things he prioritizes. We talk about politics but we don’t argue about it.”