It was apparently “Condescend to Women Week” on the 2016 campaign trail. Ben Carson said that the private sector needs to come to the rescue of undereducated women who have unplanned pregnancies, and John Kasich treated young women’s interest in politics like a joke.
Plus: Bobby Jindal blames gun violence on abortion, and Carly Fiorina beats Hillary Clinton in a new poll of Iowa voters.
Ben Carson: “We’re Killing Babies All Over the Place,” Women Need “Private Sector” to Help With Unwanted Pregnancies
Ben Carson had a busy week of gaffes that left the press dumbfounded. He said that Hitler could have been stopped if the German public were armed. He recommended that people attack active shooters, even though he didn’t take his own advice when he was once held at gunpoint. He also came under fire for appearing to have no idea how the federal debt limit works.
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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On top of all that, Carson made condescending remarks about women who have abortions during a sit-down with The View, and once again refused to back down on his comments that Obamacare is like slavery.
Host Whoopi Goldberg asked Carson about his earlier comments that there is no war on women, but there may be a war on “what’s inside of women.” Carson enthusiastically replied that those remarks were accurate, adding, “We’re killing babies all over the place.”
Goldberg asked Carson if he was “empathetic” to women who feel they cannot bring a child into the world. Carson said he was, and that helping women who have unplanned pregnancies is “a job for us in the private sector.”
“What we need to do is make sure that we provide adequate day-care centers for these mothers so that they can get their GED, their associate’s degree—“
Goldberg interjected: “Wait, you’re assuming that these are mothers who aren’t educated.”
“Well, most of them,” Carson said, eliciting boos and shrieks of outrage from the audience. Carson went on to discuss “young girls who are having babies out of wedlock” and stopping their education in order to do so.
“We’re not talking about them, actually,” Goldberg said.
About half of the women who have abortions in the United States are over the age of 25, and 60 percent are already mothers. Only 17 percent are teens and 13 percent don’t have a high school degree or a GED, while more than half have completed at least some college.
When an incredulous Joy Behar asked Carson about his comparison between Obamacare and slavery, Carson stood by his remarks.
“I’ll tell you why,” Carson said. “This is supposed to be a country that is of, for, and by the people. The government is supposed to be there to facilitate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. With this particular act, the government comes along and says, ‘Don’t care what you people think, this is what we’re doing, we’re cramming it down your throat.'”
John Kasich Talks Down to Female College Student
At a University of Richmond town hall forum, Ohio Gov. John Kasich made a joke out of one female student’s enthusiasm to ask him a question.
“I don’t have any Taylor Swift tickets,” Kasich told sophomore Kayla Solsbak, who was standing halfway out of her seat with her hand raised to get noticed.
Kasich at one point told a female student seated in the front row, “I’m sure you get invited to all of the parties.”
Solsbak then wrote an op-ed in the campus newspaper titled, “No, John Kasich, I don’t want Taylor Swift tickets.”
Kasich “barreled through a Planned Parenthood question, dismissing the young woman who posed it, and derided me when I had the audacity to raise my hand,” Solsbak said.
She called out Kasich for mostly taking “softball” questions from older community members instead of students, and for his “condescending” attitude to young people:
In a half-hearted attempt to connect with young voters, Kasich entered the town hall forum with the 2014 hit song “Shut Up and Dance With Me” blasting from the speakers. While my friends all found it out of place, I realized that the song’s title accurately reflects Kasich’s message to young voters: shut up and elect me. If the candidate wants to connect with my peers, he can’t do it through superficial pop culture references. If he wants our votes, he needs to listen to our voices and address the issues we care about.
This kind of condescension to young women as “dumbbells” who only care about pop culture is a troubling trend among politicians, Rebecca Traister notes at New York Magazine—particularly when young, unmarried women are a key demographic for anyone who wants to win a national election.
Bobby Jindal Blames Gun Violence on Abortion and Other “Cultural Decay”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal blogged a screed against the “cultural rot” and “garbage”—including abortion access—that he said is the “root cause” of mass shootings like the recent tragedy at a community college in Oregon.
“We devalue human life, we have no regard for the sanctity of human life in any regard, from the unborn, to the old, and to every single person in between, we devalue it and act as if we have almost no regard for humanity,” Jindal wrote.
Jindal listed violent video games, movies, TV, music, and other elements of pop culture, which “promote evil” and “promote the degradation of women,” as a root cause of gun violence.
Jindal never mentioned guns as a cause of gun violence, but he spent four bullet points in his list attacking the shooter’s father for not having a close relationship with his son. Meanwhile, reproductive rights activists pointed out that many “pro-life” states regulate abortion much more heavily than they regulate guns.
Carly Fiorina: “I Am Distinctly Horrifying to Liberals”
A recent poll of Iowa voters put Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton in a theoretical matchup, and Fiorina won 52 percent to 38 percent.
Fiorina said this meant she is “distinctly horrifying to liberals” because she is a conservative woman who could beat Hillary Clinton despite not hewing to “liberal orthodoxy” about what a woman and a feminist should believe.
Fiorina has tried to brand herself as an iconoclastic feminist who doesn’t need identity politics and who champions a woman’s right to choose her destiny.
Yet she opposes reproductive rights, going so far as to repeatedly lie about the Planned Parenthood smear videos released by an anti-choice front group in coordination with Republican legislators. She does in fact use identity politics, even if she doesn’t see it that way, by talking about how being a woman affects her life and her candidacy.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to clarify that the poll in which Carly Fiorina beat Hillary Clinton was of Iowa voters.