Maeve Reston | CNN
If President Donald Trump loses his reelection bid in November, it will be in part because of his fundamental misunderstanding of the beliefs of “suburban women,” whom he has tried to win back with a series of bizarre and racist appeals that seem more targeted to a stereotype from the 1950s and 1960s than the American women who actually live in those areas today.
Many of the female voters who have abandoned Trump recoil from his divisive language and disapprove of both his handling of race relations and the pandemic. But he has tried to convince them to support him through a campaign of fear and xenophobia, with claims about the Democratic agenda that plunge deep into the realm of the ridiculous and would be believed only by the most naïve, low-information voters.
His speech Saturday night in Michigan exemplified those political miscalculations when it comes to women he has referred to as the “suburban housewives of America” as he tried to create fear about crime from immigrants and argued that Joe Biden will upend life in the suburbs by putting public housing projects in the middle of leafy neighborhoods — a reference to an Obama-era housing regulation aimed at ending segregation.
“Would you like a nice low-income housing project next to your suburban beautiful ranch style house? Generally speaking, no,” Trump said in Muskegon. “I saved your suburbs — women — suburban women, you’re supposed to love Trump,” he said.
The President went on to make the ludicrous claim that Biden and Democrats want to overwhelm Michigan neighborhoods with refugees from Syria, Somalia and Yemen, and “poorly vetted migrants from jihadist regions.”
Continuing his long-standing pattern of mocking women he perceives as opponents in sexist or misogynistic language — a tactic that does not go over well with women in either party — Trump attacked Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during the same rally, along with his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton, and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, who moderated his Thursday night town hall.
Trump accused Whitmer, whom he has previously called “a dictator,” of unnecessarily locking down her state as she fought the pandemic. That led his crowd to break into a chant of “Lock her up!” a little more than a week after federal authorities revealed a plot by extremists to kidnap Whitmer and overthrow the government.
Rather than condemning the derailed plot — which led to terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges against more than a dozen men — or discouraging that kind of divisive language, Trump essentially endorsed the cheer with his authoritarian rhetoric about jailing his political opponents by adding Clinton and the Biden family into the mix.
“Lock them all up,” Trump replied to the crowd.
He complained that Whitmer said publicly that his refusal to denounce White supremacists, extremists and hate groups has emboldened activists like those who allegedly planned the foiled attack against her.
“I guess they said she was threatened, right?” Trump said, seeming to doubt the specifics of