Donald Trump loves to buy himself expensive presents: golf courses, beauty pageants, U.S. senators. But there’s one gift he won’t be rushing to open this holiday season. A day of reckoning for women’s rights is coming that he set in motion with his election in 2016, delivered by some very strong women who aren’t intimidated by his bluster.
If Trump was watching anything other than Fox News and the Golf Channel, he might catch a glimmer of understanding about what women — particularly women of color — are thinking ahead of the 2020 election.
What would Donald Trump find inside his feminist holiday stocking? An inventory as welcome to him as a lump of coal:
—From Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Trump will get more of what he fears most — a powerful woman whose vastly superior talent and skill reveals his own inadequacies. Pelosi will continue to hold Trump accountable for his misdeeds, while adding to the record of nearly 400 bills passed by the House that are sitting in Mitch McConnell’s graveyard, including the Paycheck Fairness Act, reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, the Equality Act and the Raise the Wage Act.
—From immigrant women and their advocates: Trump’s inhumane treatment of people housed in immigration detention prisons will be challenged, protested and stopped. In recent months, NOW has conducted a series of rallies to “Unlock the Future for Immigrant Women and Girls” to demand basic human rights for detained people — the right to safe and comfortable living conditions, quality and prompt medical care and physical safety, especially for the LGBTQIA+ folks and those with disabilities.
—From women voters: Trump will see more state legislature races like the ones that made history in Virginia in 2017 and 2019, and in the feminist-voter driven “blue wave” of 2018 that flipped control of Congress. Polls show that he is losing ground with women voters by large margins, and turnout projections for next year are off the charts.
—From young women: The political landscape will see a shakeup that will make it look more like the actual population of this country. Voter suppression campaigns and other strategies to distort the electorate in favor of conservative interests will fail when we organize and mobilize young women, particularly young women of color. Next November, 7 million young people of color will have turned 18 since the last election, and grassroots mobilizers are going to make sure they are able to get to the polls.
—From women of color: Trump will feel their strength as reliable voters for fairness and equality. Black women will expect their next president to address the fact that they are paid only 65.3 percent of the wages that white men received and 89 percent of the wages black men received. Native American women are paid only 57 percent of what white men receive. Latinas are victims of the largest pay deficit between sexes, reporting at almost half the amount of what white men are paid and only 86 percent to that of Latino men. The 2020 elections will be a referendum on closing the opportunity gap that holds back women of color.
—From women seeking quality, affordable health care, including abortion care: The election will be an opportunity not only to elect candidates who support reproductive rights but also to turn the corner on state initiatives that restrict or ban access to abortion care. In 2019 alone, there have been at least 250 bills to restrict abortion taken up in 41 state legislatures. Women will demand legislation to expand — not take away — health care rights.
—For LGBTQIA+ people: The 2020 election will be the most important election ever. They’ve seen the Trump administration appoint two new anti-equality justices to the Supreme Court, roll back protections for transgender troops and allow discrimination based on gender identity in health care, housing, public accommodations and business in the name of “religious liberty.” The Human Rights Campaign identified 11 million LGBTQIA+ voters nationwide who will cast important votes and 57 million “Equality Voters,” or allies, who prioritize LGBTQIA+ issues.
If Trump was a character in a Dickens novel (and who’s to say he’s not?), he might spend a terrifying night over the holidays confronting these facts, as well as his own moral depravity, and emerge determined to be a better person.
Unlikely. But what’s certain is that a transformative, intersectional feminist agenda is increasingly in the spotlight, and much of the coming debate will be over these principles.
And that’s a holiday gift that keeps on giving.