In March, a Republican-led Super PAC took Donald Trump's most sexist insults and used them in an ad against him. Now a pro–Hillary Clinton Super PAC is taking a page out of the same book.
Priorities USA, which was initially formed in 2011 to support President Barack Obama and has since thrown its support behind Clinton, unveiled a new multimillion-dollar anti-Trump ad campaign Monday.
The two attack ads, "Speak" and "Respect" — which will air in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and Nevada starting Wednesday — are an attempt to turn Trump's own words, from the campaign trail and before, against him, featuring some of his greatest hits.
"Speak" shows men and women mouthing Trump's most memorable statements – "She had blood coming out of her whatever"; "Does she have a good body? No. Does she have a fat ass? Absolutely"; "You like girls that are 5-foot-1 – they come to you know where" – with the punchline, "Does Donald Trump really speak for you?":
"Respect" takes a more straightforward approach, using Trump's stances on Planned Parenthood and abortion to reach the conclusion, "Donald Trump is wrong for us":
Trump's history with women has been a thorn in his side since the first GOP debate, when Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly asked him if he had the "temperament" to be president given these very comments. This week, the New York Times published a scathing profile depicting his private relationships with women dating back to his days in boarding school.
Throughout this primary season, Trump has insisted that he loves women and they love him too, and the sexist statements, however familiar they have become to those following the campaign, haven't stopped him from becoming the presumptive Republican nominee.
This line of fire is more important in the general election than in the primaries
Not much has slowed Trump, let alone stopped him, in the primaries. In March, when the Republican-led Our Principles PAC released the ad "Quote," which similarly featured a series of women reading Trump's insults out loud, it didn't make much of an impact. Trump continued on to win Indiana and see the end of Ted Cruz and John Kasich's presidential campaigns.
But the primaries are not like the general election.
This week, NBC's Dante Chinni made something very clear: "For Donald Trump to win the White House he must find a way to attract more women voters to his candidacy."
Based on the past 20 years of polling data, women play an important role in general elections in two significant ways: Women disproportionately vote for the Democratic candidate, and they consistently make up more than 50 percent of the electorate.
This poses a particular challenge for a candidate who has all but claimed the Republican Party's nomination and is likely going to be running against Clinton, the first female presidential candidate from one of the two major parties.
Exit polling during the primaries has illuminated certain realities about Trump supporters: They are predominantly white and predominantly male. According to a Gallup poll in April, seven out of 10 women had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, a negative image that has been steadily increasing throughout the campaign.
A general election NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from April showed Clinton had a 23-point lead over Trump in female voters.
In Chinni's analysis of the poll, Trump's best-case scenario means raising his support among male voters to the highest of any candidate in the past three decades and bringing Clinton's support among women to the lowest of any candidate in the past three decades, and that still doesn't quite make the cut:
Even if Trump can do all of that - get his advantage with men up to Bush's 11-point edge and get Clinton's edge with women down to just 11 points - he still would come up short in the popular vote because of the first part of the equation: women produce more votes. It would be very close though, a margin of just less than a percentage point, maybe close enough to put the all-important Electoral College tally in play.
This week, Kelly, who has been one of Trump's biggest targets this campaign season, said she thinks Republican women might have "warmed" a little to Trump, but something remains unclear.
"The question remains to be seen whether they will vote or if it will impact their vote to have a candidate who speaks in the way that Trump does and has for most of his lifetime about women," Kelly said on Good Morning America.