Donald Trump’s first campaign economic policy speech was interrupted, and interrupted, and interrupted again, as approximately 17 organized protesters were escorted out of the Detroit venue for disrupting his speech Monday.
Trump was visibly piqued during the event, as his scripted speech unveiling his tax and jobs plans to the American public was repeatedly disrupted by protesters from the Michigan People’s Campaign, who were questioning the candidate's record with women.
"It's all very well planned out," Trump commented on the protesters, who were heckling him on timed intervals, as the ninth person was removed from the auditorium.
As the 10th protester was removed, Trump said, "The Bernie Sanders people had far more energy and spirit," insulting the vigor with which the protesters heckled.
The protesters, reportedly all women, called for Trump to answer questions on his past claims on women’s issues:
A fifth female protestor just stood up and said "Mr. Trump you have to answer to women!"— Alan He (@alanhe) August 8, 2016
Trump did have one line apparently aimed at women voters in his speech: "My plan will also help reduce the cost of child care by allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of child care spending from their taxes," something that is often characterized as a women’s issue even though child care costs affect families of all types.
But whatever his goals were in addressing women in the speech, apparently they did not resonate with protesters, one of whom asked, "Why don’t you take sexual harassment seriously?"
Trump's history with women has been a thorn in his side this campaign 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. The New York Times also published a scathing profile depicting his private relationships with women dating back to his days in boarding school. (One of the women quoted in the article took issue with its "negative connotation" after it was published, but ultimately did not dispute the account.)
Women voters could prove to be Trump’s biggest weakness in the polls
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 the Republican nominee, who will be running against Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential candidate from one of the two major parties.
Exit polling during the primaries 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.
According to NBC's Dante 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.