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"You deserve every charge of sexism thrown at you”: a conservative activist quits GOP after Trump tape

"All you’ll have left is the party The Left always accused you of being."

Trump Holds Campaign Event In West Palm Beach, Florida Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Nate Silver published a piece on FiveThirtyEight analyzing the gender gap in support for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

According to the Public Religion Research Institute Poll, Trump leads Clinton by 11 points among men while Clinton leads Trump by 33 points among women. The gap is considerably wider in other polls.

For perspective, Silver aggregated the results from all the national polls and projected the Electoral College vote if only men or women participated. With women only voting, Clinton wins 458-80. With men only voting, Trump wins 350-188.

The gender split is particularly stark against the backdrop of Trump’s nightmarish week, a week in which his rank misogyny was exposed in the form of a leaked recording from 2005.

For Marybeth Glenn, a conservative blogger in Wisconsin, Trump’s latest scandal was the final straw. On Monday night, she unleashed a storm of tweets that quickly went viral. Both the Atlantic and the Weekly Standard covered it, and thousands of people reposted it on Twitter.

Glenn’s ire was aimed at the Republican Party in general and conservative men in particular. “If you can’t stand up for women and unendorse this piece of human garbage,” she wrote, “you deserve every charge of sexism thrown at you.”

The tweets are worth a read, as are the mostly sympathetic responses she received. She clearly touched a nerve, and she’s clearly not alone in her decision to walk away from a party that, in her words, has decided to “sit this one out.”

I reached out to Glenn on Thursday and asked her about the response to her tweets and what it’s like to be a conservative and a woman during this campaign.

Our conversation, edited for length and clarity, follows.

Sean Illing

Were you opposed to Trump from the very beginning?

Marybeth Glenn

I was absolutely against Trump from day one. His treatment of minorities from the very beginning revolted me, and as the behavior continued, my blogging and tweeting against him increased. There were a lot of us bloggers and writers in the conservative movement who warned the GOP, knowing that if he gained this level of support it would be toxic for the movement.

Sean Illing

Do you feel vindicated watching Trump’s campaign implode, or are you more upset that this was allowed to happen?

Marybeth Glenn

I think it's a mixture of both. The only way for the conservative movement to rebuild is if the Trump ship goes the way of the Titanic, bringing everyone who has joyfully supported him (politicians, talking heads, etc.) down with him.

Those reluctantly supporting him also need to realize that the ship is going down and they're running out of lifeboats. The longer they stay, the more a lack of character is exposed.

Marybeth Glenn.

Sean Illing

How surprised are you by the reaction to your series of tweets about your decision to abandon the party? It seems to have touched a nerve.

Marybeth Glenn

I'm stunned! Like I said, I've been speaking out against him for quite a while, and those previous posts have garnered some attention in conservative circles, but I never expected this to make such a splash. I've had Trump supporters tell me to "get back in the kitchen," and "go home and be a dutiful wife," etc., but those were expected.

Conservative women who stood for principles over party throughout this election are very accustomed to horrific attacks and attempts to scare us into silence. At first it was surprising, but sadly it's become normal. My fellow female conservative bloggers have gone through the same issues — some Trump supporters have even attempted to get them fired from their jobs. I was always prepared for that kind of thing.

The women from both sides of the party who've felt united by the tweets have been heartwarming. Despite disagreements on various issues, we've been able to come together as outspoken women and say that this is wrong and that it won't be tolerated. If someone wants to get in office, they need women, that's been made clear, but those votes must be earned.

Sean Illing

Do you feel betrayed by the leaders of the conservative movement, especially the men, who refused to take a stand against Trump sooner?

Marybeth Glenn

Absolutely. It's a sign of how underappreciated we are. I said in a post a while back that those considering an allegiance with Donald Trump should remember that it's us or them. Dedicated conservatives versus hateful racists, bigots, and sexists. They couldn't have us both. And women who, despite dealing with the normal debates between the right and left also had to deal with vicious attacks from Trump followers, deserved better from those still supporting him.

Sean Illing

Is there anything the Republican Party can do to win back your support after this?

Marybeth Glenn

Those who have joyfully followed after Trump and played the role of gleeful apologist? Absolutely not. I will never — emphasis on "never" — support men like [Gov. Mike] Pence, [Sen. Jeff] Sessions, etc., who have completely sold their souls to support a dangerous man. And I think the reluctant voters who are simply voting for him out of desperation should apologize publicly to those they let down.

As for the party title, I will not be calling myself a Republican any longer. I'm a conservative, and there are still some very good Republicans who came to their senses and have turned their backs on Trump (or, like [Sen.] Ben Sasse, never supported him in the first place) who I will gladly vote for.

I think conservatives will need to regroup and build off the NeverTrump movement in order to create the inviting and inclusive movement we need in today's world.


Watch: Trump's offensive comments on women