Home / U.S. / Sarah Sanders said that the 2016 elections put an end to the debate over Trump’s treatment for women. Not quite.

Sarah Sanders said that the 2016 elections put an end to the debate over Trump’s treatment for women. Not quite.

"The president responded to the comments during the campaign, We firmly believe that the people of the country also addressed that when they elected the president of Donald Trump, I have nothing to add"


There are things that are good in that Sanders statement. And things that are totally and completely wrong.

Sanders is right in saying that Trump addressed the allegations during the course of the campaign.

"As you have seen, I am one of the great political defamation campaigns in the history of our country," Trump said at a rally in North Carolina in mid-October 2016. "They persecute me to try to destroy what they even consider the largest movement in the history of our country. "

repeated similar denials during the last days of the campaign. And Sanders herself, from the White House podium, has said that Trump's official position is that the women who accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior simply lie.

You can not agree with Trump's argument. Or think you're not telling the truth. But there is no denying that he has addressed the accusations, albeit in his own unique way.

This is the next part of Sanders' statement in which he delves into a much dirtier territory about the facts.

"We strongly felt that the people of the country also addressed that when they elected Donald Trump as their president," Sanders said.

Obviously, you can not verify a feeling. But it's worth checking Sanders' argument here. And that argument is this: the recording of "Access Hollywood" and the denunciations made by more than a dozen women that Trump had harassed them were everywhere in the run up to the elections, and Trump still won. Which means that people did not care. And that the explanations that Trump has already offered on these accusations are, therefore, totally sufficient.

More or less. But not really.

This is what we know from the 2016 exit poll about how people considered the "Hollywood Access" tape and the accusations against Trump in their votes. When asked, "Does Donald Trump's treatment of women bother you?" 70% of the electorate of 2016 said "yes", while 29% said "no". Among the "yes" group, Hillary Clinton won between 65% and 29%. Among the "no" group, Trump won 87% to 10%.

What is interesting is that while Trump lost among those who were very upset about his treatment of women, he really won among people who were upset, but not as much.

People who said Trump's behavior bothered them "a lot" (50% of the electorate) went to Clinton by 72 percentage points. On the contrary, those who said that Trump's treatment of women bothered them, "some" (20%) were by Trump in 52 points. The same thing happened to those who said that Trump's behavior bothered them "not much" that he chose Trump for 80 points.

(It's worth noting here: Clinton won almost 3 million votes over Trump)

What those numbers suggest is that for a piece of voters, Trump's behavior toward women was decisive in his vote. And they, in general, voted for Clinton. But for another large group of voters who did not like Trump's behavior, it was not enough to discourage them from voting for him. Other things mattered more, namely, that Trump was successfully chosen as an agent of change in an election in which people wanted a change.

Sanders is not right in his claim that the elections made it clear that voters did not care about the problem of Trump's behavior with respect to women. Many and many were deeply concerned, and voted against Trump en masse. And / but: I care a lot, but not enough to vote against Trump.

Another thing is important to say here: There is nothing, no. one. thing. – in the exit poll data or voting itself that suggests that voters accepted Trump's version of the facts regarding the accusations made against him by these women. They may not have voted on that issue, but to say that the 2016 elections were a Trump exoneration against all these accusations is to take about five logical leaps too many.

Trump won. Even with these accusations against him. Both things are true. But trying to use the first fact to discard the second is a massive error.

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