Written by Hannah Dunleavy

In The News

Donkeys and Elephants

Donald J Trump started as a joke and now the whole world is crying. Hannah Dunleavy is, like most right-thinking people, agog.

Illustrations by Louise Boulter

Illustrations by Louise Boulter.

Apologies, I’m a wee bit tardy delivering this week’s column: I hurt my tit with an iron. Boom! Woman card. No? Hurt my feelings on an iron? Hurt the patriarchy with my tit? I’m sorry, I don’t know what the woman card is.

The good news is, Hillary Clinton will be playing hers soon so all will become clear. Exciting times indeed. Unless it turns out to be like an M&S gift card you find in a drawer that you think about spending on wine but actually only has 37p left on it.

The woman card claim came, of course, from one Donald J Trump, who said that if Clinton were a man she’d only get five per cent of the vote.

The implication being that women are only going to vote for her because she’s a woman, rather than the many other good reasons there might be to vote for her. Not least of which is that she’s not Donald J Trump.

I speak about this as if it’s a fait accompli and of course it’s not. Bernie Sanders is not giving in yet, despite a consensus that it’s probably all over. But, in theory, as it stands, we’re headed for a summer blockbuster in which a tough, no-compromising woman faces off against a spoiled millionaire former playboy. It’ll be like living in a Jackie Collins novel. Without the sex. Please god, without the sex.

The Republican race remains weird as the day it started. Kasich and Cruz both dropped out, the latter launching a blistering attack on Trump, as a politician and a human being.

It came after the businessman repeated claims from the National Enquirer that Cruz’s dad met with Lee Harvey Oswald before he shot JFK. A claim so frankly bonkers I had an actual little cheer when I read it. And not just because I’ve only got two left on my Trump Bullshit Bingo card. (FYI: just ‘Suggests Sanders could be Zodiac killer’ and ‘Claims to have invented oxygen’ to go.)

If anyone could be accused of playing the ‘woman card’ this week, it was Cruz, who announced Carly Fiorina (remember her!) as his vice presidential running mate. Bearing in mind people don’t generally do this before they win the nomination and it was pretty clear he wasn’t going to win the nomination, it can only be construed as a last-ditch bid to persuade women that he really was on the same team as them, despite wanting a final say on what happens to their interiors.

Trump isn’t quite there yet though. There still remains the possibility that the GOP ignores the last year and fails to nominate him. It has certainly happened once before (possibly more, I’m not an encyclopedia) when Theodore Roosevelt decided to take a second crack at being president. He won the support of the public but not of the party. Which is precisely the situation Trump finds himself in now.

Now, let’s be clear, Roosevelt did farts that would make a better president than this guy, but they do share one key similarity: they are exactly the sort of bloke that would go off and stand under their own steam. And it’s fear of the damage caused when Roosevelt did it (the Democrats had the White House for eight years) that means that, even 100 years later, no one is going to take that decision lightly.

“We’re headed for a summer blockbuster in which a tough, no-compromising woman faces off against a spoiled millionaire former playboy. It’ll be like living in a Jackie Collins novel. Without the sex. Please god, without the sex.”

Although I kind of wish they would. Because a new terror has gripped me in the past few days and that is that Trump might well be about to play the ‘woman card’ himself.

He needs to nominate a Vice President and it would help his cause enormously if they appealed to women and to the core Republican Party. A few months ago I joked that if he picked Sarah Palin I couldn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t run the streets tearing at my clothes. When it occurred to me this week that she fits both criteria I was gripped by a certain terror I’m not going to able to shake until I know otherwise. (I know, a bloody cliffhanger.)

Sarah Palin as potential Veep is so ludicrous, so exquisitely scripted and so relentlessly awful an idea that, in this election, it seems to make it the most likely thing to happen. Because, as well we know, you couldn’t make this shit up.

I started writing about the US election because I thought it’d be fun. Increasingly, I’m not so sure what I’m looking at. A reality TV show? The fall of a civilisation? It’s going to be a long summer.

Read all of Donkeys and Elephants here.


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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.