February 14, 2018

One of the swirling substories around Rob Porter has been Donald Trump's utter refusal to come out and condemn wife-beating. Here he is in yet another press opportunity declining reporters' questions about it, which he will do forever and ever amen.

Sahil Kapur correctly diagnosed the problem for Wolf Blitzer: "There may be some element of political signaling to a certain type of Trump voter who grew up in the '50s, grew up in the '60s, has a very different conception of gender roles," he explained. "It's not that they condone violence, but i think there's a backlash many of these people feel to the MeToo movement."

"They don't like women on the streets making demands. Nostalgia is a core part of his repeal," he added.

Listen up, media, because your fellow Beltway media member has nailed it right on the head. Kapur is exactly right: This is a play for Trump's gynophobic, misogynist base and it is right up the alley he's walking on.

Trump and his spokesmen have indicated that he will spend less energy on legislation in 2018 and instead look for wedge issues like immigration and women's rights to fire up his base. How better to do that than have his trusted aide fired because he just happened to beat the crap out of his wife, just like certain elements of his base do?

There is a common thread in this administration. Steve Bannon, Corey Lewandowski, Rob Porter, Andrew Puzder and likely more are all part of that man-club that tolerates domestic violence and deeply resents women having any voice or agency at all. They ran that resentment alongside racial resentment right into the White House.

The politics of resentment is a powerful force. It remains to be seen whether it can be overcome in the midterms. If Democrats and progressives turn out, we'll vanquish it. If we stay home, Trump's cynicism will be rewarded.

Update: Here is Donald Trump, trying to thread the needle. It is not anywhere near enough, just a grudging way to shut off the questions.

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