Not #ThemToo

I’m flabbergasted. Why did the Kavanaugh hearings convince so many GOP women of a certain age that past sexual harassment was no longer cause for prosecution?

sister sledging chartHere’s what we know. The Economist is reporting from its YouGov survey. Between November 2017 and September 2018, the percentage of female Trump voters over age 65 who believe “men who sexually harassed women 20 years ago should keep their jobs today” leaped from about 30% to near 80%.

What gives?

The article suggests a couple of explanations. Perhaps this group of mature women worries about the professional status of their grown sons. They don’t want teenage peccadillos held against their “boys” in their adult careers. But that would apply equally to female Clinton voters of the same age, and that group has swerved in the opposite direction.

Or, The Economist wonders, do older GOP women have a “we survived it, so will you” attitude toward sexual harassment? Something we might call MMSS (Mad Men Survivor Syndrome)? That seems equally sketchy to this reporter. Even if some Trump voters feel that way, it doesn’t seem like it would be enough to push the needle so far.

Finally, The Economist suggests that this demographic is merely parroting the attitudes of their domineering husbands. They cite one observer from the Midwest who reported watching GOP husbands filling in ballots for their wives as well. Could that really be such a widespread phenomenon? And, even if so, why were the numbers so different as recently as November 2017?

In the end, none of the explanations offered make sense to me. They don’t adequately explain why so many GOP voters embraced this “water-under-the-bridge” attitude toward sexual harassment.

Any suggestions out there? Any GOP-voting women have a better explanation for us?

I Am Out of Whack

I’m absolutely flummoxed. New poll numbers reported in The Economist make me wonder how I got so out of whack with what most people are thinking. Am I missing something?metoo backlash economist

Here’s what we know: According to The Economist,

this year-long storm of allegations, confessions and firings has actually made Americans more sceptical [sic–wacky Brits] about sexual harassment.

With only one categorical exception, it appears the respondents in the Economist poll tend to feel more suspicious today about women who complain about sexual harassment than they did last year. Only Clinton voters, that is, are more likely today to think that twenty-year-old harassment accusations are worth acting upon. And even those Clinton voters are more likely now to think that false accusations are a bigger problem than unreported assaults, and that women’s complaints cause more problems than they solve.

Can I really be this out of touch with majority opinion? In my imagination, at least, the last year has provided a public coming-to-terms with the dangers and demons of sexual harassment. It has forced all of us to reckon with old demons of frat-boy antics and glib sexual aggression.

But unless I’m reading this wrong, my sense of how my fellow Americans are feeling is not even close to reality. Can someone please explain this to me?

1.) How is it possible that more people are more suspicious of women’s accusations than of men’s aggressive actions? And

2.) What was it in the past year that made people feel this way?