Trump supporters dream of ‘handmaid’s tale’ utopia

Never mind that Donald Trump has tried to take back his troubling remarks about contraception. Know this: If he is elected to a second term, the ultraconservative bloc of the Republican Party will do everything in its power to eliminate broad access to birth control. The reactionaries are determined to take the nation back to the 1950s — if not the 1850s.

In a recent interview with a Pittsburgh television station, Trump was asked, “Do you support any restrictions on a person’s right to contraception?” He replied, according to a video posted and later taken down, “We’re looking at that, and I’m going to have a policy on that very shortly.”

As his aides quickly grasped the danger those remarks posed to Trump’s campaign, the former president started to backpedal, insisting that he “has never and will never” impose restrictions on birth control. Don’t be fooled. Trump won’t have to impose restrictions. As he said later, he’d leave the issue to the states, where politicians with antediluvian views will restrict contraceptives.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a leading reactionary, has already sent the signal to GOP-controlled legislatures. When the high court struck down Roe v. Wade in 2022, Thomas wrote a concurring opinion that was even more chilling than the majority decision itself. He said that the court should reconsider opinions that guaranteed rights to same-sex relationships, same-sex marriage and contraception. (The court guaranteed the right to birth control in 1965.)

Even though warning lights are flashing a deep red over threats to democracy and individual rights, most Americans seem oblivious to the troubling signs, unperturbed by the indicators that show Trump’s loyalty to pseudo-Christian nationalists who hold disturbing views on women’s rights, sexual orientation, religious freedom and race. Just as far-right conservatives succeeded in their decades-long campaign to overturn Roe, they will keep pushing the nation back to a time when heterosexual white men were fully in control.
For many voters, that seems far-fetched. If the election were held next week, polls show, Trump would likely win because voters are angry about grocery prices, depressed over sky-high rents, upset over the surge of migrants at the border. They refuse to believe what’s coming if Trump wins — even though he has announced exactly what he will do.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton and her Democratic supporters tried to make clear what was in store if Trump won, including the possible demise of reproductive rights. Yet, a group of radical progressives, angry that Bernie Sanders didn’t win the nomination, insisted that they wouldn’t support her. Among those was actress Susan Sarandon, who suggested that Clinton was more dangerous than Trump.

These days, the threats that Trump poses ought to be clear to every voter who hasn’t swallowed large doses of Q-Anon poison. He has shown that he will shred the Constitution, persecute his political rivals and prop up dictators such as Vladimir Putin. He will likely try to prosecute journalists who are only doing their jobs. His former attorney general, William Barr, once said Trump “shouldn’t be anywhere near the Oval Office.” Trump’s former U.N. ambassador and political rival, Nikki Haley, once called Trump “unhinged” and “not qualified” to be president. Yet, both have now declared that they will vote for Trump. There will be no one with the power to block Trump’s most harmful actions.

And there will be nothing to stop the aggressive, reactionary-dominated state legislatures that want to follow Christianist principles of subjugating women, persecuting the LGBTQ+ community and restoring traditions of white supremacy. They are already hard at work blocking medical care for transgender youth, suppressing the teaching of Black history and decimating public schools with “school choice” vouchers.

In a recent commencement speech at Benedictine College, Harrison Butker, kicker for the winning Kansas City Chiefs, laid out a societal view that might have come straight out of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Not only did he bash President Joe Biden for supporting reproductive rights, but he went on to denounce “diabolical lies” women have supposedly been told about attaining professional success. He bragged that his wife has embraced “one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.”

If Trump is elected to a second term, Butker and his ilk will have free rein. No one should be surprised.

Cynthia Tucker won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.


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