From what I have seen on talk shows and have read online, it seems that most people think that Donald Trump is threatening to bring up Bill Clinton’s adulterous affairs if Hillary attacks Trump for sexism. A few have noted that Trump’s divorces can be thrown back in his face if he makes such an attack.
But let us not forget the kind of man Trump is. He will not be content to talk about Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, and the related charges of sexual harassment, perjury, and obstruction of justice, though he will probably mention these women and those charges as a way of warming up his crowd. If Trump gets the Republican nomination and Hillary accuses him of sexism, he will go for the jugular. He will bring up the rape of Juanita Broaddrick. And as he recounts what Broaddrick alleged, it will lose nothing in the telling. He will go into graphic detail about the way Bill Clinton allegedly held her down, biting her lip to keep her from trying to get away, and then telling her to put some ice on her swollen lip as he walked out the door.
Many have argued that Hillary should not be held accountable for the sins of her husband. But the association of ideas is a more primitive form of thinking than reason and nice moral distinctions, which is why Caesar’s wife must be beyond reproach.
However, there is a deeper problem that Hillary must confront that cannot be dismissed simply by saying that it is unfair to hold a wife responsible for her husband’s behavior. At some point during the campaign, Hillary will be asked this question: “Do you believe Juanita Broaddrick?” It is unthinkable that she will say, “Yes, she is telling the truth. Bill raped that woman.” Therefore, she must say that Broaddrick is lying. This will put her in an untenable position.
One aspect of the war on women with which Republicans are often charged is their tendency not to take women seriously when they claim to have been raped. We Democrats often argue that women are afraid to come forward when they are raped, fearing they will be vilified, accused of being a slut, of wanting attention, of lying. We further argue that we must encourage women to come forward when they have been sexually assaulted and not let the men who violated them go unpunished. And I am sure that Hillary would agree with all that, in general.
But what will she say when asked, “Why don’t you believe Juanita Broaddrick?” And I don’t mean, what will she say if asked that question on Meet the Press? I mean, what will she say when Donald Trump asks her that question during a presidential debate?
Hillary should back down from Trump’s threat and refrain from accusing him of sexism, however deserved the charge may be. He is too dangerous.