Listen to women more and Donald Trump’s smears against them less.

Rob Crilly is an award-winning foreign correspondent and author of Saving Darfur. He writes The Malcontent’s ‘Email from America’ column…

The Trump show landed in New York on Wednesday evening. On Long Island to be precise.

Cue stand-off with protesters and arrests outside the conference centre. Inside there was thunderous cheering and what passes for a Trump stump speech: “I love these people. These are my people,” and so on.

I spent my evening elsewhere at an event felt like a Trump antidote shot straight into my arm.

Tina Brown’s Women In The World summit is in its seventh year and although it wasn’t planned as such, at times it took on the air of an anti-Trump rally.

It opened with Afghan rapper Sonita Alizadeh and her song about forced marriages — a personal story about how her mother tried to sell her to a groom for a $9000 dowry.

There was Obiageli Ezekwesili, the founder of Bring Back Our Girls, the Nigerian campaign to rescue the hundreds of female prisoners taken by Boko Haram.

And Iman Elman, who on her first day in the Somali army was handed two pairs of trousers to sew into a skirt. She decided to wear them as trousers and has now risen to the rank of captain, fighting the violent jihadists of al-Shabaab.

We heard from three mothers whose children had been shot dead in the US and whose experiences had led them to campaign for gun law reform, taking on the powerful lobby of the National Rifle Association and plenty of entrenched special interests.

We heard from Rula Ghani describe her work as Afghanistan’s first lady, trying to protect women’s rights in a country where the Taliban is on the front foot once again despite almost 15 years of conflict.

But perhaps the biggest cheer of the night was for Megyn Kelly, the Fox News anchor, whose very public spat with Trump has come to define some of the misogyny at the heart of America’s 2016 election race.

She explained Trump’s anger as a sign of what he saw as a betrayal. He had telephoned her with praise, she said, and sent her complimentary press clippings (signed Donald J Trump, bizarrely) during the run-up to his entry into the Republican race last year.

So when she delivered some tough questions during the first debate last year, he felt he had been unfairly treated.

The result is a long-running bombardment of personal insults and public denunciations — a “third rate” host of a “second-rate” show, and so on — in one of the ugliest facets of an already ugly contest.

Her analysis was that the problem lay squarely with the media.

“We have to worry about numbers to some extent…but we also have to worry about our souls and journalism,” she said, bringing loud applause.

Do TV networks break into their schedules for live feeds of any other candidates but Trump? Of course, they don’t.

But if Trump and his campaign have served a purpose during this election cycle, it has been to highlight the misogyny that lurks just below the surface of American life.

It is not just alive among Twitter trolls and Internet creeps. It can surge back into the mainstream of political discourse as fast as it takes to say:

“If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”

Just like his hateful comments on abortion, his positions expose how the poisonous rhetoric of the right is carefully concealed behind fudges.

If they want to outlaw abortion, then criminalising the women that have such illegal procedures –as Trump suggested, then abandoned — is the logical conclusion.

If Ted Cruz wants to secure the southern border, then Trump’s wall is the only real way to do it.

Trump is becoming the progressive American’s useful idiot, exposing the hatred that lies amid so much of Republican thinking.

It amplifies the power of the women at the summit on Wednesday evening, their stories and their solutions and serves as a reminder that for all of Trump’s bluster, he will be on the losing side of any moral reckoning.

It’s a tragedy that he gets all the headlines and they don’t.

Image credit: DonkeyHotey [full sourcing here].

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