‘What women problem?’
That was the slogan on flyers at the Women Vote Trump fringe event at the Republican National Convention. And this was the scene a few minutes after the advertised start time. None of the people sitting down in this picture are Trump supporters. They’re all with the media.
By the time the event actually kicked off—half an hour late when it became clear that no, nobody else was showing up—there were, to my count, thirty-five people in the room. That included the six speakers, the organizers, volunteers and press.
This was somewhat awkward, as the speakers spent much of their time ragging on the ‘liberal media’ and its apparent trade in lies. After blaming Obamacare for wage stagnation, Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn launched into a diatribe against all cable news, calling CBS the ‘Clinton B-S Network.’
Not believing the media appears to be an practice of faith for Trump’s supporters in the post-fact-based community. Tea Party ‘founding mother’ Amy Kremer insisted that ‘seventy-five to ninety percent’ of women she knows are for Trump, telling the handful of attendees that this truthiness is ‘not something that the mainstream media or the liberal bias media want you to know. But it’s definitely happening.’
As soon as I tweeted the picture above, Republican Twitter started claiming it was a fake. Leading to exchanges like this:
Guardian reporter Oliver Laughland, who was also in the room, backed me up, reminding detractors that the event was being broadcast live on C-SPAN. But that wasn’t good enough:
It is impossible to hold anything like rational debate through this sort of looking-glass. I was reminded of an exchange from Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland:
“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Trump’s followers may not believe the media, but they are proud to believe a good many impossible things before breakfast—one of which being that a candidate with a track record of populist misogyny and anti-woman rhetoric is popular with American women.