Trump's 'enabler' charge against Clinton won't work

Trump and Clinton face off on the campaign trail
Trump and Clinton face off on the campaign trail


    Trump and Clinton face off on the campaign trail


Trump and Clinton face off on the campaign trail 02:06

Story highlights

  • Maria Cardona says female voters won't buy his argument that Clinton was an enabler
  • Trump's attitudes toward women will be bad for him as a general election candidate, Cardona says

Maria Cardona, a political commentator for CNN, is a Hillary Clinton supporter and Democratic Party superdelegate. She is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, which does work for a super PAC supporting Clinton. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.

(CNN)Warning: This article contains offensive language.

Donald Trump's current strategy of attacking Hillary Clinton as an enabler of her husband's peccadilloes will not succeed. Nor will he win by accusing her of condemning the women who supposedly were the ones committing these indiscretions with her husband. Hillary by contrast, will fight back and win by focusing on the issues that will help women and their families lead better lives.
Maria Cardona
First of all, if these are the stones Trump is going to throw, he needs to move out of his very brittle glass house. The derogatory words Donald Trump has used to describe women are legion and have already been used against him by some of his Republican rivals during the primary. They were not successful in vanquishing the real estate magnate because the Republican primary electorate looks very different from what a general election electorate will look like.
    Trump starts with an already massive deficit in approval ratings among women in general -- 70% have a negative view of Mr. Trump -- and these are women who will be ripe for hearing more about how he denigrates, makes fun of and reduces a woman to being just a "piece of ass."
    If you separate that out to African-American women at 92% negatives, and Latinas at 86%, according on the GW University Battleground poll by Tarrance Group and Lake Research Partners, it indicates just how prohibitively difficult his rehabilitation among female voters -- who are most engaged and participatory, and who represent 53% of the electorate -- is going to be.
    Secondly, any woman who has experienced infidelity by her partner will not be quick to criticize Clinton for either wanting to believe her husband or for even expressing -- in less than glowing terms and in private conversations -- what she thought of these women. She is a human being after all, and this was an incredibly painful and heart-wrenching period for her and her family.
    She chose to keep her family together, and that is her personal choice to make. Most women understand that choice, even if it might not have been the one every woman would have made.
    Let's remember, she is the one running for president, not her husband. She should be judged by her own actions, her own record, and her own public-facing words. This is a woman who has fought for women and children and families for three decades, while Donald Trump was running around Manhattan polishing his image as a Playboy millionaire, going on the Howard Stern show boasting of his conquests and how famous married women desired him, talking about oral sex, venereal diseases, judging the looks and builds of possible sex partners, marrying and divorcing three times over.
    C'mon America. Is this someone you want in the White House? Is this someone you want as your commander in chief? Is this someone you can hold up to your kids and say what a great role model he is? I think we all know the answer to that.
    Trump supporters or Clinton critics would say, "Well he can't be worse than Bill Clinton," to which I would respond that if you really thought Bill Clinton was bad for women because of his weaknesses, why in hell would you want to repeat that tenfold with someone like Donald Trump?
    Trump supporters would also say that Trump really didn't mean any of those derogatory and demeaning statements he made about women. That it was all for show. That when in the White House, he will act very differently. Presidential even.
    Well, I'm sorry, but the job of President of the United States and leader of the free world is too important to trust to a man who has behaved, in both word and deed, exactly the opposite of what we would want and deserve to have representing us in the White House. That contrasts with Bill Clinton, whose weaknesses were personal, and who never spoke in a denigrating manner about women or members of any other demographic. Clinton's administration was responsible for the greatest economic expansion in a generation, which helped women and their families succeed and get ahead.
    And consider Hillary Clinton's career. She fought for and helped achieve health care coverage for 8 million children while she was first lady. She co-sponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which allows women to sue for equal pay for equal work. She has championed paid family leave, affordable child care, equal pay for equal work, affordable, debt-free college, and has focused her campaign on breaking down barriers for middle-class families, while Donald Trump talks about building walls, forcefully removing millions of people and keeping a whole religion out of the country.
    Hillary Clinton is far from perfect. She is a self-described policy wonk who finds the art of campaigning difficult and admits it does not come naturally to her. She does not wear her heart on her sleeve. But she has put her heart in her lifelong fight for those who traditionally have not had a voice or a champion in their corner. Many women know exactly how that feels.
    As women, we are not our partners' keepers. We are our families' breadwinners, protectors, guardians, voices and unifiers. We stand on our own words and deeds and we will judge our candidates as such. If that is indeed the case, then Hillary Clinton has an excellent chance of being the next and first female President of the United States. And the country will be better for it.