It’s going to take a lot more than his usual bombast and braggadocio for Donald Trump to win female supporters in the general election.
In a game where candidates win elections by peeling off tiny percentages of different groups in different places, there is a solid core of women who will not vote for Donald Trump. That matters, a lot.
It helps if you understand that Donald Trump, the deal maker, sees himself as the World’s Best Salesman. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, selling things the way Trump does was a matter of learning to trick and mislead your client. You typically used a bunch of slick one-liners, repeating them over and over to program your targets into signing on the dotted line.
I went to work as a salesperson in the ’90s, when all that changed. The old sales guys clung to the old ways, and bragged to us young ‘uns about their ability to close a sale. But here’s what else changed in the ’90s: Sales organizations began to realize a sale wasn’t the only measure of success. If you bully, manipulate and trick someone into signing with you, you not only don’t get repeat business, you get an unhappy one-time customer who badmouths your company to everyone they know.
When I left journalism, I went to work in what they call “consultative” sales, which is grounded in ethics and authenticity. It is, quite simply, the difference between a one-night stand and an ongoing relationship.
Women, especially when their family is making a substantial investment, have greater natural sales resistance than men. They ask more questions, they’re slower to trust. And now, they’re casting some very skeptical eyes on the likely Republican nominee.
The percentages of women who had an unfavorable or negative impression of Trump in recent public polls are staggering: 67 percent (Fox News), 67 percent (Quinnipiac University), 70 percent (NBC News/Wall Street Journal), 73 percent (CNN/ORC) and 74 percent (ABC News/Washington Post).
Like other bad salesmen, Trump will try to erode any trust you have in his rival. “You bought your last one from Teddy over at Joe’s Used? Very nice man, very nice. Not, you know, real aggressive in trying to get you a good deal, maybe a little too nice, if you know what I mean. Kind of a loser, I think I heard his wife left him. I mean, if it’s not important to get the best deal, he’s not the worst person you could go to.”
Trump is trying to do that now with Hillary.
I don’t think women are going to buy it. Hillary is someone even her critics agree is probably the most well-prepared candidate ever to run for the top office. A former First Lady, a U.S. senator, former Secretary of State. Smart as a whip, well-informed on any issue you can name (and on hundreds you can’t).
This is one of my very favorite Hillary stories:
A reporter mentioned that she was scheduled to visit with the Mongolian president in his ceremonial yurt, the traditional Mongol dwelling. Clinton smiled. “It’s not a yurt,” she corrected, noting that Mongolians prefer not to use the Turkic term. “It’s a ger.”
It’s that kind of attention to detail that makes people trust her. And why not? She’s highly competent, innovative, and a kind and decent woman who is respected by anyone who’s ever worked with her. She has done countless things to make life better for ordinary Americans.
Unlike some people, who try to buy you off with a roll of quarters and a cheap casino buffet.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)