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The minute Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, the movement to take him down began. Liberal women appalled that Hillary Clinton lost to Trump have emerged as the pink wave that’s expected to hit Republicans hard on Tuesday.

From the Women’s March to #MeToo, these attempts to get women motivated to vote — and to run in record numbers — have gotten a lot of attention and hype.

And Tuesday will be the pink wave’s true test. Are women as riled up as they appear to be?

Michigan is Exhibit A for a wave of women on the ballot. On the Democratic side, the top three names for statewide races are all women: Gretchen Whitmer for governor, Jocelyn Benson for secretary of state and Dana Nessel for attorney general.

Women also dominate in other races, such as for the state Legislature, and for key congressional races currently held by Republican men.

A few Republican women are on the ballot, too. But this pink crusade has purposely left out conservative women.

Some on the Democratic side have played the woman card more than others. Recall Nessel’s early campaign ad, where she outright says the best and most trustworthy candidate is the one without a penis. And Whitmer has actively campaigned at Women’s Marches, and she also made it clear she was on the side of Christine Blasey Ford during this fall’s Supreme Court battle over the nomination of now Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Women outside Michigan have also harnessed #MeToo for their political gain. Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, has been one of the worst. She’s led an assault against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is correctly working to bring due process to campus sexual misconduct investigations, which fall under the department’s Civil Rights office.

Yet Murray is making outrageous and false claims about the Title IX reforms DeVos is overseeing. She got fellow Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren and several other Democrats to sign on to a letter last month asking DeVos to hit pause on the new directive.

They wrote: “October marks the one-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, where brave survivors have come forward to fight back against assault, harassment, rape and other forms of gender violence and discrimination. At a time of heightened awareness surrounding issues of sexual harassment and assault, the last action the department should undertake is to roll back protections for newly empowered survivors.”

Overplaying this card could backfire. A new Ipsos/NPR study found that more than 40 percent of Americans believe the #MeToo movement has gone too far. Of course, the divide is deep between Republicans (75 percent think it’s gone too far) and Democrats (only 21 percent feel the same).

Women on the left say they want to send a message this election. And next week will be their chance to do that.

ijacques@detroitnews.com 


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