Don't look now, but the 2016 presidential election remains a trash heap from which nobody can escape ― not until Nov. 9, at least. It was bad enough back when the race was merely a contest between a hyper-qualified yet widely disliked former secretary of state and a wildly unqualified and even more widely disliked businessman and reality TV personality. But now, everything is spiraling out of control, as evidenced by Donald Trump's latest excuse over accusations of sexual assault, which is that he's the victim of a conspiracy spearheaded by yet another woman.
During an interview with conservative radio host Mike Gallagher, the GOP nominee ― who currently faces the worst set of polls yet in more than a year of campaigning, with only a few scant weeks left in the race ― claimed that his multiple sexual assault accusers have only come forward with their allegations because they wanted "fame," or because "[Hillary] Clinton got them to do it."
In other words, in Trump's mind, it's either a group of individual women plotting against him so that they can achieve the cherished status that comes with publicly accusing a powerful man of sexual assault (which is laughable in the extreme), or because arguably the most widely recognized and powerful woman on Earth convinced them to. Simply put, no matter how you slice it, Trump's defense relies on a conspiracy of women aligned against him.
If it weren't obvious enough, this isn't the best campaign strategy when the polls show you losing among women by a staggering 15 points overall. In contrast, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney lost women by 12 points, and that was a historic margin. Nor is it the best idea when there's a public video of you boasting about sexually assaulting women which you're now arguing could only be explained by a conspiracy theory that most women are out to get you.
Perhaps needless to say, Trump has vehemently denied all the allegations, calling his accusers "horrible, horrible liars," and even implying that they weren't physically attractive enough for him to want to assault them, saying of accuser Jessica Leeds: "She would not be my first choice, that I can tell you."
It shouldn't be a surprise at this point that Trump's defense mechanism is a sexist and conspiratorial story about the forces of the political world aligning against him ― he's also suggested Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is scheming against him, which the party's leadership must be thrilled about. But seeing him reduced to this idea that women are scheming against him confirms at least one of two possibilities. One: Trump just doesn't care enough about his polling deficit among women right now, and thus doesn't care that much about actually winning the election. Or two: There simply isn't another credible reaction which wouldn't necessarily confirm some kind of wrongdoing on his part.
Or maybe a little of both? But wherever the truth lies, this much should basically be clear to everyone by now: It's going to get uglier and uglier over these last few weeks, leading up to what should be a landslide election on Nov. 8.