Did you hear? Hillary Clinton created the Islamic State, the vicious terrorist network best known for beheadings.
The billionaire businessman with a penchant for bankruptcies and a 50-50 chance of being our next president dropped that little bombshell the day the nation officially mourned the murders of five Dallas police officers and while President Barack Obama pleaded for unity and civility.
Of course, the above-mentioned real estate mogul, who thinks the universe revolves around him, did not explain what he could possibly have meant. Or present any evidence. He just conjured the thought of Hillary being responsible for the Islamic State out of thin air and said it. And then he moved on.
The really dreary problem is that the white men wearing gimme hats (those ubiquitous duck-billed toppers once passed out freely by seed, fertilizer and tractor companies) in the Indiana audience Donald Trump was addressing applauded lustily.
The relatively few women in the audience looked puzzled.
And there we have it. A gender gap of epic proportions. Possibly historic. And, suddenly, Hillary’s best hope.
This is what current polls are showing: White men without educations love Trump. White women with educations can’t stand him. White men with educations don’t much care for him either but are conflicted, wondering when the golf course icon will stop saying ridiculous things. White women without educations may tell their husbands they’ll vote for Trump, but it is by no means certain that they will.
Pollsters are scratching their heads trying to figure out what is going on.
In truth, polls right now mean very little. On any given day, you will see that Clinton and Trump are 3 points apart, Clinton leading. Or you will read that she has a 9-point lead but the race is narrowing. You do not yet see that Trump is winning nationwide, except among white men without college educations. The all-important swing states are close. Trump leads in Florida, but Clinton leads in Iowa and Pennsylvania. They are tied in Ohio.
We’ll see if Trump gets a bump from his big show-and-tell extravaganza this week in Cleveland. But to win in November Trump needs women.
“I love the women,” he often brays. But so far most women voters don’t love him.
Things he could do
So that is the question: Can Trump win over women voters? How?
He could mellow out and stop talking nonsense. He has been persuaded — sort of — to stop swearing in public. He slips up now and then.
He could do a 180 and admit he is not always right. He could apologize to the many, many groups he has publicly maligned and keeps on maligning although even his children tell him to stop.
He could forgive Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for calling him a “faker,” stop saying “her mind is shot” and take her out to lunch, although he’d need a taster for the food.
He could come out for a $15 minimum hourly wage and say he was just joking when he said that American workers are paid too much.
He could congratulate Great Britain on its second woman prime minister and publicly wish, with a sigh, that the United States really, someday, should have its first woman president.
He could adopt the slogan of the new PM, Theresa May: A country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.
He could declare a national Trump Transparency Day and release his tax returns and provide an honest accounting of his wealth.
He could use public transportation, providing his private planes and copters and limos to transport sick children to hospitals for free treatment.
He could give back the tuition money students paid to Trump University, which promised to make them rich before it went out of business.
He could stop outsourcing to China his ostentatiously Trump-named products, such as his clothing line, and possibly even explain how he would “create so many jobs your heads will spin.”
He could decide to be less combative, confrontational and outrageous and become compassionate, thoughtful and knowledgeable about national issues.
He could be an adult.
Did you hear? Hillary Clinton personally rigged the whole system!