As predicted, after having lost on gay marriage, Republican bigots are rallying around state-level legislation denying trans rights in order to energize their hateful voters for 2016 contests and Ted Cruz is using it to try to save his failing campaign for the White House.
Transgender rights have become an unlikely and heated issue in the presidential campaign after North Carolina enacted a law that, among other things, mandated that people use the restroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate.
Cruz has seized on Trump’s assertion that the North Carolina law, which also rolled back other protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people, was unnecessary and bad for business — corporations including PayPal and Deutsche Bank scrapped plans to create jobs in the state after the legislation was enacted. Trump said there has been “little trouble” with allowing people to use the restroom they want, though he later said that states should have the power to enact their own laws. Trump also said he would let transgender reality-television star Caitlyn Jenner use the women’s restroom at his properties.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he probably wouldn’t have signed the North Carolina law, while both Democratic candidates have condemned it.
“There’s been a significant amount of conversation about it on the presidential level,” said Cathryn Oakley, senior legislative counsel at the Human Rights Campaign, who said 50 anti-transgender bills have been filed nationwide this year. “In terms of it being new territory, the answer is yes.”
Cruz’s argument centers on the idea that allowing transgender women to use women’s restrooms would lead to deviants dressing up as women and preying on young girls. His campaign released an ad accusing Trump of capitulating to the “PC police” and asking viewers whether a grown man pretending to be a woman should use a restroom with your daughter or wife.
“Donald Trump thinks so,” the ad reads.
Cruz has woven his support of North Carolina’s law into his stump speech. There has been some backlash: A woman holding a “Trans lives matter” sign protested outside of a stop Cruz made in Allentown, Pa., on Friday.
Whether it's gay marriage 20 years ago or abortion issues ten years ago, the GOP has depended on measures designed to punish those people to get angry voters to the polls, especially in mid-terms. It's worked in the past. There's little reason to believe this won't continue to work in 2016, 2018 or beyond.
The notion that Trump-hating Republicans won't show up at the polls in order to get revenge on liberals is cute, but entirely wrong. They'll show. They always do.