Transgender Bathrooms Might be the New Gay Marriage for Conservatives

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Jim Geraghty asks a question that’s been on my mind too:

How happy do you think Hillary Clinton is with the Obama administration’s decision that schools must permit transgender students to use the bathroom they prefer?

Here’s an issue that will irk a lot of parents of daughters who might otherwise not care that much about politics. It’s not an automatic political winner for Obama and his allies; a Reuters poll found 43 percent saying that people should use public restrooms “according to the biological sex on their birth certificate” compared to 41 percent who opt for “according to the gender with which they identify.” Sure, Donald Trump said he opposed the North Carolina law, but if this rule makes you feel like Washington is arrogant, meddling, out-of-touch, and forcing changes upon your community that you don’t want, who do you think you’re going to vote for?

It’s almost inevitable that liberals will annoy a lot of people over cultural issues like this. It goes with the territory. But I suspect Geraghty is right: Hillary Clinton would probably have preferred that this just stay on the back burner for a while.

It’s true that she caught a break when Donald Trump said he didn’t think this was a big problem and states like North Carolina should just settle down. But let me tell you something about Trump: he could change his mind. Really! I’ve seen him do it. It wouldn’t even be hard. All he has to do is say that he favored leaving things alone, but if the Obama administration is going to start sending out decrees to schools about it, well, that’s going too far. We need to fight back against this kind of government overreach in the service of PC nonsense.

We’ll see. But as a voter turnout tool for conservatives, this could be the new gay marriage. I wonder if it will be for liberals too?

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate