John Gibbs, a 2020 election denier backed by former President Donald Trump in the race to represent Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, once claimed women's suffrage was linked to the decline of American society.
The GOP is struggling to respond to the women-powered backlash over the Supreme Court rescinding federal abortion rights, and some fear it may derail their midterm election hopes. For that reason, it’s hard to think of less welcome news than reports that one of their candidates spoke out against women's right to vote.
But, courtesy of CNN, that’s what the GOP got on Wednesday.
According to the outlet:
As a student at Stanford University in the early 2000s, Gibbs founded a self-described “think tank” called the Society for the Critique of Feminism that argued women did not “posess (sic) the characteristics necessary to govern,” and said men were smarter than women because they are more likely to “think logically about broad and abstract ideas in order to deduce a suitable conclusion, without relying upon emotional reasoning.”
A personal page for Gibbs that lived on Stanford’s website in 2000 and 2001 argued for a patriarchal society run by men, CNN reported, with Gibbs’ site calling that arrangement “the best model for the continued success of a society.”
Evidence to the contrary abounds.
The so-called think tank's website at the time stated that the fact people under 18 years old can’t vote justifies denying women the vote, claiming “we cannot say that women should be able to vote simply because they are a large part of the population.”
The site claimed women joining the federal workforce increased the size of government, which he said meant “the United States has suffered as a result of women’s suffrage."
Gibbs at the time condemned the 19th Amendment, which theoretically gave women the right to vote in 1920, in a comment on his group's website that linked to another anti-feminist website, Father's Manifesto.
“A great website detailing, among other things, the unconstitutional laws which passed as a result of the 19th amendment," Gibbs wrote, "and providing further evidence of the damages done by the 19th amendment: The 19th Amendment and the Totalitarian State.”
And even that’s not the full extent of his bigotry.
The archived site shows Gibbs also challenged claims women have been historically oppressed; the idea that a patriarchal society is wrong; and the idea of women serving in combat, just to name a few. He also claimed men are smarter than women.
“If by ‘smart,’ one means the ability to think logically about broad and abstract ideas in order to deduce a suitable conclusion, without relying upon emotional reasoning, I think the answer is yes,” he wrote.
As you might imagine, Gibbs and his team have desperately tried to hide this misogynistic organization from the public and downplay its seriousness when confronted with it by reporters. Gibbs had the site removed from an internet archive, known as the Wayback Machine, back in 2016. But the outlet recovered it using a different archive, according to CNN.
And a spokesperson for Gibbs tried to do damage control by suggesting the House candidate, in his early 20s at the time, was just a “college kid being over the top.”
“John made the site to provoke the left on campus and to draw attention to the hypocrisy of some modern-day feminists. It was nothing more than a college kid being over the top,” Gibbs' spokeswoman Anne Marie Schieber told CNN. “Of course, John does not believe that women shouldn’t vote or shouldn’t work, and his mother worked for thirty-three years for the Michigan Department of Transportation!”
That statement doesn’t make Gibbs look any better. Especially the part about Gibbs’ mother, whose son, despite her hard work, made misogynistic comments questioning women's right to vote.
And, of course, there’s the obvious lunacy in Gibbs suggesting attacking women’s suffrage was an attack on the “left” and “modern-day feminists”... as if those were the only women who vote.
He’s very wrong about that, and one way or another he’ll learn that this fall. For his sake, he better hope the women who cast ballots in this election ignore the fact he’s on the record claiming they shouldn’t have the right to do so.