The establishment is hoping that the third time’s the charm in painting Republican front-runner Donald Trump as a woman hating bully. The Donald’s justified retaliation against Ted Cruz whose dirty trickster Liz Mair slut-shamed Mrs. Trump in a sleazy attack ad has set off an Easter weekend stampede to crucify the candidate upon a cross of misogyny. This followed Trump’s threat to “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz as well as his tweeting out an unflattering image of her and Melania – a sexy former model. Mr. Cruz deserves a best actor award for his melodramatic, over the top blasting of Trump as a “sniveling coward” as he defended his Goldman Sachs executive spouse and such a bumper sticker slogan is pure gold when it comes to cranking out hit pieces and attack ads.

The media and political class are pouncing as they form a protective wall around poor victimized Heidi although Trump has already twice fended off similar attacks. The first being the great Megyn Kelly vaginal blood firestorm- note that the Fox News chippie immediately jumped in on this one – but that quickly petered out after a four day onslaught. Second was the deafening outcry when a Rolling Stone magazine interview quoted Trump as mocking the looks of horse-faced former Hewlett-Packard CEO and failed presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. That one however went down faster than a crack-ho on a busy Friday night. The hope though is that Americans will be horrified to the point where they rally around the one of the most unlikable men in politics as he defends his scorned wife’s honor.

The news this morning is inundated with stories featuring variations on the take that Trump is a male chauvinist pig, sexist, misogynist and woman hater. For example the virulently anti-Trump Washington Post posits that “Donald Trump can’t stop saying nasty things about women. It could cost him”:

A nasty feud that escalated Thursday between Donald Trump and his chief Republican rival over their wives set off a new wave of alarm among establishment Republicans, who fear that the GOP front-runner would drive away female voters in a general-election fight with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s gender problem flared again this week as he and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas traded insults while Cruz’s wife, Heidi, became the target of vitriol on social media from Trump and his supporters. At one point, the real estate mogul retweeted an unflattering image contrasting Heidi Cruz’s appearance with his wife, Melania, a retired model.

“The images are worth a thousand words,” read the caption on the photo that Trump retweeted to his 7.2 million followers.

That message and others have prompted an outcry among Republicans and Democrats alike, while Cruz said Thursday that “real men don’t bully women.”

“Our spouses and our children are off-bounds,” Cruz told reporters while campaigning in Dane, Wis. “It is not acceptable for a big, loud New York bully to attack my wife. It is not acceptable for him to make insults, to send nasty tweets.”

He added: “Donald, you’re a sniveling coward. Leave Heidi the hell alone.”

The altercation underscores the striking nastiness of the GOP primary race and the uncomfortable gender politics surrounding Trump, who has a long history of making incendiary remarks about women and their appearance. Trump has shown little reluctance in attacking his female rivals — or some of his rivals’ spouses — in ways that strike many as sexist or demeaning, and many fear that the insults are a harbinger of the gutter rhetoric to come if he faces Clinton in November.

Of course far be it from the WAPO to add the context that it was the Cruz surrogate Mair who started the whole thing with that tasteless exploitation of Trump’s own wife. But actually in an amazing sort of way it looks as though the GOPe has actually learned something this time around. John Ellis Bush aka Jeb! began his death spiral when he failed to aggressively defend his own wife Columba against Trump’s potshots and then became the billionaire’s personal bitch thereafter. Cruz is a cunning Ivy League slickster as well as a vastly superior politician than Mr. Bush and he wasn’t about to make the same mistake.

While many establishment Republicans (translation: RINOS) are gleefully piling on Trump over his Heidi Cruz tweets they are cutting off their own noses to spite their faces because the war on women card is going to be the weapon of choice in the general election. It can easily be flipped to attack Cruz over his stance on abortion and rest assured that it will be. If he somehow manages to beat back Trump and survive a brokered convention where he is also a target he will be easy pickings for Queen Hillary who will be loaded for bear.

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