A Michigan GOP congressional nominee supported by former President Donald Trump once said the country would be better if women could not govern or vote, and argued that patriarchy “is the best model for the continued success of a society.”
John Gibbs made the sexist arguments online in the early 2000s while he was a student at Stanford University, according to CNN’s KFile, which unearthed pages from his site via internet archive services.
Gibbs, who worked in the Trump administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development, won Michigan’s GOP primary against incumbent Rep. Peter Meijer, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the Capitol riot. He faces Democrat Hillary Scholten in the November election.
Gibbs founded what he called a “think tank” named the Society for the Critique of Feminism, which was hosted on his personal page at Stanford in 2000 and 2001. On that forum, he argued that the country would be better off if women could not vote or govern, asserted that women are not as capable as men at thinking logically “without relying upon emotional reasoning,” and contended it’s not a father’s “primary task” to raise children, “whereas it is the mother’s.”
“Some argue that in a democratic society, it is hypocritical or unjust for women, who are 50% of the population, not to have the vote,” Gibbs argued. “This is obviously not true, since the founding fathers, who understood liberty and democracy better than anyone, did not believe so. In addition, all people under age 18 cannot vote, although they too comprise a significant portion of the population. So we cannot say that women should be able to vote simply because they are a large part of the population.”
At the end of that argument, he wrote: “Thus, we conclude that increasing the size and scope of government is unequivocally bad. And since women’s suffrage has caused this to occur on a larger scale than any other cause in history, we conclude that the United States has suffered as a result of women’s suffrage.”
John Gibbs, the GOP nominee in Michigan's 3rd Congressional District, worked in the Trump administration's Department of Housing and Urban Development. Scott Olson via Getty Images
In another section, he wrote that “The Bible clearly articulates the idea that women should not teach or maintain positions of power.”
“Although the reason is not expressly mentioned, it must be due to the nature of women (i.e. their differing mental characteristics), since every other command for living in the Bible is based on the condition of man,” he wrote. “In other words, because women do not posess the characteristics necessary to govern, and since women have a more important task to do, which is to prepare the next generation, they are commanded not to rule.”
Another argument was titled: “Why is it that women should be the ones to take care of the children?” It’s clear, he wrote, that “the female species, were the ones selected by nature to rear children.”
“Be aware, however, that we are not advocating that men have no part whatsoever in raising their children,” he wrote. “On the contrary we believe that fathers should be an integral part of the upbringing of their children. We simply believe that this is not the father’s primary task, whereas it is the mother’s.”
Gibbs didn't believe all the things he wrote and was actually just trying to "provoke the left on campus," a spokesperson said. The Washington Post via Getty Images
Anne Marie Schieber, a spokesperson for Gibbs’ campaign, told CNN that Gibbs didn’t actually believe women shouldn’t be allowed to vote or work, and advanced the online arguments “to provoke the left on campus and draw attention to the hypocrisy of some modern-day feminists.”
CNN’s KFile reported last year on Gibbs’ history of promoting baseless conspiracy theories, including one that suggested Democrats participated in a satanic ritual.
On Gibbs’ campaign website, he voices support for an array of textbook right-wing issues, including protecting Second Amendment rights, repealing abortion rights and reforming elections based on Trump’s lies about the 2020 vote.
Gibbs also echoes elements of the racist “great replacement” theory in his section on immigration, arguing that “immigration is now being weaponized as a political tool by the left in order to replenish their voter base.”