Rudy Giuliani, the most visible defender of Donald Trump these days, conceded that the Republican nominee had been caught on tape boasting of committing sexual assault, but insisted that all men make such claims. Sen. Jeff Sessions denied that the act of grabbing a woman’s genitals without consent even constitutes assault. Mike Pence insisted that, while he had not examined each allegation, he knew that they were all lies. Ben Carson said that he didn’t even care whether the allegations were true, and suggested that the problem rested with those who have failed to expose themselves to sexually predatory conversation. Newt Gingrich dismissed the significance of the stories, dismissing one as “gossip” about “somebody who had a bad airplane flight."

Granted, these out-of-touch, aging men, some with sketchy histories of their own with women, were not quite as insensitive as the man they were trying to defend—none publicly said that the women were too unattractive to sexually assault, as Trump did.

Still, you would think that the Trump campaign would want to bench some of the guys in this situation. Surely, voters concerned about the Access Hollywood tape and subsequent allegations would respond better to women, attesting to Trump’s character and behavior with some appreciation for the issue.

I’m sure the campaign would have loved to do that. But, there was nobody to send.

That’s partly because women didn’t want to defend Trump on this one. But in large part it’s where the GOP has stuck itself by failing to elect and promote women.

Roughly 90 percent of Republican governors, U.S. senators, and U.S. representatives are men. Their top staff and consultants are similarly gender-tilted. In Ryan Lizza’s new New Yorker profile of Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, she describes the “very male-dominated business” of Republican politics: “I’m a female consultant in the Republican Party, which means when I walk into a meeting at the R.N.C. or somewhere I always feel like I’m walking into a bachelor party in the locker room of the Elks club.”

So it’s not just that potential party surrogates are almost all men; it’s that they are all men who have spent their political lives cloistered with other men. (It is not entirely coincidental, in my opinion, that the end of inter-party socialization in Washington coincided with the surge of women in the Democratic Party caucuses.)

In the case of this year’s presidential campaign, the problem manifested itself long before the current explosion of misogyny charges against Trump. From the start, party leaders have believed that they would be facing the first female major-party presidential nominee, and would want to present some women of their own. Yet their 94 percent-male field of presidential candidates included no woman current or former officeholder; their national convention speaker list was overwhelmingly male-dominated, other than the occasional apolitical Trump family member; and the party’s Senate and House primaries have produced even fewer rising female stars than usual.

It’s also true that the few available Republican women have opted against vouching for their party’s nominee.

Sen. Susan Collins, from Maine, refused to back Trump from early on. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte finally withdrew her minimal support this month. So did three of the four other female Republican senators.

In fact, FiveThirtyEight calculates that 42 percent of Republican women in Congress or serving as governor now decline to support Trump, compared with just 17 percent of men.

A similar trend holds for those outside of elected office. Condoleezza Rice, Christine Todd Whitman, Meg Whitman, Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, and even Rudy Giuliani’s daughter, Caroline, oppose Trump.

It’s telling, however, that the revolt of nearly half of the party’s best-known women has barely made a dent in the overall perception that the GOP establishment is sticking behind the nominee.

Frankly, I would suggest that if women comprised, say, a third of influential positions in the Republican party, rather than a tenth, Trump might have never won the nomination in the first place. People wonder now why Trump’s rather flagrant lifelong attitude toward women got so little attention during the primaries; well, perhaps it’s because nearly everybody in a position to speak up was unable to appreciate how women would view it.

Sadly, the fallout of all this might very well be to exacerbate the problem.

If, as seems increasingly possible, Trump’s reported misogyny contributes to a lopsided Hillary Clinton victory, some of the few Republican women left might be swept out along the way.

Ayotte, one of only six Republican women in the Senate, is in danger of losing her re-election campaign because of Trump. So are several of the 19 Republican women incumbents in the House seeking to return. That group includes Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Rep. Mia Love of Utah, Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Rep. Elise Stafanik of New York, and Rep. Jacki Walorski of Illinois.

Trump himself might soon be political history—after losing, very likely, by a historic margin among women. But, as the Republican Party subsequently tries to rebuild its image with women, they’re going to have to do it almost exclusively with men making the argument.

As we’ve seen in the past week or so, that might only be a recipe for making the problem worse.