Donald Trump Has A Woman Problem

Women voters are turning decidedly against Donald Trump, this could pose problems for Republican in 2018 and beyond.

The recent outrage over the twin cases of former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter and, to a lesser extent, speechwriter David Sorenson, both of whom stand credibly accused of having verbally, emotionally, and physically abused by former wives, brings to the forefront an issue that could pose problems for President Trump and  the Republican Party going forward, namely the fact that President Trump has become increasingly unpopular with a demographic that has the potential to have a huge impact on future elections:

The White House’s stumbling response to domestic abuse allegations against ex-staff secretary Rob Porter risks widening the gender gap already hurting Republicans in this fall’s midterm elections.

Republicans are worried about the developments, while Democrats are salivating over the most recent Trump controversy involving women.

“It’s harder to hold their majority without winning moderate suburban suburbs,” said former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who led the House Democrats’ campaign arm in 2014. “They can’t win those districts by losing women. And they lose women by constantly reaffirming a narrative that they’re on the wrong side of abuse and sexual harassment.”

Trump actually won a majority of the votes from white women in the 2016 election, taking 52 percent of their support according to exit polls.

But just 38 percent of white women approved of Trump’s job performance in a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday and conducted before the allegations against Porter became public.

(…)

[The Porter scandal] also put the spotlight back on the past conduct of Trump, who was accused of sexual harassment during the 2016 campaign. Trump has rejected the charges and said all the women making allegations against him are lying. He vowed during the presidential campaign to sue women making false claims against him but has not done so.

Democrats have used the Porter saga to refocus attention on the women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct and assault. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called for hearings in Congress to discuss their accusations.

The White House on Monday insisted that Trump supports victims of domestic violence.

“Above all, the president supports victims of domestic violence and believes everyone should be treated fairly and with due process,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.

Sanders was peppered with questions about why Trump has not said that publicly, even amid reports that he was privately “disgusted” by Porter’s alleged conduct.

(…)

Democrats have also been forced to grapple with sexual misconduct allegations in their own ranks, which could muddy the waters for voters in November.

But they believe the environment will take a bigger toll on Republicans, in large part because Trump is the head of their party and because of the effect the “Me Too” movement has had on the country.

They also note that Trump’s election spurred Women’s Marches across the country, whose participants are now focusing on registering voters for the upcoming midterm elections.

Trump’s own former strategist, Stephen Bannon, told Bloomberg reporter Joshua Green in an interview for the paperback edition of Green’s book “Devil’s Bargain” that the “Me Too” revolution posed a huge threat to Trump.

“Women are gonna take charge of society. And they couldn’t juxtapose a better villain than Trump. He is the patriarch,” Bannon said in the book.

Jennifer Lawless, who leads American University’s Women & Politics Institute, predicted this would also hurt GOP congressional candidates this year.

She said women who have been inspired might see the midterm elections as their first chance to hold the Trump administration accountable.

“Every single time Donald Trump does something like how he responded to Rob Porter, it provides more ammunition to these groups,” she said.

As noted, the poll in question was conducted before the Rob Porter story was made public, so it doesn’t really factor that, or Trump’s reaction to it in public in which he essentially defended Porter, wished him well, and decried an alleged lack of ‘due process’ in cases such as his notwithstanding the fact that Porter’s second wife had in fact gone to court to obtain a Protective Order against him. That being said, even without the Porter scandal, there is plenty of evidence to explain why Donald Trump is losing ground with such a significant part of the electorate. As I’ve noted before, Trump has a long history of defending men who are accused of sexual impropriety, or at least men who are friends and supporters of his. For example, just in the time since he entered the Presidential race Trump has come to the defense of Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Corey Lewandowski, and Roy Moore, all of whom have stood credibly accused of some kind of impropriety toward women, often of a sexual nature. Additionally, of course, Trump has a long history of his own including, of course, the Access Hollywood tape on which Trump can be heard bragging about what amounts to sexual assault, an event that was followed by reports of up to nineteen women who have accused the President of acting inappropriately toward them. At the time, Trump denied the charges and threatened to sue all of those accusers. Not surprisingly, he has not done so and most likely never will. In addition to these instances and others, since he has become President Trump has put forward, or allowed to go forward policies that many women oppose, including rolling back the contraceptive coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act, adopting at least the rhetoric of the anti-abortion movement while enacting policies that clearly seem aimed at making abortions harder to get for women both in the U.S. and worldwide, and appointing Judges that seem highly inclined to be skeptical of abortion rights. Most recently, the budget that the Trump Administration submitted to Congress yesterday would cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, a major healthcare provider for women and especially women in poor communities. Taken together, this history and these policies have all had a noticeable impact on Trump’s standing with women, particularly with white college-educated women, and that could have a significant impact on elections in 2018 and 2020. Given all of this, it will be particularly interesting to see the impact, if any that the Porter scandal has on Trump’s standing among women in future polling, and of course at the ballot box.

The importance of the female vote in coming elections cannot be understated. The fact that Trump was able to do as well among women as he did. According to exit polls, Hillary Clinton won among women overall, but when it came to certain demographic groups, it was Trump that actually prevailed. This includes white women (where Trump got 52% of the vote), women without a college degree (among whom Trump got 61%). Additionally, while he lost among white college-educated women, he still managed to garner 44% of that demographic, a share that no doubt helped him in states such as Ohio and Florida, which a Republican candidate had not won in a Presidential election since 2004. Since then, though, we’ve seen a decided shift in how women overall view Trump. It began literally the day after he took office in 2017 with “women’s marches” around the country that drew tens and possibly even hundreds of thousands of participants in cities around the country. The second round of women’s marches last month were similarly well-attended. By many accounts, the movement sparked by these marches, as well as by the #MeToo movement and the focus on issues of sexual harassment and abuse is showing evidence of increased political activism among women, including many more women declaring their candidacy for Congressional and state legislative races in the upcoming midterm elections.

These developments, and poll results like the one noted above, have led to speculation that women and the women’s vote could have a real impact on the outcome of many races around the country and possibly even the outcome of the battle for control of Congress itself. Whether that happens or not depends to no insignificant degree on whether the momentum that things such as the women’s marches have created ends up having a real impact on races in districts and states where it can have an impact on which party controls the House or Senate. It’s worth noting, though, that we’ve already seen one example of the impact this vote can have on an election, Last November in Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam easily beat Republican candidate Ed Gillespie, and the votes of women were one of the reasons he did it. According to exit polls, Northam won 61% of the women’s vote overall to Gillespie’s 39%. Additionally, while Gillespie won narrowly among white women, garnering 51% of that demographic group, Northam won among white college-educated women and among both married and unmarried women, demographic groups that are particularly important in voter-rich areas such as Northern Virginia that have a significant impact on the outcome of statewide races in the Old Dominion. This came near the end of Trump’s first year in office and seems to be a strong indication of where female voters are heading. If that stays consistent in the coming year and beyond, it could end up being a big headache for Trump specifically and for the Republican Trump generally.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2018, Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Gender Issues, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    We need to disambiguate – if I may use a Wikipedia word – white and black women voters. Black women vote D. White women vote R.

    I have absolute trust in black women to do the right thing, and I have no confidence at all in white women. White women supported Roy Moore, a child molester. And white women knew perfectly well that Trump was a pig and they voted for that pig, so I’m sorry, but I don’t buy the polls suggesting a significant number have changed sides. They may be embarrassed by their choice, but that doesn’t mean they won’t line up and vote for Trump or any other abusive prick that comes along. Race trumps gender, tribe uber alles, and white women will vote for a white pig over a black saint. If that changes, hallelujah, but so far there isn’t really a ‘women’s vote’ so much as a black women’s vote.




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  2. MBunge says:

    Wait, I thought the emerging Democratic majority was based on racial demographic trends? Now it’s going to be based on sex? What’s next, left-handedness?

    If Republicans lose control of Congress under Trump, which they probably deserve, it’s going to be for most of the same reasons that Democrats lost control of Congress under Obama. Any Weinstein-ignoring “women hate Trump” narrative pushing will have little to do with it.

    And I shouldn’t have to bring it up but how many of the people now upset about accused but not convicted domestic abusers were wildly cheering an accused but not convicted rapist when he spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention?

    Mike




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  3. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @michael reynolds:
    I love you, man…but I’m not comfortable with that generalization.
    I know a bunch of white women, and none of them would vote for this ass-hat.




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  4. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:
    You rabidly support child molesters…and admitted serial sexual assaulters…so you probably should just STFU.




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  5. @michael reynolds:

    I get what you’re saying, and the breakdown in how white and African-American women in general have traditionally is accurate. That’s why it’s significant that the polling seems to be showing a shift among white women, and white college-educated women in particular. In many states, this is an exceedingly important part of the electorate.




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  6. Franklin says:

    Doug, your post offers a comprehensive list covering most of the recent times that Trump has decided a man’s denial was more plausible than a woman’s accusation. It’s a long list and it goes beyond showing a pattern. This is who Trump is, and he should just go ahead and change his motto to “Make America Rape Again”.




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  7. @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    I get your point but exit polling shows that Trump won among white women, 52% to 43%




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  8. MBunge says:

    @michael reynolds:

    So, you’ve decided to become sort of the Rosetta Stone of understanding how we got Trump? The one guy who connects all the cultural, political, and intellectual pathologies that explain it?

    Good luck with that.

    Mike




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  9. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: You might want to break the “white women” population down further. I’m a white woman and certainly didn’t vote for Cadet Bone Spurs.

    I suspect that within the “white women” population, the following did NOT vote for Trump: a) self-identified feminists b) women in STEM disciplines c) women with higher degrees. d) self-identified Democrats.

    Now, as to what percentage of ALL white women that adds up to, I have no idea. We also have no idea as to how many women voted for Trump not so much as a pro-Trump vote as an anti-Hillary vote. She really got up the noses of a lot of people, both male AND female.




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  10. Blue Galangal says:

    I hope like hell he has a woman problem – African American, white, Latina, Asian. And I hope that translates into continued (in the case of African American women) and renewed (in the case of white women) turnout at the polls. Five in ten white women voted for Trump; but four in five did not. Let’s hope these polls are indicators of these numbers flipping and continuing to do so.




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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “Above all, the president supports victims of domestic violence

    He certainly does, probably to the tune of several million dollars to settle lawsuits.




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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Franklin: Forget where exactly I read it but a woman recently pointed out that accusations of sexual assault by a particular man become more believable when the # of women reporting it hits 3 or 4. Which is like saying the word of one man outweighs a woman’s word by a factor of 3 or 4.




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  13. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Exactly…that’s 52% of white women, a little more than half…not white women.
    Grumpy is correct…it’s got to be broken down more somehow.
    Stupid white women, perhaps?




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  14. Kathy says:

    What matters now is how do Democrats capitalize on this. Mid term elections are more about local matters, which makes national campaigns more difficult. But there’s a chance to take advantage of Trump’s impopularity, especially among women. a national campaign to highlight and reinforce this can only help.




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  15. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Unfortunately, the polling analyses I’ve seen suggest that Trump brought out a surge of white males. Polarization cuts both ways.

    Look, I hope this is happening now. I hope white women are waking up. But I’ve been here too many times before. It’s like waiting for the ‘youth vote’ or any other voter segment served up by the punditocracy as being influential. There’s endless pre-game talk of this or that demo, and then the exit polls come in and surprise, the pundits were wrong. White women voted against a feminist white woman and for a racist, misogynist pig. That’s the truth of it.

    I no longer have any faith in the American electorate, but if there is a single voter demo for which I have special contempt, it is for white women who knowingly voted for a predator. You want to tell me they’ve had their eyes open, well, I hope so. But I’ll believe it when the votes are counted.




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  16. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @MBunge:

    Wait, I thought the emerging Democratic majority was based on racial demographic trends? Now it’s going to be based on sex?

    If only we lived in a world where a discipline called multivariate analysis existed.




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  17. Matt Bernius says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    I know a bunch of white women, and none of them would vote for this ass-hat.

    While I am sure this is the case, it most likely has to do with your location (and possibly your circle of friends).

    The reality is that exit polls in 2016 and the 2017 races prove @michael reynolds is 100% right. The majority of white women broke for GOP candidates (including Roy Moore). In some cases it might have been a *close* majority, but it’s a majority none the less (especially when compared to women of color).

    BTW, it’s also pretty consistent with 2012 when Romney carried the White Women vote by a similiar amount:
    http://elections.nbcnews.com/ns/politics/2012/all/president/#.WoMVtyBG1aQ

    To be clear, College Educated White Women did break for Clinton, but only at 51% to 44%.
    https://www.cnn.com/election/2016/results/exit-polls

    So yes, education does shift things, but not as much as we’d like to imagine.

    Admittedly, the number for white men (of which I am one) are far worse (from a democrat/progressive’s perspective).




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  18. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: Well, that’s what we’re seeing now, with two women (Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the woman I will always think of as Mrs. Microwave) finding all sorts of reasons to support Cadet Bone Spurs. For power, money, or because they want attention.

    I put them in the same category as mothers who deliberately ignore the fact that their husbands are molesting their children. Because it’s so much easier to pretend that everything is all right and nothing is happening. Especially if Daddy is a rich man.




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  19. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    and possibly your circle of friends

    No question…I will not date Trump supporters.

    The reality is that exit polls in 2016 and the 2017 races prove @michael reynolds is 100% right. The majority of white women broke for GOP candidates

    But Reynolds said White Women vote R. 52% of White Women, in that election, did.
    Again…I’m just not comfortable with the generalization.




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  20. SenyorDave says:

    According to polls, 63% of white women in Alabama voted for Roy Moore. Think about that. 63% of white women voted for a child molester. And who was his opponent? Some far left, crazy liberal with all sorts of baggage? His opponent was a highly respected former federal prosecutor! Almost two thirds of white women voted for a degenerate because he had an R next to his name.

    I share Michael Reynolds lack of confidence in white women truly moving away from Trump. A woman voting for Trump would make as much sense as someone who is Jewish voting for anti-semite.




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  21. al-Ameda says:

    @SenyorDave:

    According to polls, 63% of white women in Alabama voted for Roy Moore. Think about that. 63% of white women voted for a child molester. And who was his opponent? Some far left, crazy liberal with all sorts of baggage? His opponent was a highly respected former federal prosecutor! Almost two thirds of white women voted for a degenerate because he had an R next to his name.

    I hear you on that.
    Until further notice I have to assume that party loyalty trumps (yeah … I know … ) most other considerations.

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I get your point but exit polling shows that Trump won among white women, 52% to 43%

    Exactly, Democrats have to know this.




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  22. Stormy Dragon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If that changes, hallelujah, but so far there isn’t really a ‘women’s vote’ so much as a black women’s vote.

    So it doesn’t count as a woman’s vote unless she votes the way Michael Reynolds wants her to?




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  23. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I think what he’s saying is that white women are split, while the votes of black women are a bit more monolithic.




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  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Really, dude? Context?




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  25. gVOR08 says:

    There are a lot of women who want a traditional role, stay at home with the kids while the breadwinner husband works, and believe abortion and gay sex are sinful (and that the government should enforce their view of sin). They aren’t much concerned with “women’s issues” as defined by lefties and feminists, and they feel culturally threatened. On top of that, GOPs have made politics very much a black (and now brown) vs white thing. So they managed to get a bare majority of white women. If Republicans also want to make it male vs female, lower educated vs higher, and rural vs urban, as they apparently wish to do, I say go for it. They seem hellbent on alienating everyone except upper class white males.




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  26. Matt Bernius says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    No question…I will not date Trump supporters.

    Oh so when you wrote

    I know a bunch of white women, and none of them would vote for this ass-hat.

    you meant “know” in the biblical sense.

    FWIW, (and this may be a by product of currently living in Western NY) but I’m pretty sure quite a few of my female acquaintances, friends, and extended family most likely voted “Trump.” I think there are a number of reasons for that (ranging from party loyalty, to being constitutionally incapable of voting for Hillary, to logging a protest vote, knowing that it wouldn’t count due to NY’s Electoral College realities, to actually believing in Trump).

    But Reynolds said White Women vote R.

    That’s because for the last four presidential elections they broke Republican:

    2016 – 52% (R) to 43%
    2012 – 56% (R) to 42%
    2008 – 53% (R) to 46%
    2004 – 55% (R) to 44%

    In 2000 (49% (R) to 48%) and 1992 (41% (D) to 41%) it was almost a 50/50 split. White Women broke for Bill Clinton in 1996 48% to 43%. Prior to that they were always breaking Republican (source: https://www.nytimes.com/elections/2008/results/president/national-exit-polls.html).

    Still of the last 12 presidential elections, the majority of White Women voted for the Democrat only twice.

    Historically, the majority of White Women vote republican. This isn’t a generalization. It’s fact. If you picked a White Woman out of the population of the US at random, there is a better than 50% chance than she has consistently voted Republican.

    Which really gets to Michael’s point… while there is a narrative that “Women will defeat Trump or Republicans,” the reality remains that its been the turnout of minority women (and men) that is the real determining factor.

    Yes, in aggregate, more white women vote Democrat than white men. But those white women are still in the minority of that demographic. If all minority voters went away today, Trump would most likely easily remain in the White House in 2020.

    BTW, this isn’t an argument for “monolithic” voting. It is however a correct reading of the data.




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  27. Blue Galangal says:

    Historically, the majority of White Women vote republican. This isn’t a generalization. It’s fact. If you picked a White Woman out of the population of the US at random, there is a better than 50% chance than she has consistently voted Republican.

    However – consistent with the reporting you have provided above, complete with table – there is also a better than 40% chance that she has consistently voted Democratic. I do not want to impute motive to Daryl’s Other Brother, but if I were writing your post up for a report, this is how I would report it. “The likelihood that a white woman would vote for a Republican candidate, across the country, across all income and education levels, regions, and age groups, is roughly 50%, and the likelihood she would vote for a Democratic candidate is roughly 40%. To examine this representation more closely, age, region, income level, and education level should be taken into account.”

    There is no question the white-woman vote is split fairly evenly across the country. When you get into the crosstabs, younger, more educated, and/or non-Southern white women are driving that split. Hence the 6 of 10 white women voting for Roy Moore in the South. (Even in that election, however, the crosstabs were enlightening.)

    Speaking generally, American white women of a certain SES are not feminists or do not self-identify as feminists, and that is a privilege in and of itself to which (again speaking generally) they are largely blind. This is not to say that they deserve to be sexually exploited, harassed, or even demeaned because of their gender. But it is to say that American white women often view themselves through a somewhat monolithic, race-privileged lens (tinged with some rose-coloured class). This lens is complicated by a variety of social, cultural, and economic factors, but in the end, if American white women (of which I am one) want to be take seriously as feminists, they need to show up, show solidarity, and understand that they, too, are operating from a position of privilege.




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  28. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Race trumps gender, tribe uber alles, and white women will vote for a white pig over a black saint.

    I agree, and I’ve been saying this much for a while. One mistake I think we election nerds often make is to think of all demographics as equally tribalistic. Many communities in the US are divided along racial, religious, and economic lines. That’s why you have, say, middle-class black neighborhoods or upper-class white ones. So it’s not surprising that you’d find relatively uniform voting patterns within such communities. People tend to behave in ways so as to fit in with their surrounding communities. It’s human nature. But there are no woman neighborhoods. In any community anywhere there is going to be a roughly equal mix of men and women. There are gender issues that are going to influence male and female voters at the margins, but it’s unlikely to have the same effect as if you’re African American or Latino or white, Muslim or Jewish or Protestant, rich or poor or middle-class. And there’s no female equivalent to an “Uncle Tom,” or if there is, it’s a lot more widespread. I’d bet if you did a poll you’d find large numbers of women holding views on gender issues we’d consider to be reactionary and backwards.




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  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Blue Galangal:
    I wish I could say that I see unity even among white feminists, but as usual with the Left we’re getting factions and internal divisions along age lines, along class lines, between transwomen and some feminists. No one is better at schism than the Left.

    ‘They go low, we go high?’ Yeah, but it’s more often ‘they unite, we dissolve into factions.’




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  30. Matt Bernius says:

    @Blue Galangal:
    110% to EVERYTHING you wrote. Thank you for your super thoughtful and careful response.

    Without a doubt, no crosstab is monolithic and various factors come into play.

    But it is to say that American white women often view themselves through a somewhat monolithic, race-privileged lens (tinged with some rose-coloured class). This lens is complicated by a variety of social, cultural, and economic factors, but in the end, if American white women (of which I am one) want to be take seriously as feminists, they need to show up, show solidarity, and understand that they, too, are operating from a position of privilege.

    This is really well said. And part of that is, as part of solidarity, understanding the role that women of all colors and types play within the movement. Which is something that feminism (and generally all progressive movements) struggle with.

    Also, one thing I didn’t emphasize strongly enough is that the Democrats cannot afford to lose any of their existing voters (which includes White Women, but extends beyond that specific demographic group).

    To that point, the importance of looking at the race based statistics is to remember that (a) all feminist women are not white and (b) that all white women are not feminists. And simply taking those steps is already doing a lot to start to get beyond some of those privilege issues.




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  31. michael reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:
    There is generally on the Left a belief that demographics will save us, and I think it’s done us a lot of damage electorally. I’ve debunked the notion of the majority-minority country thing before. Short version: nope. Not any time soon.

    White/Asian/Latino activists don’t get it: black voters vote D because they have literally no other alternative. You have to be mentally unhinged to be black and vote R. There is no parallel in other minority communities, with the possible exception of LGBT voters. The black experience is uniquely awful, and they, uniquely, have nowhere else to go. Extrapolating from the African-American experience to other minorities – or in the case of women, majorities – is to wander down the garden path.




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  32. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    There is generally on the Left a belief that demographics will save us, and I think it’s done us a lot of damage electorally. I’ve debunked the notion of the majority-minority country thing before. Short version: nope. Not any time soon.

    First of all, it’s worth noting that John Judis, who cowrote the influential 2002 book The Emerging Democratic Majority, publicly repudiated its thesis in early 2015, nearly two years ahead of Trump’s victory.

    Second, any theory proposing some kind of permanent or indefinite one-party control of government is bullsh!t. That should be Rule #1 in these discussions.

    If Hillary had won the presidential election, it’s very likely Republicans would continue to control the House and most state legislatures for the foreseeable future. And by 2020 they’d probably have gotten unified control of government, with maybe a filibuster-proof Senate. Am I saying Trump’s election was worth it? Not in the slightest. SCOTUS appointments and the threat of a nuclear meltdown argue powerfully against that notion.

    Even now, it’s far from a done deal that Republicans are going to lose either house of Congress in November. And quite frankly, it’s far from certain that Trump (or some other Republican) won’t win a second term in the White House. Too many Trump critics continue to commit the Vizzini Fallacy, confusing “inconceivable” with “impossible.” That factor alone was I believe partly responsible for Trump’s election in the first place.




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