Abby Wallace, Features Editor
Election toss-up: Will women decide the outcome?
It is well-known that President Trump has consistently provided reasons to alienate women voters. His locker room talk, and misogynistic jibes have culminated most recently at a rally in Michigan where he bolstered his ‘America’s greatest economy’ discourse with promises to send women’s ‘husbands back to work.’
It is hard to believe that Trump polled well among women in 2016 with 53% of women supporting him, especially given his rival was the first woman to run for Presidency. If we find this hard to believe, perhaps it is more understandable given that it was not reflective of the majority of the female population, with most of these supporters being white.
How women are likely to vote this year and how this will shift the course of the election will be significant. Given that Clinton held 94% of the vote among black women in 2016, according to The Guardian, it is unlikely that these votes will now deflect to Trump given the pre-eminence of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement to this election.’ What’s more, while support for Trump within Hispanic communities is predicted to increase in this election, early polls released by CNN already suggest that this is confined to Latino men. The New York times also predicts a drop in support for Trump among suburban women overall.
While it is difficult to assume that deflection from Trump translates into support for Biden, there is a drastic gap in both candidates’ policies towards women which in this case, will perhaps tip Biden over the edge among women voters. While he promises support for women in small businesses and rolling out of healthcare, perhaps the biggest edge in his campaign is his running mate. Senator Kamala Harris represents a huge steppingstone in a characteristically masculine race, being the first woman of colour to hold a major party ticket.
Both candidates have conflicting views on women’s reproductive rights. Trump wants to overturn the safeguarding of abortion brought about after 1973 Roe v Wade case and as exemplified in the appointment of Supreme Court Judge, Amy Coney Barrett, is determined to create the conditions in the Supreme Court for this, while Biden wants to uphold Roe vs Wade, aiming to pass a federal law to safeguard women’s rights to an abortion.
How women will vote in this election remains to be seen. The fact that women are choosing between two older, white men indicates an inherent lack of substantial representation for all women across the US.
However, this might just be saved in this case by Senator Harris. What remains clear is that perhaps this time round, our expectation that Trump would not encourage a lot of support of women might not be displaced, and women might just have the power to call this outcome.
Editorial on The Eve of Election Night 2020
Polls are rotating thick and fast in an election campaign which has been similarly characterised. Abby’s commentary on Election Night highlights how women like other groups such as Hispanic Americans and African-American male voters, will prove decisive in this election. Cultivation of the middle-class female suburban vote has been a central theme to this election. During the 2016 Campaign overall 54% of women cast their ballot for Democrat Presidential nominee, Hilary Clinton, yet the majority of non-college educated white women, 64% in all voted for Trump, while 35% backed Clinton. How this will change in favour of Biden will remain to be seen. Kimberley Fletcher from the Mothers for America group, told the BBC that white mothers were enthusiastic for a second Trump win. She acknowledged that some of her colleagues were undecided in their votes because they wishes “Trump would take nicer.” However, President Trump’s strong-arm stance on law and order has proved extremely popular with mothers, who naturally see safety of the family unit paramount.
The rural-City divide has been much talked about with the former being likely to hold to their red roots and maintain their 2016 stance in favour of Donald Trump.