You see it not only from the White House and its state-TV allies on Fox News but also from more genteel Republican columnists. The wave of the hand, the sniff, the eye-roll. Oh, women marching again. Their message is so muddled. You guys — and they are overwhelmingly guys — have no idea.
Hundreds of thousands of women around the globe took to the streets on Saturday, and while they voiced a number of concerns (sexual assault, immigration reform), the vast majority saw voting — specifically, voting out Republicans — as the most concrete step toward removing the political madness they think gripped the country in 2016 in electing an openly misogynistic candidate. The anger and exasperation have not lessened over time; it has increased. The reason is obvious: Their initial judgment that President Trump is a lout, a bully and a vulgarian is borne out day after day. One day it’s endorsing Roy Moore, the next it is essentially calling Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) a prostitute, and the day after it is threatening to break up families (e.g. rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) or keeping extended families apart (e.g. the Muslim travel ban, curtailing immigration for family reunification). The daily litany of insults and outrages is making the apolitical political and making suburban women vote Democratic en masse.
This president in particular and this group of far-right congressional Republicans manage to appall women even when it is not an issue purely about women. (While sociologically they never tire of defending gender differences, in politics they think men and women behave the same in the ballot box.) The hard right’s major immigration policy objectives (building the wall, deporting “dreamers,” etc.) are especially unpopular with women. The president’s racist outbursts and anti-immigrant policies register much more negatively with women than men in poll after poll. Women quite simply are going to identify more strongly with the people Trump is picking on, in part because he picks on them so frequently.
This is not simply anecdotal (although hundreds of thousands marching in the street is a heck of an anecdote). The Post-ABC News poll shows:
The Post-ABC poll finds Democrats holding a 57 percent to 31 percent advantage among female voters, double the size of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s margin in the 2016 election. Nonwhite women favor Democrats by a 53-point margin, somewhat smaller than Clinton’s 63-point advantage over Trump in 2016. But white women have moved sharply in Democrats’ direction, favoring them over Republicans by 12 points after supporting Trump by nine points in 2016 and Republican candidates by 14 points in the 2014 midterm election, according to network exit polls. . . . Six in 10 female registered voters “strongly disapprove” of Trump’s job performance compared with just over 4 in 10 men.
This may prove disastrous for the GOP in November’s midterms. (“Democrats hold a 15-point advantage over Republicans on the generic ballot among voters who say they are “absolutely certain” that they will vote, slightly larger than their 12-point edge among registered voters. And although a November poll showed a much tighter race among voters who reported turning out in the 2014 midterm election, Democrats now hold a nine-point edge with this group, suggesting that they may have less of a handicap with voters in low-turnout contests.”)
Trump’s play to white, working-class grievances has come at a cost to the party’s standing with many groups (e.g. college-educated voters, suburban voters), but none more so than women. Anyone who thinks that’s not a major problem for the GOP probably thought the marchers were there to “celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months.” Yeah, right.
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