Thousands of women across the country marked the anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration at rallies, marches and protests to remind the administration that many women still believe that his vision of a great America does not include them.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who is often discussed as a potential 2020 presidential candidate, told the crowd, “It is women who are holding our democracy together in these dangerous times.”
And Emily Patton, a spokeswoman for the march, told The Washington Post:
“This year, we really want to show support for women who are running for office and to encourage more women, women of color and those in the LGBT community, to run for office, to register to vote, to be more civically engaged.”
But while Trump is still struggling to win women — a demographic won by his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in 2016 — recent approval polls show that men seem to be increasingly on the Trump train.
Most men — 52 percent — voted for Trump in the presidential election, according to exit polls. Some found his “strong man” image attractive and supported him pushing back against what his supporters call “political correctness” in a cultural climate that is becoming increasingly vocal about the impact of patriarchy.
As critics of Trump continue to vocalize their belief that his policies disadvantage women, some men’s support of him grows.
A recent CNN poll revealed that Trump’s approval rating among men had improved eight points. Nearly half — 49 percent — of American men approve of the job Trump is doing.
And in a cumulative analysis of more than 600,000 SurveyMonkey interviews about Trump’s job performance, some of Trump’s better numbers are with men.
Nearly half — 49 percent — of white millennial men without a college degree approve of the president’s performance. And Trump’s support has risen among blue-collar white men over 35.
And even among some subgroups where Trump is doing poorly, like black Americans, Trump receives higher approval marks from men. According to the Atlantic:
“Among African Americans and Hispanics, reactions to Trump depend more on gender than age or education. In every age group, and at every level of education, about twice as many African American men as women gave Trump positive marks. In all, 23 percent of black men approved of Trump’s performance versus 11 percent of black women . . . Black men are one of the few groups for which Trump’s 2017 average approval rating significantly exceeds his 2016 vote share.
Among Hispanics, men were also much more likely than women to express positive views about Trump. Among Hispanic men older than 50, Trump’s approval — strikingly — exceeded 40 percent.”
Conservative commentator Charlie Sykes told the Fix that quite a few men feel as if Trump is speaking for their concerns in a world where few are.
“A lot of blue collar men think they are living in an increasingly feminized world and Donald Trump represents to them unabashed, unapologetic masculinity — an in-your-face refusal to give in to political correctness or the politics of ‘sensitivity.’ They think he fights for them, as opposing to judging or preaching at them. And he makes the right enemies — football players who won’t kneel, black female congresswomen, Hollywood elites, and the media.
They may not fully embrace his vulgarity, his insults or his brutishness, but they like the attitude. And, increasingly politics is not about issues or policies as much as it is about striking the right attitude.”
Author Michael Arceneaux is a frequent Trump critic who often writes about gender. He told the Fix that these numbers aren’t that surprising.
“I regret that men collectively choose to be so embarrassing, but given how ingrained misogyny is in our society, I guess I cannot be totally surprised that a sexist, chauvinistic loudmouth manages to maintain high approval rating amongst men. Despite all signs to the contrary, Trump projects strength because men are trained to believe the sort of bravado and machismo Trump often projects is a sign of strength and leadership. It is, as he would put it, sad!”
But while Trump may be experiencing some encouraging numbers with men, his team may have to ask themselves if it is worth losing women. Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel recently presented the White House staff with a memo showing how poorly the party is doing with women voters.
It’s understandable that politicians want to appeal to their bases. In the world of politics, there’s a belief that it’s best to dance with the one who brought you as the old saying goes. And it is men who helped get Trump to the White House.
But in a country that is increasingly looking to its political leaders to be a part of the fight for the respect of women, relying on a voting bloc that jumped on the Trump train in part because of its traditional views of gender could see that train forced to leave Washington. Women are energized in ways that they weren’t in 2016 and that does not appear to be changing anytime soon.