It’s a wonder Trump’s manifold charms aren’t working on women. Who among them wouldn’t swipe right on this profile?
Big, beautiful, Straight Orange Male with history of adultery seeks white housewives for Big Macs and friendship with political benefits. Enjoys QAnon pedophile conspiracies and armed intimidation of civil rights demonstrators. Turnoffs: science, fitness, manners. Prefers that women sign NDAs and answer to “pig,” “dog,” “monster” and “nasty.”
Okay, so maybe it isn’t a surprise that Trump, to paraphrase Lin-Manuel Miranda, is unreliable with the ladies.
The term “gender gap,” a fixture of American politics for three decades, no longer captures what is happening here: The wholesale repudiation of Trump by women. In the latest Post/ABC News poll, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads Trump among female likely voters by 23 percentage points, 59 percent to 36 percent. Men are evenly split at 48 percent apiece.
The Post/ABC poll is one of many showing the same thing. The new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found Biden’s advantage among women to be 26 points — double Hillary Clinton’s final margin among women in 2016.
But the reality is even worse for Trump. His remaining support from women is heavily concentrated among White evangelical Christians. The Post’s polling director, Scott Clement, ran the numbers for me without White evangelicals and Biden’s advantage among women doubled, jumping to an astounding 45 points, 70 percent to 25 percent.
White evangelical women as a group are distinct: They tend to favor traditional gender roles, are less likely to be college educated and have less tolerant views on race. “Among White evangelical Protestants, there’s not much of a gender gap to speak of,” Gregory Smith, of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, tells me. Eighty percent of White evangelical men and 76 percent of White evangelical women support Trump in Pew’s polling.
The Navigator poll, fielded by Democrats and shared with me, finds that White evangelical women favor Trump over Biden by a whopping 53 percentage points, while all other women favor Biden over Trump by 32 points.
This indicates that among the few women who support Trump, gender is not the factor driving that support. (It’s worth noting that without White evangelicals, Biden has a huge lead over Trump among men, too: Sixteen points in The Post poll and 18 points in the Pew poll.)
This is why Trump’s ham-handed attempts of late to appeal to suburban women are misdirected. He seems to imagine the suburbs are still 1950s collections of White people in traditional households. “The Suburban Housewives of America must read this article,” he tweeted in July. “Biden will destroy your neighborhood.” Since then, Trump has been ridiculing those who question his “suburban housewives” talk as purveyors of political correctness. He says he’s “saving” suburban women from violent riots that would otherwise be exported from cities. With racist overtones, he has promised to protect the suburbs from zoning that admits low-income residents.
But the suburbs are as racially diverse as the rest of America: Thirty-five percent minority, according to the Brookings Institution. Their family structures are equally diverse, full of single parents, working moms, professional women. Talk of riots in their towns and fear of non-White invaders make no sense.
This, of course, comes on top of Trump’s long-standing women troubles. They find him vulgar, they recoil at his history of sexual boasting and his buying a porn actress’s silence, and they are repulsed by his contempt for professional women (“ditsy,” “bleeding,” “that dog,” “nasty woman,” “horseface,” “look at that face,” “crying lowlife” and recently calling Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris “this monster”).
Women, who provide most caregiving and make most health decisions for their families, were disproportionately hurt by declining health-care coverage even before the pandemic. During the pandemic, women, particularly women of color, have been hurt most by job loss.
And now he insults women by treating them as frightened, racist housewives.
If Trump loses in two weeks, he will have been taken down by women, exactly a century after they gained the right to vote. After a presidency marked by reckless exercise of the Second Amendment, alarming curtailment of the First Amendment and occasional talk of the 25th Amendment, it would be poetic justice for this man to be done in by the 19th Amendment.