Female voters, particularly Republican or undecided ones (if that’s indeed still a thing): allow me to have a few words with you.
Our gender comprises 50.8 percent of U.S. residents, a slight majority when the national populace is sorted by sex. When you take a look at voting demographics however, our position of power is clear. 43 percent of female citizens over the age of 18 reported voting in the 2014 midterm elections. By contrast, only 40.8 of our brothers went to the ballot box. We are every bit as driven, smart and strategic as men, and we never give up. This is evidenced by the fact that the XX chromosome set has earned a stunning 10 million more college degrees since 1982 than our husbands, fathers, brothers and sons – under sociopolitical conditions that usually work to our disadvantage.
What am I getting at? In short, we can – and must – put a stop to the whole Trump phenomenon with all its racism, bigotry, misogyny and outright stupidity on November 8.
Women sitting in the middle of the political spectrum, farther to the right or even the young far left may be tempted to tune me out, but I ask that you keep reading. No matter my personal belief that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified and judicious candidate for President in modern history, this piece is not trying to convince you to develop love for someone you don’t. Clinton has had decades in the public eye to either endear or alienate herself to voters for a wide variety of reasons. We’re all entitled to our opinions and comfort levels. I also wouldn’t think of asking anyone to cast a ballot in her favor simply because of gender.
But disregarding our respective public and private politics, there’s a bigger, far more malevolent force at play here that threatens to roll back just about every goddamned advance for which we’ve worked together. I speak of course of Donald Trump and his insane, dangerous, hateful campaign. This is a year that must transcend buckets (or baskets of deplorables). We’ve reached a decisive moment when every female must ask herself: “If I vote for anyone other than Hillary Clinton, will I be able to live with the consequences – and myself – on November 9?
Let’s dispense with the argument right now that pulling the lever for Gary Johnson or Dr. Jill Stein is a rational, respectable choice. Gary Johnson is an unforgiveable ignoramus who can’t name a world leader and is completely disinterested in global affairs (the old Aleppo moment). Jill Stein is a Harvard-trained medical doctor who also happens to be an enemy of science. It’s enough to grapple with our own cognitive dissonances. Nobody has time for hers. And a vote for Johnson or Stein doesn’t change simple reality: either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is going to be the next President of the United States. Period. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman recently wrote, “Your vote matters, and you should act accordingly — which means thinking seriously about what you want to see happen to America.”
Just as women shouldn’t vote for Clinton merely on the basis of her being female, one should not just throw in with Trump because he is the head of the Republican ticket (notice I didn’t say because he’s a Republican…) or for the schadenfreude of watching a corrupt system burn. We’re in this together ladies. We need to start believing it – and acting accordingly.
Donald Trump is trying to convince the American people that he would do more than Hillary Clinton to help women through solid policy. That is laughable, because if one listens to his words and follows his actions, when Trump considers women at all, it is at a basic sexual level – to be coveted or body shamed. I don’t have space enough in this column to run down the monumental list of his transgressions against the female sex – personally, professionally and politically. But as a serious contender for highest office, Trump should have disqualified himself with our gender back in 2004 when he told NBC’s Dateline that pregnancy is “certainly an inconvenience for a business.”
It’s gratifying to see the Donald’s poll numbers slipping with one of his supporter cohorts – suburban, white, moderate women. His boorish, misogynist, ill-informed and disorganized debate performance on Monday September 26 seems to have driven away some lingering, tempting efforts to look for the good and stable in his character and demeanor. But polls are famous for fluctuating and with nearly five weeks left, current trends are just not reassuring enough.
This man cannot be President. For decades, Donald J. Trump has been under the misguided impression that he controls women, that we are tools and playthings to be discarded or used by whim or perceived advantage. But the numbers I shared do not bear out this power imbalance. It would be positively delicious, as well as in the country’s best short and long-term interest, for female voters to hand Trump the one rejection that bribes, dodgy tax evasions and strong-arming can’t make disappear.