Revenge Of The Ballot: Women Don’t Need Help Or Permission To Send Trump Packing

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.

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.

Becky Sarwate is the current President of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association, founded in 1885, as well as Recording Secretary for the National Federation of Press Women. She is a national award-winning journalist, blogger, newsletter editor and theater critic. Becky lives in Chicago with her partner Bob and their menagerie of pets. Keep up with her at
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  • GrumpyBearThoughts
    7 October 2016 at 12:12 am

    Typically I enjoy and agree with most of the points made in articles posted on contemptor, but I find quite a lot of the logic to be unsupported or simply incorrect. Personally, I plan on voting for Clinton so it doesn’t totally matter, but I expect more from my media sources. Stopping Trump does not require voting for Clinton, it only requires their decision to not vote for Trump. You may have written that just being a women shouldn’t vote for Clinton purely because they are women, but everything you stated before and after establishes you clearly don’t believe your own words.

    Your quoting Paul Krugman feels incredibly out of place right after dismissing voter alternatives based on opinions based on little more than sound bites. His call for people to think seriously about what they want to see happen in America is hardly followed when you state that Trump would be bad for women and then claim his offenses are too numerous to name more than one. Then citing his least offensive opinion on a topic that people are least emotionally invested in will only convince those who already agree with you.

    When you insist there can be no alternative but to vote for Hillary you will only convince those who were already unlikely to vote for Trump. When you make a plea to those who disagree with Clinton’s politics your best argument is to sway them to Any alternative. Trump won’t lose because people voted for Hillary, he’ll lose because people did not vote for Trump. While it is true every vote swayed to Clinton from Trump effectively swings the vote by 2, but someone planning to vote for Trump is unlikely to be swayed to Hillary. Ultimately, any vote that is take from Trump to anyway sways the vote by 1.

    Ultimately, the fact that only about 30% of women believe Trump understands the people or would have good judgement in a crisis is the reason Trump will lose. Women already don’t believe Trump is qualified, but many will still choose Trump if they believe the only alternative is Hillary. More than ever we need people to believe they have alternatives. Frankly, voting theory proves that our first past the post system is the worst democratic voting system. We need a preference voting system and preferably proportional representation more than ever, and it will only get more necessary the longer we refuse to reform how we vote.

    Last, aside from alienating women that would not choose to vote for Clinton, you also alienated virtually any man that might read this article. You may not worry about whether men choose to vote for Trump, but they also represent the vast majority of his supporters. Your not particularly veiled claim that men are less intelligent won’t bring women together against men, it will merely cement many men’s conviction to vote for Trump and convince others to switch to him. Frankly, it’s a little insulting that you are either unaware or intentionally blind to the fact that the women’s rights movement achieved equality in education in the 70’s, but continued to declare emergencies for women instead of declaring victory. Additionally, movements seeking equality for women have actively impeded every effort to address boy’s falling test scores and GPAs.

    I like contemptor, and I enjoy most of the articles posted here, but this article borders on liberal regression. I suggest you work on sticking to facts, and focus on doing more research. I’ve often listened to small groups of people discuss politics at the office, these groups rarely have someone that disagrees or dissents. I’ve always claimed that such groups were merely smelling their own brand. Never acknowledging that the opposition may be right only leads to opinions that cannot withstand scrutiny.

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