One of the big stories in the 2020 election is how so many white women who voted for Trump in 2016 have defected to Joe Biden. This has resulted in Trump pleading with them to vote for him. (He uses the euphemism of ‘suburban women’ because explicitly asking for white women’s votes would be a racist rhetorical bridge too far even for him.) His pleading to them borders on the pathetic.
In Pennsylvania on 13 October, Trump asked: “Suburban women, will you please like me?” On 17 October in Michigan, he implored: “I saved your suburbs – women – suburban women, you’re supposed to love Trump.” And the next day in Nevada, Trump begged: “Suburban women, please vote for me. I’m saving your house. I’m saving your community. I’m keeping your crime way down.”
Not being white or a woman, I am not sure whether it is a good idea to beg like this to vote for you. In general, people tend to be uncomfortable around needy people. Trump obviously has terrible attitudes towards women. He is boastful, preening, arrogant, and condescending, the very caricature of a male chauvinist pig, the kind of person ridiculed in hit films like 9 to 5, the kind of person who makes workplace environments toxic for women.
In 2016 Trump won the vote of white men by a whopping margin of 62-32% but what really surprised me was that while Hillary Clinton won 54-39% of the women’s vote overall, white women voted for Trump by a margin of 47-45%.
That still puzzles me. It can’t be that they were all anti-abortion zealots who valued that over everything else. It had to be that they disliked Clinton enough to go for Trump. But why? Other things being equal, you would expect white women to feel that it was time to break that ultimate barrier in US politics and rally round in a big way and install a woman as president, the way that black voters rallied round Barack Obama. But clearly other things were not considered equal. I still have not been able to understand the depth of antipathy of white women towards Clinton despite this article that talks to some of them who voted for Trump but now have buyer’s remorse.
These half-hearted pleas are about three years too late for voters like Becky, who lives in a suburb of Des Moines and asked for her last name not to be used because she was worried about being targeted for her opinions.
It didn’t take the 63-year-old long to regret her vote for Donald Trump, who she wanted out of office within weeks of him becoming president.
“I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, what did I do? What did we all do? What would’ve been so bad about Hillary?’” Becky said. “He’s so good with his lies. He made you believe she was hiding her emails, doing all these things she shouldn’t be doing.”
At this point, Becky can’t stand the president and laughed before calling him the antichrist.
“That’s how badly I feel about him,” she said. “If we don’t get him out, we’re in a load of trouble here.”
One problem for Trump is that the pandemic has had a hugely disproportionate negative impact on women because they have been the ones who have had to cope with children being at home. In September four times as many women dropped out of the workforce than men. Trump’s utter failure to have a coherent plan for dealing with the pandemic and his cavalier dismissals of the seriousness of the issue has to be infuriating,
One bright spot for Trump is that while Biden still leads among Hispanic and black communities, Trump is maintaining and perhaps even increasing his support among them, compared to 2016, especially with men.
One last point on where Trump has made gains among Black and Hispanic voters: He has done particularly well with Black and Hispanic men, which might speak to how his campaign has actively courted them. For instance, the Republican National Convention featured a number of Black men as speakers this year. And Politico talked with more than 20 Democratic strategists, lawmakers, pollsters and activists who explained that many Black and Latino men are open to supporting Trump as they think the Democratic Party has taken them for granted. The same can’t be said of Black and Hispanic women, though, and the gender gap among nonwhite voters is shaping up to be even bigger than it was in 2016. Ninety percent of Black women supported Biden in UCLA Nationscape polling — unsurprising, as this group is arguably the most staunchly Democratic demographic in the electorate — whereas less than 80 percent of Black men did the same. And among Hispanic voters, 64 percent of women backed Biden compared to 57 percent of men.
It looks like women voters are the key to voting Trump out. If they vote in large numbers across all demographic groups, he is in trouble.