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November 14 2016

Why Gender Politics Failed Clinton

Charlotte Hays

Women disappointed Hillary Clinton, who hoped that women would put her the White House.

IWF Senior Fellow Naomi Schaefer Riley has a good analysis on why identity politics based on gender didn't do the trick for Mrs. Clinton.

"Sisterhood is dead," is Naomi's lead sentence, and she says that the left should realize that female solidarity, as least as they fondly envision it, doesn't exist. She explains:

When women were genuinely oppressed — before they could vote, before they could own property, before they could have the same access to education or the same opportunities in the workplace — it might have been possible to appeal to them as a bloc, even as a movement.

But in an era where women get a greater percentage of the college degrees and women without children earn more than their male counterparts, most women don’t see themselves as victims, let alone ones who need to join hands in solidarity.

In Slate, Michelle Goldberg writes that Hillary’s “victory would have been a sign that the gender hierarchy that has always been fundamental to our society . . . was starting to crumble. It would have meant that men no longer rule.” She laments, “I thought my daughter was not going to be consigned to a lesser life than my son. I no longer do.”

Oh, please. If anyone besides a few liberal elites believed that, Hillary would have won.

Naomi takes a look at how the women's vote actually turned out " in a race between a feminist icon and a man who could generously be called a chauvinist." The gender gap was a 12 points--a point higher than in 2012, when enough women voted for President Obama to give him a second term.

Donald Trump received the majority of white women's votes, while Hillary bested him in the votes of women from other races.  Naomi quotes Karlyn Bowman, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, saying that class, level of education and geography are better indicators than gender.

Marital status is another good indicator with single women more likely to vote Democrat and married women more likely to vote Republican. In this election, Hillary appears to have won married women by a single point or perhaps two. There still remained an enormous gap between the way married and unmarried women vote.

Naomi writes that single women, "having no second adult to help support the family," are more likely to favor government programs. The Democrats, Naomi writes, will always get a larger percentage of single women, but the deciding factor will be their marital status rather than their gender.

The bottom line:

Women might roll their eyes with strangers about the long lines for the ladies room or the bad behavior of the guy at the bar. They might exchange knowing glances about what it’s like to be pregnant in July, but these aren’t real bonds and they don’t determine how you will vote.

Democrats have for years harped about women’s issues, but women’s issues are really not much different from anyone else’s issues. Women care about taxes and the economy and the cost of health care. They worry about national security and religious freedom and public education.

We've been saying this for years at IWF.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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