U.S. News asks: “Why do so many white women vote for misogynists?”
As political observers scrutinize the victory of Doug Jones over Roy Moore in the special election to fill Jeff Sessions’ senate seat in Alabama, demographic trends point, once again, to the significant racial divide between women voters. While a nearly unanimous 98 percent of black women supported Jones, carrying the Democratic candidate to victory, 68 percent of white women cast their vote for his Republican opponent who faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls while he was in his 30s.
The real story, though, lies in the 2016 election, when a full 53 percent of white women cast their votes for Trump even in the aftermath of numerous overtly misogynistic and vulgar verbal assaults on women. Prevailing logic seems to suggest that Hillary Clinton was such a toxic, polarizing and unpalatable candidate to this voting bloc that she was simply unable to win them over, “Access Hollywood” tape notwithstanding.
But Clinton wasn’t on the ballot this Tuesday in Alabama. Even so, white women once again demonstrated a willingness to vote for a male candidate facing credible accusations of sexual assault over his Democratic opponent. In fact, Jones performed significantly worse than Hillary Clinton with white women, unable to duplicate the six point lead that Clinton held in 2016 with traditionally Republican leaning college-educated white women.
What, then, explains the unwavering support among white women for Republican candidates even when they show such disdain for women as a whole? It is first worth noting that Alabama is one of the most conservative states in the nation with a deeply pro-life electorate. It is certainly possible that white women were so concerned by the Democratic candidate’s pro-choice position that they voted for Moore based on the abortion issue alone. But is a reliable pro-life vote in the Senate the only thing they have to gain from aligning themselves with men like Trump and Moore who are not only openly misogynistic in their behavior but who promote and represent institutional norms that devalue women and their rights?
Read the editorial:
White Women’s Bad Bargain
The black Alabamans have spoken.
Resistance is more than a token.
Our sisters have given
a call for all women
to keep the momentum unbroken.
Mary Boren, 12/14/17