Think gender won’t play a role in the upcoming presidential election? Just wait and watch the media to see what they say about Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits or hair style. As journalist Joan Veneochi observes, Hillary will receive more scathing remarks than will Trump for his “paunch and orange comb-over.” (“Trump Vs. Clinton,” The Week, Mary 13, 2016, pg. 16.) Worse, she points out, women in the public eye are “routinely marginalized as too old or too young; too tough or too soft; too ugly or too sexy.” (Ibid pg 16.)
As a woman who was once in the public eye, I can testify the spotlight turned on women leaders is glaring in its gender bias. An inconvenient truth about our advanced nation is its backward thinking about the feminine gender. Women in leadership positions remain a novelty. Consider the following. Vermont, Delaware and Mississippi have never elected a woman to either the U. S. Senate or the House of Representatives. Iowa and Alaska have never had a woman in the House and 22 states have never had a female U. S. senator. (Ibid. pg. 16.)
But the times they are a changin’. Given the Republican Party’s repeated efforts to roll back health care, deny welfare assistance to the poor, and its failure to address the minimum wage, women are drifting to the Democratic party and in particular, black women. A recent poll by Power of the Sister Vote found that 78% of black women identified as democrats, while 18 percent identified as independents and only 1 % identified as Republicans. (“Climbing Uphill,” by Donna Brazile, MS, Spring 2016, pg. 47)
As Donald Trump has a 70% unfavorable rating among women, the upcoming presidential election is likely to be the year when women ROAR. At least I hope so. The pundits are already forecasting that “women will cast a majority of votes in November.” (“Trump vs. Clinton, The Week, May 13, 2016, pg. 16)
If Mr. Trump knows what’s good for him, he’ll watch out for the women’s trump card.