|The gender gap map, alas not the real one|
When surveying the wreckage of the 2016 election one stunning voting statistic seems to stand out over all the others. While Hillary Clinton won 54% of women voters overall, 53% of white female voters voted for Donald Trump; while that is 3% lower than the percentage of white women who voted for Mitt Romney back in 2012, it's still a clear majority. It was expected by both Clinton and the media that a surge of female voters, disgusted by Trump's boasting of sexually assaulting women, would handily give her the victory. Instead a majority of white women voted for a lying, boastful bigot. Why?
While understanding the motives of millions of people isn't easy, I have some ideas. First, there are some women who have just always voted Republican and always will, even if their candidate isn't normal. Then, quite frankly, there is the fact that women can be bigots too, and that Trump's brand of xenophobia and race baiting caught on with some of them, overcoming whatever reservations they had about his attitudes towards women.
But I think there may be another reason: America is the most openly capitalist first world country, one in which the gulf between the rich and the poor is enormous. Aggressive cut throat competition is the name of the game here. And Trump embodies that idea. He is obsessed with promoting himself and always being a winner; he isn't just wealthy, he flaunts it, flying in planes and living in buildings with his name on it. He is the classic image of the well dressed, successful business man of the 1950's, an era that many of his white female supporters remember fondly.
And with an alpha male like that, the sexism and womanizing are seen as a natural outgrowth of his success. While they may not admire his choice of words, his actions are no surprise to these women. Women are often drawn to powerful men, so why shouldn't such a man enjoy that, they rationalize. And his ascension from corporate tycoon to celebrity only fuels his image of success. Yes, even before he entered the political race he wielded a powerful mix of confidence, success, affluence, self promotion and celebrity that he brought into the race and used to win over not only angry white men, but their wives as well. Sadly, they seemed to think that some of that wealth and success could shake off him and sprinkle over the rest of us.