women fists raised in air

How the White Female Vote Could Determine the Election

White women were at the front lines of the suffrage movement-- Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton changed the country, and they were instrumental in gaining women’s right to vote, although they didn’t live to see it. These progressive women gave white women the right to vote; however, many white women today don’t support or vote for progressive candidates despite their feminist stances. White women are the largest and arguably the most divided voting bloc-- and this election could be up to them. 

In 2016, 53 percent of white women voted for Trump. While this is disappointing to some, it’s also not all that surprising. White women typically vote Republican, and the bloc has only voted more Democrat than Republican in two elections. According to writer Eric Foster, “This is a voting bloc that, for more than half a century, has shored up its identity in ethnicity, not gender.” Many white women have been conditioned to put their race above their gender; in other words,  the benefits that Republican presidents, including Trump, give to white people make any comments or decisions about women not all that important (whether these women realize that’s what’s fueling their vote or not). 

Original Illustration Created in Canva for Her Campus Media

 

Many white women, and Trump voters in general, find the President’s statements rude, but often credit the statements to his honesty. We’ve all heard someone say, “He’s honest: that’s what I like about him. He tells it like it is.” Trump’s “honesty” allows people to say what they know is “politically incorrect,” but what they believe. This is especially true for white women, as they are often taught to be agreeable in every aspect of their lives, but have been taught conservative beliefs as well. Although they may feel uncomfortable stating their beliefs out loud, Trump allows them to agree with him. 

Trump allows white women to gain advantage from their whiteness: they can ignore the issues of BIPOC, the LGBTQ+ community, and other marginalized groups. To many white female Trump voters, his “honesty” and the ability to gain from their whiteness is more important than solidarity with other women or any other marginalized groups. 

November is coming protest signs Photo by Rosemary Ketchum from Pexels

 

We know how most womxn of color, LGBTQ+ folks, and immigrants will vote. It’s white women who could determine how the election plays out. This year, maybe white women will tuck away their whiteness to help others. 2020 has seen some unprecedented events: a pandemic that affected marginalized communities most, a massive movement against police brutality, a climate crisis, and natural disasters. In short, this year has been one massive wake-up call.

Trump is allowing white women to forget the plights that marginalized groups struggle with by invalidating and discrediting them. So to white women I say this: pick up the phone, and answer the call. Consider the injustice Black people, indigenous people, womxn of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ people face every single day.  I invite you to do your own research on what these groups go through, and how President Trump has ignored them. It’s up to you to help-- use your power, and bring it to the ballot.

Unsplash

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Photos: Her Campus Media