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The role of women in the 2020 U.S. election

Despite the fact that this year we have no female major party presidential nominees, this election the focus on women, both in the campaigns and the bid for voters, has been unprecedently high.

On the Republican side, nearly half of Trump’s senior staff this election cycle are women, a massive shift from his 2016 campaign where it was greatly male-centric. This is likely a tactic to try and shed President Trump’s reputation as an uber misogynist and to greater appeal to the all-important white women voter bloc. His campaign uses these female staffers to try and combat his sexist image by pushing the idea that they are treated not only equally but wonderfully by their commander in chief. Trump’s top female advisors include his own daughter Ivanka who has the title ‘special advisor to the president’, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and senior counsellor Kellyanne Conway.

When it comes to the Democrats, arguably the most important woman to talk about is vice presidential nominee and former attorney general, Kamala Harris. Widely reported as being more liberal than her running mate, Harris made a name for herself whilst attorney general for her focus on prosecuting child sex offence cases and taking banks to court.

If elected, Harris would not only be the first female vice president but also the first Black and first South Asian American vice president, so most certainly her win would be historic.

However, it is by far the voters who are the most important women in this year’s election. In US elections the female vote is always of interest, women are more likely to vote than men are and they value different things.

White women especially are a group of interest as in the last election they voted marginally in favour of Trump, surprising as it meant that they were voting against the first woman who truly stood a chance of becoming president. This year it seems that the tides may have turned, with current polls indicating that large numbers of white women may have abandoned the Republican ship and are voting blue. Some polls are suggesting that Biden may have the biggest majority of female votes of any presidential candidate in history.

Donald Trump is clearly aware of the fact that he has somewhat alienated his female voters, pleading at one campaign rally recently ‘Will you please like me?!’ But his actions over the last four years are what have lost him a potentially crucial voter bloc and begging them just weeks before the election seems unlikely to work. American women tend to have stronger opinions on issues such as climate change, racism and the coronavirus when compared to their male counterparts and it’s Trump’s handling of these issues that have seemingly alienated these women against him.       

The true picture will of course not become clear until November 4th when the results will be out, but no matter what happens, it is clear that the women of America are making their political voices known.

This article was written before November 3rd 2020. 

Anna Webb

Bristol '22

Anna Webb is an Anthropology student at the University of Bristol. Originally from Dorset, she is passionate about writing about a range of topics including politics and feminism.
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