Why Are Women Voting For Donald Trump?
Despite his horrible track record with women, he's been doing well with the demographic at primary events
Donald Trump makes a lot of headlines for his statements about women—but they’re almost never good ones. There’s little need to rehash his fight with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, which he, uh, memorably blamed on the fact that she had “blood coming out of her wherever.” Or that his spat with Kelly started when she called him out for insulting other women. Or that after the spat, his fanbase tweeted sexist comments at her en masse. Even when he talks about his own daughter Ivanka, he sometimes gets in trouble. (Remember when he said he’d “perhaps…be dating” her if she wasn’t his spawn?) Oh, yeah, and then there was that the whole “schlonged” incident.
So, why the hell are so many women voting for him?
According to entry and exit poll data, Donald Trump has continued to woo female voters, pretty much across the board. He scored higher than any other candidate with female voters at the past three primary events in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, earning almost half of popular female vote in the last contest.
Senator Ted Cruz won the lion’s share of the female vote in Iowa, but since, the business mogul has maintained momentum. On CNN, Trump said he’d be “good to women,” and work to protect them—and many seem to believe him.
Despite his penchant for off-the-cuff misogyny, Trump does hold more progressive policies than some of the rest of the field on issues that affect women. He is pro-life, but recently acknowledged the great women’s health work Planned Parenthood does outside abortion—even getting a shout-out from the group’s president, Cecile Richards. And his past life as a pro-choice Democrat make his current pro-life stance seem less hardline.
Some previous female employees have gone on Facebook to tout his mentorship as a businessman. Others shared anecdotal evidence and a 1989 “Savvy Women” magazine cover in which he posed alongside female employees, his lawyer, and then wife Ivana.
And of course, many might not care. Women are a massive and diverse group of voters, who make up more than half the electorate. Most have more at stake than just gender politics, and in the same way that his Latino supporters ignored his immigration comments, for some, his chauvinism is easy to brush off. For most female Trump supporters interviewed by Cosmopolitan at a recent rally, gender equality simply wasn’t seen as a major concern, reflective of a YouGov/HuffPost study that showed less than 5 percent of Republicans identified as feminists in 2013.
Others said they identify with his brand of politically-incorrect openness, despite the fact their gender occasionally puts them on the receiving end of such sentiments. “What I…love about Trump is that he ‘tells it like it is’ and is politically incorrect,” wrote one Wisconsin woman in a pro-Trump blog post entitled “Brains. Beauty. Trump.”
In an interview with Mic, Scottie Hughes, a Trump supporter and author of ROAR: The New Conservative Woman Speaks Out, attributed this stance to women’s respect for honest candidates. “They look at Trump and they see honesty. Women love honesty,” she said.
Whatever the case, if Hillary Clinton ends up fighting against him as her party’s nominee, it’s certainly something we’ll hear more about.