Female Trouble for the Right:  The Widening Gender Gap

The “gender gap” has been a reality of American voting behavior for over 40 years. And more than ever, polls show men leaning rightward and women leaning even harder leftward. Female resentments lately have hinged on one word above all others: Trump.      

According to a Quinnipiac University Poll released this April, women preferred Joe Biden to Donald Trump by 52 percent to 41 percent, while men preferred Trump to Biden by 52 percent to 39 percent. Women aren’t all that enthusiastic about Biden. But they’ll dutifully vote for the old coot if it means putting Trump out of commission. As Leesburg, Virginia resident Nanette Mees put it last fall: “I don’t think that [Biden] is the perfect one. But if I have to pick between him and Trump, who I would never, ever, ever vote for, it would be Biden. I would just pray.”

If Trump is elected this November, she and other women might cry. Recall the outpouring of feminine grief at Hillary Clinton headquarters in New York during the wee hours of Election Night 2016, realizing their candidate was going to lose to Trump. The atmosphere inside that Jacob Javits Convention Center resembled a funeral service.     

What is it about Trump that enrages so many women? The answer may lie in an inherent contradiction within feminine behavior.     

Females, as evolutionary biologists and psychologists such as Edward Dutton, Jonathan Haidt, and Steven Pinker have noted with great insight, are attracted to males who project power, confidence, and responsibility. For the sake of themselves and future offspring, women want a natural leader for a mate. Yet they also possess an empathetic, egalitarian instinct that favors inclusion over exclusion in a group context. Nobody should feel left out. Those who would withhold prizes or otherwise jeopardize the participants’ emotional “safety” deserve a scolding. And women know how to scold.

Thus, women can be leaders as well as followers. But this is not necessarily to the nation’s benefit. Yes, the inclusion ideal succeeds in raising children, guiding a field trip, teaching a class or some other group activity where conflict, if any, is fairly manageable. But it fails, and often spectacularly, in governing a polity. Governance requires a grasp that a consensus is difficult to establish in a contentious environment and can implode for any reason. A promise of equal outcomes exacerbates rather than resolves conflict.    

Women often view this as grossly unfair. As such, they look to the state, the Great Equalizer, to mediate grievances and smooth disparities. After more than a half-century of placating “marginalized” groups in this way, our politics have experienced a grievous decline.    

It should be no mystery why Donald Trump inspires widespread loathing among women. Rich, white, brassy, entrepreneurial, patriotic, and masculine, he is the antithesis of the Equity Revolution and its controlled, conversational style that defines the workplace and the debate hall. He’s no Sheryl Sandberg-inspired “lean in” type. The revulsion among young females is especially palpable.

In the January 2024 issue of National Review, Christine Rosen called out these less than ladylike women:  

That “woke mob” is dominated by young women. As my colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute’s Survey Center on American Life have documented, as of 2021, 44 percent of young women identify as liberal, compared with only 25 percent of young men, a discrepancy that will likely be reflected in future voting patterns. Women also dominate college campuses, as well as social media platforms where left-leaning views are embraced and promoted (55 percent of all TikTok users are young women). No wonder that many of the despicable people tearing down posters of Israeli and American citizens abducted by Hamas on October 7 are young women, many of whom seem immune to shame for their noxious behavior. To judge by that behavior, self-identified progressive Gen Z women view the world through the simplistic lens of oppressor and oppressed and believe the pursuit of social justice excuses a great many unjust tactics—such as bullying, censorship, and performative protests that often descend into threats and outright violence.

The Democratic Party, and liberalism, benefit. A Pew Research Center poll found that while only 38 percent of female voters during 2018-19 identified themselves as “Republican/Lean Right,” 56 percent identified as “Democratic/Lean Left.” The corresponding male figures were 50 percent and 42 percent. Let that sink in. Women favored Democrats by 18 percentage points; men favored Republicans by eight percentage points. That’s a 26-point spread. A gender gap? It’s more like a canyon.

In a more recent study, the American Enterprise Institute’s Survey Center on American Life revealed that 72 percent of young women (ages 18-29) voted for a Democrat in House elections in 2022, as opposed to 54 percent of young men. In the immediate pre-Trump years, the survey noted, such candidates won only 60 percent of the young female vote. 

Gallup Poll data over the past quarter century underscore the leftward drift. Whereas during 1999-2013 about 30 percent of U.S. women aged 18-29 defined themselves as liberal, that figure jumped to 44 percent in 2020 before receding to 40 percent in 2023. For females in the 30-49 age bracket, the figure rose from 22 percent to 28 percent during 1999-2023. For those aged 50-64, it increased from 18 percent to 25 percent.

Significantly, women 65 and over registered a large increase. Whereas only 14 percent self-identified as liberal in 1999, 25 percent did so in 2023. Grandma definitely is with the times.       

The Gallup figures for men tell a different story. Only 25 percent of men aged 18-29 in 2023 identified as liberal. The respective figures for those aged 30-49, 50-64, and 65+ that year were 22 percent, 18 percent and 16 percent. Those numbers have held fairly steady over time.   

Further magnifying the male-female divide is that “liberal” has become radicalism with a liberal label. Only 15 years ago, for example, support for transgendering, slavery reparations, and open borders existed only on the fringes. Today these abominations have the backing of governments, corporations, philanthropies, and universities.          

The leftward shift in liberalism’s Overton Window overlaps with today’s appalling female public office holders. Indeed, apart from California’s narcissist-in-chief, Gavin Newsom, one strains to find a male politician as shallow, dogmatic, and self-righteous as the likes of Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Katie Hobbs, Kathy Hochul, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, Gretchen Whitmer, and their prototype, Hillary Clinton.

Reversing female animosity toward the right won’t be easy. Women in prestige positions are more determined than ever to advance the left’s “transformative” vision, especially as their ranks increasingly are nonwhite (take a look at our law schools!). The younger ones hop aboard the bandwagon, itching for mass confrontation. We’ve gotten it, too, in #MeToo campaigns, the Million Women March, the George Floyd riots and pro-Hamas campus takeovers. These activists view rule of law, freedom of expression, and the right to privacy as obstacles rather than principles. And they see voting more as overthrow than civic duty.  

Patriots of both sexes must speak out. Doing nothing is not an option. The radical juggernaut in the near future may become irreversible.    

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