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THOMPSON: Crucial US mid-term elections approach

September 17, 2018 - 12:04 PM

 


OPINION


With the mid-term elections in the United States just seven weeks away, I wonder whether white women will redeem themselves. You see, it is this demographic group more than any other who made near-inexplicable voting decisions the past couple of years.

To be clear, not all white women helped put the current genital-grabbing bigot in the White House. But, make no mistake, 53 percent of white women voters nationwide did. This wasn't even a one-off phenomenon.

Last year, in a special election in Alabama to fill the vacated Senate seat of Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, nearly two-thirds of white women voters once again rose up and almost handed Republican Roy Moore - a multiply-accused child-molester - a victory. Moore lost by just 1.7 percentage points....fewer than 22,000 votes to Democrat Doug Jones.

These two glaring examples of an almost-perverse placement of faith in old white men should give more than half the white women in America pause. You see, women of colour - African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans - voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, and Doug Jones over Roy Moore. By the way, Trump endorsed Moore to the very end.

We all know what America has in Trump...the worst president since James Buchanan...Abraham Lincoln's predecessor...a pre-Tweet bigot and narcissist himself. Certainly, America and Alabama are better off having passed on Moore...even by the slightest of margins. Jones became the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in more than 25 years.

In case you wonder why I write so much about American national politics...it's because I know the issues. Canada is my home, as well, and I believe Canadians should know what's happening down South because it affects us here. Back to my topic.

So, what gives with white women voters? I mean, I understand why old white men vote for, well, old white men. Who wants to relinquish power wielded for nearly 250 years? But why did so many white women fail to see what women of colour and the majority of Americans saw so clearly?

Consider that 98 percent of African-American women voters in Alabama voted for Jones. And in 2016, 95 percent of African-American women nationwide chose Clinton over Trump...70 percent of Hispanic women did the same.

But white women saw something else in Trump. Why were they blind to such obvious flaws? Again, some men made Trump out to be a hero...a successful businessman (which he isn’t) to support their false conclusions. His lying was already legend. It should be a surprise to no one that less educated white men and women were Trump's biggest supporters...72 percent of non-college-educated white men and 62 percent of non-college-educated white women.

Trump’s sexist rhetoric is well-documented; he dismissed a female moderator by suggesting she must have “blood coming out of her wherever,” said women who have abortions should be punished, bragged on tape about his grabbing exploits and was dogged by allegations of sexual assault and extra-marital affairs.

Were white women that submissive to their husbands and boyfriends...some perverse throwback to the 1950s? Well, there might be some of that. But what I call "the 53 percent problem" is complicated.

The battle for women's rights have long excluded women and men of colour.

Suffragettes from 150 years ago not only excluded people of colour...they sided with - you guessed it - white men. Many - like leader Susan B. Anthony - openly fought the 15th Amendment.

The second wave of the feminist movement started in the early 1960s...focusing on contraception and workplace issues. Some battles - like equal pay - are still being waged today. But largely, the feminist movement for the past half century has failed to embrace issues that women of colour live with every day.

Yes, women of colour are interested in equal pay...but they live with inferior education for themselves and their families, worse healthcare than white people, systemic police brutality and widespread racism. White women or men who protest that they have never done anything against a person of colour and aren’t racists need to slip into a person of colour’s shoes and walk around awhile.

I hope some of the 53 percent of American white women who voted for Trump have their eyes and hearts wide open. I hope those who are mothers will remember an Administration tearing babies and young children from parents at the border. I hope those who have daughters will remember the 20 women who have claimed sexual harassment against the president.

I predicted six months ago that Democrats would win both the House and Senate in November…and now some of the expert analysts on cable news are saying it could very well happen. The vote on Nov. 6 is a necessary check on a run amok president…and I hope it happens.

And if white women fail us again…I’m going to be pissed. And, white men who still think being a Republican is more important than being an American…yeah, I’m going to be pissed with you, too.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines. His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.


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