If Hillary Wins, It Won’t Be Just Because She’s A Woman
Dick Morris is still trying to convince people that Hillary Clinton will be practically invincible in 2008:
“She definitely can win … and probably will. She is uniquely able to expand the electorate to bring in millions of women, mostly single, who will vote overwhelmingly for a female Democrat. The feminization of poverty, long decried by the left, will finally lead unmarried women to show up at the polling place and vote their short-term economic interest and vindicate their gender bias. In 2000, only 19 million single women voted. By 2004, their turnout rose to 27 million. With Hillary in the race, the single-female vote will probably go up to its proper ratio of the adult population — 33 million votes.
Can white men outvote single women? Despite the intensity with which white men tend to oppose Hillary, they can’t vote twice.
The enthusiasm that will grip many Americans — women in particular — at the cultural implications of a woman president will probably sweep through the primaries and cause many to overlook Hillary’s flaws and dismiss her defects. The generic of a woman candidate will prove so attractive that millions of voters will overcome their objections to the specific person who is running.”
Long story short: Slightly more women than men vote and women will vote for Hillary because she’s a woman. That’s the linchpin of the theory that Dick Morris has been peddling for a year now.
The problem with it is that the evidence suggests that it doesn’t work that way in the real world. For example, Geraldine Ferraro would have been the first female Vice President in history back in 1984 if Walter Mondale had defeated Ronald Reagan. So, did this tidal wave of female voters show up at the polls to vote Ferraro and Mondale into the White House? No, to the contrary, Reagan and Bush Sr. crushed them 525-13 in the electoral college count and Reagan and Bush received almost 59% of the popular vote.
Next, on the other side of the aisle, let’s look at Elizabeth Dole’s run at the Presidency in 2000. Dole didn’t even make it to the primaries before she dropped out of the race. Again, there was no huge groundswell of support for her based on her gender.
Now let’s take a look at Congress as well as Mayorships and Governorships. If Morris’ theory had merit, you’d expect to see women over represented in these government posts. However, the opposite is true. Here are some stats from The White House Project that appear to have been compiled BEFORE the latest election:
There have been 25 women governors in American history. Only eight (16%) of our current governors are women (9 if you include the female Governor of Puerto Rico). No women of color have ever been governor of a U.S. state.
Just 14 of the mayors of America’s largest 100 cities are women (14%). And only 188 of 1139 US cities with more than 30,000 residents have women mayors. (17%). Thirty-seven (15.2%) of the 243 cities with populations over 100,000 having women mayors, only eight are women of color.
Women currently hold 14 Senate seats (14%) and 66 seats in the House of Representatives (15.2%), not including three non-voting female delegates to the House from Guam, Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands, respectively. In total, 80 of the 535 members of Congress (both houses) are women (15% overall).
Although there are only 14 women Senators in 2005, some of these women represent the three most populous states in the Union (i.e. California, New York, and Texas). All 14 women Senators are white, with only one woman of color ever elected to the Senate, Carol Moseley Braun from Illinois. Women of color constitute 3.4% of the total 535 members of Congress.
If women are such can’t-miss candidates based purely on the fact that they’re women, why aren’t elected positions across the board dominated by women instead of men? You can try to make the argument that the Presidency is an exception for some reason, but again, I’d point to Ferraro and Dole as examples of why that argument doesn’t fly.
Given how close our last two elections have turned out to be, it seems likely that the election in 2008 will be close as well. So, whoever the Democratic candidate will be should have a chance to win the Presidency. But, this idea that Hillary is unstoppable because women will come out of the woodwork to vote for her is bunk.