Women Leave Clinton

In the past few days, Hillary Clinton has fallen behind Donald Trump in a number of major national polls. But the worse news for her is that her losses are almost entirely among women voters. Women are emerging as the moving pieces in this year’s presidential election.

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In April, Fox News showed Clinton beating Trump by 48-41, a margin supplied by women who backed the secretary of state by a 22-point margin. But in the network’s May survey, Trump led Clinton by 45-42 largely because her margin among women dropped to only 12 points.

If women are the swing voters in this election, Clinton is in deep trouble. She needs an overwhelming victory among female voters to power her way to an electoral majority. She cannot afford 10- to 15-point swings among her base voters.

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The last time Clinton fell so dramatically among women was during the period over Christmas 2015 when she dropped from a 26-point lead over Trump to only 12 points ahead in January 2016.

Both these periods were ones in which allegations against former president Bill Clinton were featured prominently in the mainstream news. This past few weeks have been highlighted by Trump’s reminding voters that Bill Clinton has been accused of rape by Juanita Broderick.

These allegations are stinging deeply among women voters because many of them were not around to witness them as they first surfaced during Bill Clinton’s presidency. They are new to these younger women voters.

Part of the reason for the searing impact of this issue on Clinton’s electability stems, of course, from the centrality of women’s concerns to her campaign. Her speeches against sexual abuse, mistreatment of women and sexual harassment ring less true when the predator is her husband.

Why does Clinton react so viscerally to these charges? You would think the sting would have worn off by now. But they strike at the very basis of her legitimacy. If theirs’ has not been a real marriage, her entire resume is suspect.

Every stage of Clinton’s advancement has been based on her marriage. Her very presence in our national spotlight began at first lady — a post conferred by marriage. If the marriage is a sham, so is the prestige that flows from her exhausted resume. Indeed, these accusations lead many women to question whether Clinton has spent her lifetime enabling her husband so as to achieve more political power.

After all, Clinton got a job at the Rose Law Firm when Bill became Arkansas attorney general. She made partner when he became governor. After she stood up for her husband against Gennifer Flowers, she got control of health care policy. And when she did so again, this time against Monica Lewinsky, she got a smooth path to the Democratic nomination for Senate without a primary in a solidly blue state.

Attacks on her marriage are attacks on her very legitimacy and they particularly impact women who have to decide if they believe that Clinton is a feminist role model or that she’s a woman who looks the other way to achieve political power.

These attacks also make it difficult for Clinton to paint Donald Trump as misogynistic when her husband has allegedly done far worse. The allegations against the former president severely impede his wife’s chances at winning.

Hillary Clinton may be losing the war for women.

Also see,

Trump Changes Dem Party

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