Donald Trump’s election has clearly pushed independent and Democratic women into action, resulting in record numbers of women running for office, and huge numbers of women doing political organizing and becoming activists for the first time.
Some people believe that what current GOP leaders are doing is permanently damaging the party’s reputation among women and reducing the number of women in the Republican Party forever.
The slow migration of female voters from the GOP to the Democratic Party has been occurring for decades, but it has sped up under Trump.
According to a recent article in POLITICO, “this moment in American politics might prove a breaking point for women in the GOP.”
Almost all political pollsters agree that this does not bode well for the Republican Party in this year’s elections or in the long run. After the votes are all counted after November 6th’s elections it is expected that we will find there was a record gender gap between how men and women vote.
Many women started voting for Democrats decades ago in response to the civil rights and women’s movements. Only more recently did large numbers of GOP women start leaving the Republican Party.
According to a study done by the Pew Foundation, in 1994, 42 percent of women and 52 percent of men identified as Republican. By 2017, only 37 percent of women and 48 percent of men still did.
In 1994, 48 percent of women and 39 percent of men identified as Democrats but by 2017, those numbers were 56 percent of women and 44 percent of men.
After Trump has further alienated women, this means that nearly 60 percent of women now favor Democrats, while just over one-third of women favor Republicans.
And this trend is not seen reversing itself any time soon, especially after the Brett Kavanaugh nomination debacle.
Because so few women identify as Republicans, headlines that read “84% of GOP Women Support Trump” don’t mean much since GOP women are such a small part of the total electorate.
Gender shifts in party allegiance matter because women vote in higher numbers and at higher rates than men. Nearly 10 million more women than men voted in the 2016 election. About 63% of eligible women actually vote, while just 59% of eligible men actually vote.
In an election like this year’s, women are highly mobilized and motivated which will magnify the effect of the trending gender gap favoring Democrats.
Amy Walters from The Cook Political Report recently wrote:
“The most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal survey found that white college-educated women support a Democrat for Congress by 22 points—58 percent to 36 percent. In 2014, they preferred a Democratic Congress by just 2 points.”
“If these trends continue,” political scientist Melissa Deckman of Washington College told POLITICO, “women’s preference for Democrats will be a big contributor to the midterm results.”
If these trends continue, women’s preference for Democrats may affect not only this year’s midterm results but election results for decades to come. Thanks to Donald Trump and his enablers in the GOP, it appears that tens of millions of American women voters have left the Republican Party forever.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.