Included amidst the speculation about whom Hillary Clinton will choose as her running mate is an oft-repeated question: can she choose another woman? The question has at its root skepticism that the country will accept a double dose of gender disruption on a single presidential ticket.
At a campaign rally in Spokane, Washington in May, Donald Trump reinforced his now popular accusation that Hillary Clinton would not receive a single vote if she were not “playing the woman card,” and that Clinton uses her identity as a woman to deflect Trump’s attacks as merely a man shouting at a woman. Trump then explained that “all of the men, we’re petrified to speak to women anymore. We may raise our voice. You know what? The women get it better than we do, folks. They get it better than we do.”
We have heard a lot about angry white men and their support for Donald Trump this election cycle. A prevailing narrative is that Trump is pulling support largely among disaffected white men who culturally and economically feel left out of the American mainstream and who reject mainstream Republican orthodoxy on a variety of issues from free trade to immigration reform. Yet, Trump – despite his often hostile, misogynistic language – did relatively well with women voters in the Republican primaries before becoming his party’s presumptive nominee.
On January 25, 1972, Shirley Chisholm announced her bid for president at Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn. She told a crowd of supporters, “I stand before you today, to repudiate the ridiculous notion that the American people will not vote for qualified candidates, simply because he is not white or because she is not a male. I do not believe that in 1972, the great majority of Americans will continue to harbor such narrow and petty prejudice.” Thirty-six years later, the United States elected its first black president. This week, we moved one step closer to electing a woman to the nation’s top office.