We're hearing a lot about Donald Trump, what he thinks of women, and what women think of him. On Tuesday's show, Kerri Miller asked her guests and callers for an honest discussion about how gender is playing into this election. Scott Clement, polling manger for The Washington Post, said that while Trump has low popularity across gender lines, women are showing a more intense dislike for the Republican nominee.
That might be a problem for a Trump campaign that needs the support of female voters if it has any hope of success.
"White, better educated women, tend to be very high turn-out voters. If you alienate them, you pay a significance price at the polls," said Clement.
"He needs to get those white, suburban moms if he has any hope of putting together a large enough collation," said Michelle Cottle, a contributing editor at The Atlantic.
"I think is such a remarkable election because, of course you knew it would be about gender with a woman running against a man, but what has been fascinating in fact is that we're not only talking about women, we're actually talking a lot about men, and how men behave, how men think, and how men think, and how men feel," said Susan Chira, senior correspondent and editor on gender issues at the New York Times.
In her research, Chira has found that white, middle class men are feeling struck down in terms of economic mobility and "the cultural loss of authority."
"These are men who used to have enough money so their wives couldn't work. No more. These are men who used to feel they were the undisputed rulers of the household. That assumption has been shattered. I think there clearly is some resonance for people who feel they've lost in a game in which women have won," said Chira.
According to Cottle, men also feel the loss of a secure place in society, which is why Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again," attracts so many blue-collar white men.
"[Trump] is promising a return of a culture that they are more comfortable and more familiar with. Where there are not so many Spanish speaking immigrants making them feel like they are a stranger in their own country. Where there aren't Muslims making them feel uncomfortable about religion. He is promising, basically, a return to some 1950s ideal that didn't even really exist in the 1950s that goes beyond their livelihood," said Cottle.
This is reflected in the polls as well. Clement cited a recent Washington Post survey about men's influence in society.
"Trump did especially well among those who said men have about the right amount influence," said Clement. "Hillary Clinton did especially well among those who said that men had too much influence."
Both Clement and Cottle predicted that the gender divide will only become worse if Clinton wins the White House.
"The general consensus is, it's going to get ugly," said Cottle, "because -- much like what happened with Obama -- the gender issues will come to the fore, not because of anything she tackles but because it will be a very convenient way for opponents to de-legitimize her."
To listen to the entire conversation, select the audio link above.
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.