Donald Trump is cheered on by supporters holding “Women for Trump” signs during a campaign stop in Lakeland, Florida on Oct. 12.
According to CNN, 53 percent of white female voters voted for Donald Trump. Fifty-three percent. More than half of white women voted for the man who bragged about committing sexual assault on tape, who said he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, who has promised to undo legislation that has afforded health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans, whose parental leave plan is a joke, who has spent his campaign dehumanizing nonwhite people, who has spent 30-plus years in the public eye reducing women to their sexual attributes. More than half of white women looked at the first viable female candidate for the presidency, a wildly competent and overqualified career public servant, and said, “Trump that bitch.”
What leads a woman to vote for a man who has made it very clear that he believes she is subhuman? Self-loathing. Hypocrisy. And, of course, a racist view of the world that privileges white supremacy over every other issue.
For a taste of the self-loathing that propels white female Trump voters, read The Cut’s interview with a woman who was planning on voting for Trump last week. “I heard that he said something about groping women, and I’m thinking, Okay, No. 1, I think that’d be great. I like getting groped!” There are still women who think like this—who buy the misogynist lie that sexual assault is a compliment, that any woman who gets groped must have wanted it, that men’s desire for sex is more important that women’s desire for safety and bodily integrity.
According to the Guttmacher Institute’s most recent estimate, one in three American women will have an abortion during their reproductive years. How much do you want to bet that at least some of those women—women who have needed or will need abortions—voted for Trump? Read a few excerpts from a 2000 study called “The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion,” about pro-life women who exercise their right to choose but believe that their reasons for abortion are unique, and that other women don’t deserve the same choice. Any woman who has had or might need an abortion, but who still voted for Trump, is guilty of the worst kind of selfishness.
Of course, the biggest and saddest reason white women chose Trump over Clinton is simple: racism. Trump tried to pit straight white men against everyone else—women, people of color, people in the LGBTQ community, immigrants—and white women decided they didn’t want to vote on the side of “everyone else.” They wanted to vote on the side of white men. White women decided that defending their position of power as white people was more important than defending their reproductive rights, their sexual autonomy, their access to healthcare, family leave, and child care. White women bought into Trump’s lies about immigrant rapists and decided they’d rather have the respect of their angry white fathers, brothers, and husbands than the respect of literally everyone else in the world.
The shocking results of the election prove that most white women don’t consider themselves part of the coalition of non-white, non-straight, non-male voters who were supposed to carry Clinton to a comfortable victory. Most white women still identify more with white men than they do with black women, Latina women, Muslim women, transwomen, and every other woman who will have good reason to fear for her physical safety under a Trump regime. And while it’s nonwhite and queer women who have the most to lose under Trump, white women will have to live with the consequences of their own actions in a country without a right to abortion, without access to health insurance, without an adequate family leave policy, and with a head of state who values them only insofar as he wants to fuck them.
White women sold out their fellow women, their country, and themselves last night. Most white women don’t want to be part of an intersectional feminist sisterhood. Most white women just want to be one of the guys. And we will all suffer for it.
Hillary Rodham Clinton as a graduating senior at Wellesley College, May 31, 1969.