Saturday, January 14, 2017

Gender Gap in 1984 and 2016

More election analysis: 

Clinton won women on Tuesday [Nov. 8] by 12 points and lost men by 12 points: a total 24 point gap. The 2012 election previously held this record with a 20-point chasm, when President Obama won women by 12 points and lost men by eight.

I remember 1984 when Geraldine Ferraro was the vice-presidential nominee on the ticket with Walter Mondale.  

Pushing my two-year-old in a stroller, I’d gone to a Mondale rally when he came to town.  

Then I paid to attend an NWPC dinner in San Francisco to hear Ferraro speak.  It was worth every penny to be in that room, seated at a round table of eight as she denounced Ronald Reagan’s support for right-wing dictatorships in Central America and for defeat of the ERA.

 “It’s our turn!” she proclaimed to our cheers.  

I bought her book, Gerry! A Woman Making History, as well as Eleanor Smeal’s Why and How Women Will Elect the Next President.  

In those days the term gender gap was new, coined by NOW leaders to describe the per cent of women voting for Reagan in the 1980 presidential election vs. the per cent of men for Reagan—a gap of 4-9 percentage points.  

Smeal warned that the GOP, with its anti-women positions, ran “the risk of being forever delegated to minority-party status,” and predicted “The dream of the suffragists is about to be realized.”  

But Mondale and Ferraro lost with 41% of the votes, magnified by the Electoral College into 49 states going to Republicans vs. one to Democrats.  

We had to put up with Reagan for another four years, during which he sold arms to Iran (against international accords) and secretly used the money to support dictators in Central America who were murdering their own people.

In the 2016 election, when another dream was about to be realized, the gender gap grew to 24% and the Clinton-Kaine ticket got 2.8 million more votes than Trump-Pence, but the anti-women candidates still won, thanks to the Electoral College.

It turns out that the Electoral College system, designed to be weighted in favor of slave states, still keeps women's candidates out of the White House.

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