The left-leaning Guardian newspaper has a story out titled “Why Hillary Clinton was right about white women – and their husbands.” The article cites a new study purporting to vindicate Clinton’s explanation for her stunning defeat.
Recall that in an interview with NPR, Hillary blamed her lackluster showing among women voters on the little ladies being intensely pressured by their menfolk not to vote for her. Men pressured women and boom! America chose Trump. Conservative and mainstream outlets began chortling that Hillary claimed women “caved” to pressure from the men in their lives.
That stone hit the water and splashed out waves of comic relief. First, Hillary’s strange punditry drenched her critics in Schadenfreude and her supporters in chagrin. Second, the corrupt fact-checking racket leaped to throw its body in front of Hillary, bravely trying to deflect her deserved soaking. And third, leftist academics, but that’s redundant and repetitive, are riding to the rescue to breathe life into Hillary’s limp theory.
To set the stage, consider Hillary’s words in context. At an NPR interview on her No Mea Culpa tour, she recounted a somber conversation with writer Sheryl Sandberg about the sexism that would hold her back:
Sheryl ended this really sobering conversation by saying that women will have no empathy for you, because they will be under tremendous pressure — and I’m talking principally about white women — they will be under tremendous pressure from fathers and husbands and boyfriends and male employers not to vote for “the girl.”
So, on Hillary’s list of public enemies, to Bernie Sanders and James Comey, add women cowed by men. Even centrist and liberal outlets took umbrage to this characterization: Hillary’s explanation is sexist declared Newsweek: She thinks women voted against her because of men sniffed Glamour. And of course, center and right media piled on about Hillary’s women who caved.
The specter of fingers pointing from both right and left at the Bad Candidate obviously embarrassed establishment Democrats and the Left. But, again I’m being redundant, again. Something had to be done. And fact checkers were just the ones to do it. Snopes stepped up to the vault, performed a double twisting somersault, and declared the charge that Hillary blamed her defeat on women who caved to men “mostly false.” Snopes reasoned that Hillary had not actually used the word “caved” and, anyway, the words were not her own, but Sheryl Sandberg’s.
This is idiotic. Clinton obviously endorsed Sandberg’s words. She treasured them verbatim in her mind. She repeated them from her own mouth on a national interview to explain “What Happened.” Now, a careful reading shows she did not actually use any verb to capture the capitulation of her alleged wanted-to-be supporters. She just said they would be under tremendous pressure…tremendous pressure. Twice. In the same sentence. (She was being redundant…or channeling Trump).
.Tremendous pressure usually precedes a cave-in. A thorough writer who wanted to assign a verb to the process of people being forced to cave in might well deploy “yielded” or “succumbed” or “gave into” but there is nothing extravagant or distortive about the vivid verb “caved.” The widely repeated phrase was substantially true, not mostly false. But, sure enough, derivative “rebuttals” sprang up, dismissing the accusation as a “misquote.”
So the score until last week was Hillary had embarrassed herself and her supporters, then liberal fact checkers handed off their beer so they could one-up her. But now, academics and a liberal newspaper have decided not to let Hillary’s embarrassment die without a fight.
Author Lucia Graves sets the stage mournfully: “Given the opportunity to make history by electing the first female president, women didn’t take it. And ironically, the women who bore the most resemblance to Clinton – white, heterosexual and married – were less likely to vote for her.” Graves rehearses Clinton’s theory of tremendous manpressuring and concedes “people might scoff at the idea that women vote based on what husbands and fathers tell them to do.” But, she assures us, “Social science backs up Clinton’s anecdotal hunch.”
.Graves hands the microphone over to Kelsey Kretschmer, assistant professor of public policy at Oregon State University. Kretschmer coauthored a study on women’s voting patterns that confirms the long observed fact that married women tend to vote more conservatively than single women. So far so good, but here, the pressure hypothesis—and any support for Clinton—caves in.
The elephant in the room is women’s perception of their own interests. “’Just being married makes women more conservative in their vote choice,’” Kretchmer explains. Graves concedes “Individually speaking, such voting behavior is more rational than it may sound.” Then she kicks into humor. “The key distinction, according to Kretschmer’s research, is that single women tend to cast votes with the fate of all women in mind, while women married to men vote on behalf of their husbands and families.”
Got that? Single women vote for Womankind. Married women vote for husbands and kids. The first thing to observe is there’s no suggestion of “tremendous pressure” from anyone, just different women’s priorities in voting. The second thing to observe is that Graves and Kretchner conflate a handful of liberal issues–expansive abortion, equal pay (which has been the law of the land for decades), more aggressive employment litigation—with women’s interests as a whole, and dismiss other concerns that are perfectly rational motivations for women voters.
Their anecdotal coup de grace is telling:
A college-educated woman identifying as a liberal Democrat confided to Kretschmer – not wanting to be identified, as a Trump voter – that she had voted for him over Clinton because her husband’s job depends on the coal industry; she saw Trump as the candidate that would protect it, and by extension her family’s economic interests. Kretschmer called her story “the clearest, most heartbreaking validation of our article that I had ever heard.”
Again, there’s no pressure or arm twisting. There’s simply a self-described liberal woman voting for the candidate who promised to protect her family’s livelihood over the candidate who cackled she was “going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
Rather than the bully thesis, it would be more accurate to say Kretschmer’s study indicates married women are more likely to vote for policies that support strong economic opportunity and family security than they are to vote for the Hubby State envisioned byPresident Obama’s animated Julia character. Recall Julia was an apparently single mother who credited her life successes to a cradle-to-grave series of government programs.
That is a tremendous divide. Married women vote more conservative. Single women vote more liberal. Sorry, Guardian, but Hillary’s self-serving theory is still hanging out there looking stupid.