The gender gap, a reality of American politics since the Roe v. Wade decision almost 50 years ago, is defining the 2016 elections. But it is a different sort of gender gap — it originates with male voters, not women.
According to Fox News polls, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE is running 11 points ahead among women, down from Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe bully who pulls the levers of Trump's mind never learns US-China space cooperation is up in the air more than ever GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE’s 16-point finish in 2012. But Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE is running 22 points ahead among men, way up from Mitt Romney’s 7-point final margin in 2012.
This year’s gender gap is different from all previous gaps in that it has its origin in male, rather than female, dissent from the conventional wisdom. The feminist staples of abortion, reproductive rights and equal pay continue to motivate female voters. But men are voting differently than women because of their dissatisfaction with job and wage competition from illegal immigrants, the threat of refugee-driven terrorism, the loss of manufacturing jobs and the unending wage stagnation.
Men are in revolt.
The Trump candidacy is founded in this male gender gap. Women are dissenting from the national vote by their usual amount. But it is men who are really voting differently this year.
On a cultural level, male voters are alienated by political correctness and the focus on the rights of everybody but male Americans. Their continued and growing support for Trump echoes this male consensus.
By contrast, women’s gender gap issues are somewhat less significant than they once were. While more Americans now describe themselves as pro-choice than pro-life, the underlying data suggest a lack of extreme views on the issue. Twenty-nine percent, according to Gallup in May, favor legalizing abortion “in all circumstances,” while 19 percent support banning it all the time. The majority, 51 percent, want it to be legal in only certain circumstances.
Meanwhile, dissatisfaction with wage stagnation, income inequality, the loss of manufacturing jobs and the large amount of illegal immigration has spiraled, catalyzing Trump’s surprising march to the nomination.
As with the crime issue in the ’60s and ’70s, the mainstream media insist on painting the white male fear of competition from illegal immigrants as racist, denying its legitimacy. But the Center for Immigration Studies reports that since 2000, “All of the net gain in the number of working age people (16-65) holding a job has gone to immigrants — legal and illegal.” The center reports Census data show that while 114.7 million native-born Americans had full-time jobs in the first quarter of 2014, that is actually fewer than the 114.8 million who had them in the first quarter of 2000.
By contrast, the number of foreign-born workers, which includes legal, illegal and naturalized, having full-time employment has risen by 5.7 million since 2000.
The political fallout from these statistics is enormous. Combined with the wage stagnation of workers of all races, it has created a combustible political combination that is exploding this year.
But the media insist on calling these concerns about immigration and trade racial or jingoistic, denying the reality that they are the central concerns of the white men who are animating the Trump triumph.
Politically, this male gender gap throws down a gauntlet to Clinton as she tries to ride female discontent — and their gender gap — into the White House. The more she emphasizes the need for special pleading for women, the more she antagonizes male voters.
After all, polls indicate that while she is running 5 points behind Obama among women in 2012, she is running 15 points back among men now. Her problem is not to attract female voters but to stop hemorrhaging male voters. But neither Clinton nor her advisers understand or are willing to accept this reality. So they keep trying to enhance her standing among women, making things worse and worse among men.
Morris, who served as adviser to former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and former President Clinton, is the author of 17 books, including his latest, “Power Grab: Obama’s Dangerous Plan for a One Party Nation” and “Here Come the Black Helicopters.” To get all of his and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to dickmorris.com.