Juan Williams: Trump's trouble with women

Juan Williams: Trump's trouble with women
© Aaron Schwartz

After interviewing professional, suburban women voters in swing states last week, the Associated Press reported the following:

The “continuing trend of women voting against Republicans could prove exceedingly difficult for [President TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media MORE] to overcome in his 2020 reelection bid.”

Why is this one trend such bad news for the Trump campaign?


Trump’s win among white female voters in 2016 was critical. They helped him “eke out victories across the Rust Belt and take the White House,” the AP story explained.

But after interviews with mostly white women in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Detroit, Denver and Milwaukee, the reporters painted a damning picture of the current view of Trump among female voters:

“In more than three dozen interviews…nearly all [of the women] expressed dismay — or worse — at Trump’s racially polarizing insults and what was often described as un-presidential treatment of people.”

I was unaware of the AP story until pollsters involved with campaigns for both congressional Republicans and Democrats — and a political researcher — happened to mention it.

The political professionals brought it up to bolster an emerging belief that both major parties will have a woman on their 2020 presidential tickets.

Already Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPorter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Nine, including former Michigan governor, charged over Flint water crisis | Regulator finalizes rule forcing banks to serve oil, gun companies | Trump admin adds hurdle to increase efficiency standards for furnaces, water heaters DeVos mulled unilateral student loan forgiveness as COVID-19 wracked economy: memo MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris to be sworn in by Justice Sotomayor using Thurgood Marshall's Bible In calling out Trump, Nikki Haley warns of a more sinister threat On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE (D-Calif.) are polling in the top tier of Democrats running for their party’s presidential nomination.

Many of the men running against them, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenMissouri woman seen with Pelosi sign charged in connection with Capitol riots Facebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP MORE, are on record saying they are looking at women for their vice presidential running mate.

The presidential gender politics of 2020 get even more interesting when you factor in persistent rumors that the GOP ticket will also include a woman.

The theory goes that Trump might replace Vice President Pence as his running mate with former ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki HaleyNikki HaleyIn calling out Trump, Nikki Haley warns of a more sinister threat Nikki Haley unveils PAC ahead of possible 2024 White House bid We've seen this movie before — Rumors of Trump's political demise are greatly exaggerated MORE.

Andrew Stein, a Trump confidante in New York, floated the case for Haley taking over the number two slot on the GOP ticket in a June column in The Wall Street Journal.

"It's too late for Mr. Trump to revamp his political personality”, Stein wrote. “But with the 2016 election in the past, Nikki Haley on the ticket could tamp down the antipathy for Mr. Trump that seems to afflict so many moderate and Republican-leaning women. President Trump needs the prospect of a Vice President Haley to help recapture the White House.”

Why all the attention to white, suburban female voters?

Most voters in the last five presidential elections have been female, and most of them cast their ballots for the Democrat.

But in all five contests, a majority of white women voted for the Republican presidential candidate.

It is important to note that Trump’s win among white women “was the worst showing for a Republican among white women since 2000, when George W. Bush barely edged out Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreWill Pence be able to escape the Trump stain? Vice President Pence: Honor in humility Pence rises to the occasion, to truly save America MORE,” according to The Washington Post.

And in the most recent national elections, white women have been trending away from Republicans.

Democrats won 41 seats to gain control of the House in the 2018 midterms. Exit polls from those midterm races found 59 percent of all women voted for the Democrat in their congressional races compared to just 40 percent of women who picked the Republican.

Among male voters in 2018, 51 percent voted Republican and 47 percent voted Democrat.

The recent midterms also saw a spike in the number of female voters.

In the 2014 midterms, only 43 percent of registered women voted. But in 2018 that percentage jumped to 55 percent of registered women.

And the power of those female voters choosing Democrats has made history. Currently, 17 of the 25 female senators are Democrats. In the House, 89 of the 102 women are Democrats.

When Trump defeated a woman to win the White House, he won 52 percent of white female voters. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFor Joe Biden, an experienced foreign policy team Millennials and the great reckoning on race Biden chooses Amanda Gorman as youngest known inaugural poet MORE, the Democrat, won the majority of all female voters only by winning a disproportionate share of non-white women, including 69 percent of Latina women and 94 percent of black women.

“Fellow white women, I’m done with you,” wrote Sarah Ruiz-Grossman in The Huffington Post soon afterward, as she looked at the slim margin of victory that white female voters gave Trump in states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

If Trump’s narrow advantage among white female voters is now disappearing, specifically in those swing states, his chance of winning in 2020 is declining.


The AP’s reporters found “a warning light” for Trump in that even some suburban women who “gave Trump credit for the economy or backed his crackdown on immigration acknowledged they were troubled or uncomfortable lining up behind the president."

That led the writers to conclude that at a minimum “since [the 2016 election] there are few signs Trump has expanded his support among women."

Ann CoulterAnn Hart CoulterDrudge congratulates Warnock, says Ann Coulter should have been GOP candidate José Andrés responds to Ann Coulter calling him 'some nut foreigner' Conservative critics mock Jill Biden title controversy MORE, the firebrand conservative, has pointed out that “in every presidential election since 1950 — except [Barry] Goldwater in ’64 — the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted.”

With that in mind, she quipped that as a Republican voter, she feels the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote in 1920 was a “rash experiment.”

Any objective analysis would tell us that Trump’s campaign is going to have a hard time celebrating the 100th anniversary of that “rash experiment.”

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.