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 John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE] to overcome in his 2020 reelection bid.”

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

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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 Ann WarrenWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Four companies reach 0M settlement in opioid lawsuit | Deal opens door to larger settlements | House panel to consider vaping tax | Drug pricing markup tomorrow On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisClinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Poll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Trump declines to participate in Weather Channel 2020 climate change special 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 BidenTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Warren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails 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 HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyWall Street firm predicts stock market would rally if Trump resigned Poll shows Michelle Obama would lead in New Hampshire if she entered 2020 Democratic race Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble 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 Gore2020 general election debates announced Odds place Greta Thunberg as front-runner for this year's Nobel Peace Prize Joe Lieberman's son running for Senate in Georgia 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 ClintonSanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Clinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Saagar Enjeti: Clinton remarks on Gabbard 'shows just how deep the rot in our system goes' 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.

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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 CoulterConservatives rail against Braves for reducing 'tomahawk chop' after Native American pitcher calls it 'disrespectful' Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers ramp up Silicon Valley antitrust probe | Treasury sanctions North Korean cyber groups | Thiel to host Kobach fundraiser Ann Coulter singles out Klobuchar during Democratic debate: She is 'killing it' 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.