The Gender Gap among Democratic Voters

he-manThe idea has taken hold in some circles that a fair number of Bernie Sanders supporters are sexist.  Dagblogger PeraclesPlease describes “leftist misogyny” as “waiting for the right woman [not Clinton]”.   At Salon, the reliably misandrist Amanda Marcotte identifies a “Bernie bro phenomenon” consisting “of young men whose enthusiasm for socialism is goosed by an unacknowledged sexism”.  Slate’s more credible Michelle Goldberg contends many male Bernie backers “certainly don’t care about female leadership.”

If you are now expecting a critique of these claims and their espousers for using them to avoid a discussion of the real and important policy differences between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, prepare to be disappointed.  Within every age group, Clinton appeals to a higher percentage of women than Sanders even though Clinton’s more conservative record should be more appealing to the more conservative sex.  Plausibly, moderate to conservative Democratic men prefer Sanders because he’s a man.

In fact, I frequently question why I feel only contempt for the centrist Hillary Clinton.  Most of the time, I attribute it to our very different positions on any number of issues as well as her questionable character, dubious ethics, and history of dishonesty.  But to be fair, her husband shares many of these unpleasant traits.  Likewise, Barack Obama has betrayed his mandate and nation by pursuing damaging corporatist and militarist policies.

Yet I harbor affection for (as well as antipathy towards) both recent Democratic Presidents with whom I would love play a pickup basketball game and then share a beer.  Such feelings are consistent with a sexist attitude.  Accordingly, I do not reject out-of-hand the Peracles-Marcotte-Goldberg sexism thesis.  On the other hand, I have no interest in hanging out with Bernie Sanders and am confident I would vote for Elizabeth Warren in a heartbeat.

So ladies, you may well be right when you claim some sons of Sanders are just “he-man women-haters” at heart.  My response is so what.  What good does it do to hang a scarlet S around our necks?

You want us to support Clinton enthusiastically in the general election if she wins the Democratic nomination right?  Presumably, you’d like to peel some of us away from Sanders over the next few months to make her expected victory in the Democratic primaries even more decisive than it seems likely to be.  This would allow her to conserve resources for the bigger fight ahead.

As the old saying goes, you’re more likely to catch flies with honey than vinegar.  So take us Bernie bros (and sisses – more women under 30 prefer Bernie) at our word.  Believe or at least pretend you believe we are sincere when we tell you Hillary scares us.

Patiently explain to us cavemen that she’s not likely to embroil America in another destructive Middle East war despite her history and recent bellicose rhetoric.  Convince us that we can trust her when she says that she’s against the Trans Pacific Partnership notwithstanding her previous support and votes in favor of past free trade deals.  Persuade us that her opposition to a new Glass-Steagall Act and a $15 national minimum wage doesn’t signify the ascendancy of Wall Street over Main Street in her political calculations.

When you play the gender card, provide concrete evidence that Hillary’s womanhood will result in women-friendly policies despite her close relationship with the government of Singapore which is a destination country for traffickers of girls and women.  Assuage our concerns that she’s Rupert Murdoch’s favorite Democrat.  After all, at the last debate, she relied on a debunked Wall Street Journal to claim Bernie’s healthcare and college education plans will cost Americans $18-20 billion rather than save billions.

Finally ladies, if you really are concerned about electing the best candidate and making America a better place for our children and their children, take us seriously.  As men, we may incorrectly believe we deserve the last word.  But indulge us XY Democrats anyway – not with the last word if course but with a seat at the table.  It’s just barely possible, isn’t it, that despite our chauvinism  we may have doped this race out pretty well.

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5 Responses to The Gender Gap among Democratic Voters

  1. Helga Fellay says:

    I think voting for, or not voting for, a candidate because of their gender is sexist. Which means that if I would normally vote for Bernie Sanders because he is the better qualified candidate who better represents my views, but I cannot vote for him because he is a man, then that would be sexist. I will not vote for Killary whose views I despise and whom I do not trust, just because she happens to have a vagina. If I did that, then that would be sexist. The Killary supporters, and the DNC must be pretty desperate to play the sex discrimination card when it’s pretty obvious that it simply does not apply. Sanders supporters support him because they like him, and because they trust him, not because he happens to be a man. These same people would be supporting Elizabeth Warren, but she is not running.

    • halginsberg says:

      Thanks Helga – basically you have stated my view. Still, there may be some latent reluctance among some Bernie supporters to back a woman but that is pretty clearly balanced or even outweighed by female Clinton supporters who are backing her because she’s a democratic woman not because they have fairly evaluated both candidates and concluded Hillary more closely reflects their values.

  2. Shade says:

    I think the misogynist label is an idea the Hillary camp would like to promulgate (as Hillary did when Bernie referred to “people shouting at each other & not communicating” on the issue of gun control). Personally I know more female supporters of Bernie than I do males (one of whom is my wife). There is a decency about Bernie that is highly unusual to find in a politician and women in particular seem to be attuned to and respect this. My fear however is that nice guys often finish last.

    That said, Hillary could find herself indicted due to her email server scandal.
    (See )
    If this happens it could throw the Democratic nomination process wide open. Unfortunately to win, I suspect Bernie needs not only this, but some fortuitous timing, plus some plain old dumb luck.

  3. Shade says:

    Talk about a misogynist! Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton in vulgar terms Monday night, first saying that her bathroom break during the last Democratic debate was just too “disgusting” to talk about and then stating she “got schlonged” by Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race. For those that aren’t familiar with the Yiddish word, in common usage it means “dicked”.

    Trump now denies the word is vulgar, he claims it just means hillary got beaten badly. I don’t believe Trump. Remember Trump’s former racist charges against Obama and I think it becomes real easy to understand what Trump really meant… it is worse than I’ve heard any portray it. Trump not so subtly using dog-whistle language (though Hillary was guilty of that herself during her previous campaign). What are politics coming to?

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