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Experts weigh in on women’s vote in tight US presidential vote

Experts weigh in on women’s vote in tight US presidential vote

Ailyn Agonia
DOHA
With about a week left before election day, more than 62 million Americans have already cast their ballots.
While all eyes are on how swing states will vote or whether President Donald Trump will pull off an election surprise against Democratic challenger Joe Biden like he did with Hillary Clinton in 2016, the turnout of certain voter demographics including women is also deemed a factor likely to decide the outcome of the 2020 elections.
In a recent virtual reporting tour of the Washington Foreign Press Centers, Tierra Stewart, national fellowship programme director of IGNITE National, pointed out women voter turnout is higher because they have more at stake.
She said “What I see happening is that all the things that we are being subjected to, that doesn’t allow for us to navigate these spaces in equality as men, is the driving force behind getting out to vote. And reasons why women vote higher because we have more at stake. Not only do we have to go to work, we got to take care of our families. There’s just more at stake, which is why women have the highest vote.”
Steward also detailed the movement in the representation of women in the American politics citing the record number of women elected in Congress in 2018.
Commenting on the impact of Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, the first woman of colour on a major party’s ticket, Stewart said bringing her to the ticket is going to secure the black woman vote but there is no guarantee she will connect with Gen Z who are the biggest vote in the population.
“A lot of people aren’t really that excited about Biden in general, is more like just settling for Biden. And I’m just going to speak directly for right now, the black community. And so, with bringing Kamala Harris onboard that automatically is going to secure the black woman vote, it really is,” she said.
“And I don’t think Kamala has enough connection with Gen Z in order to turn out the vote for them as well. They’re not particularly motivated by her either, or are they motivated by Biden. Honestly, I feel like with this upcoming election is really going to be a very close call,” she added.
While Dr. Christina Wolbrecht, professor of political science and Director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame, said there’s actually not a lot of good evidence that explain why women are slightly more Democratic and men are more Republican.
“In particular, the gender gap is a function of differences in preferences for the social welfare state, specifically of course programmes to do with poverty, elderly folks, et cetera, but also investments in education, in healthcare, et cetera. Women in general would like to see the government doing more in those areas and being more engaged,” she said.
“Why might women be more supportive of an active social welfare state? I think the first answer that comes to most people’s minds is because they are more likely to be recipients of these programmes and it is true in the US that our ideas of who deserves government help often focus on mothers and children, and so women are in fact more likely to be recipients of these programmes,” she added.
Wolbrecht also pointed out that just like men voters, women vote for their own economic interests and they are much more likely than men to be employed in the sectors of health and education and social work, and so see the values of those programmes, understand their own political interests being tied to them.

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