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The Power of Women

Susan Estrich on

The gender gap is growing.

According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, President Joe Biden has opened a six-point lead over Donald Trump -- powered by the votes of women.

In a press statement, the university's polling analyst Tim Malloy said, "The gender demographic tells a story to keep an eye on. Propelled by female voters in just the past few weeks, the head-to-head tie with Trump morphs into a modest lead for Biden."

In the head-to-head matchup, Biden leads Trump 50% to 44% -- up from "too close to call" last month. Among women, Biden leads Trump by over 20 points, 58% to 36%, up from 53% for Biden and 41% for Trump just last month. Among men, the numbers are virtually unchanged -- 53% of men supported Trump and 42% supported Biden in January, compared to 51% for Trump and 41% for Biden in December.

What's going on?

If you buy into conspiracy theories, you can blame it all on Taylor Swift, who may be the most powerful woman in the world, certainly according to the crazy right-wing internet trolls. In one of the most ridiculous theories making the rounds, there is a giant conspiracy to rig the Super Bowl in favor of Kansas City, with Swift and her boyfriend and the NFL and the entertainment industry all joining forces to elect Biden. Supposedly, the endorsement will come at half-time; it's all part of a "psy-op," a psychological operation being run out of the Pentagon. And then Kansas City will win, and so will Biden.

What does it say about Republicans' confidence in their would-be nominee that they think he can be defeated by a rock star, even a very popular one?

 

Look, I hope Taylor Swift does endorse Biden, as she did last time around, but does anyone really think that is why Trump lost? If Swift can influence some of her fans to take this election seriously, and actually vote, that may well help Biden. But the reason to vote for Biden is not because Swift says so (which she hasn't done yet). Give women more credit than that. It's about the issues. And about character.

Women, who still earn less than men do, care about the economy, as well they should. And they care about reproductive freedom. The women's vote has powered victories for abortion rights wherever it has been on the ballot. In recent weeks, the economic news has been better than expected: the job numbers are up, and inflation has cooled. For those on the bottom of the economic ladder, and those who manage the family budget, that counts. Biden, who has, perhaps belatedly, gone into general election mode, has also been pushing hard on the abortion issue, which should work in his favor especially with young women who may be more moved by their own privacy rights than by any rock star. Trump may score points among Republican primary voters by taking credit for appointing the justices who overruled Roe v. Wade, but that is not a winning issue for him in the general election.

And then there is E. Jean Carroll, a woman whose courage and character contrasted sharply with Trump's arrogance and insulting demeanor in the recent trial, and in his temper tantrums about Nikki Haley. Trump may be Teflon-coated for his MAGA minority, but the Teflon appears to be wearing thin for women who will vote in the general election. Carroll, like Haley, clearly got under his skin, and it showed. The way he treated her, not only in the dressing room decades ago, but in the courtroom last month, was an insult. Is it possible that his contempt for women who dare to stand up to him will hurt him among female voters in a general election matchup?

The conspiracy mongers who are spreading stupidity about Taylor Swift have chosen the wrong target. She is a powerful woman who has earned worldwide acclaim. Her endorsement is unlikely to really sway the election. But the attacks on her, and on other women who dare to try to use their power, just might.

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To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


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