Charles Blow In NYT: Exit Polls Point To The Power Of White Patriarchy
Print Friendly and PDF

From the New York Times opinion page:

Exit Polls Point to the Power of White Patriarchy

Some people who have historically been oppressed will stand with their oppressors.

By Charles M. Blow, Opinion Columnist

Nov. 4, 2020, 6:30 p.m. ET

It is obscene that the presidential race is too close to call at the time this column is published: Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

After all that Donald Trump has done, all the misery he has caused, all the racism he has aroused, all the immigrant families he has destroyed, all the people who have left this life because of his mismanagement of a pandemic, still roughly half of the country voted to extend this horror show.

Let me be specific and explicit here: White people — both men and women — were the only group in which a majority voted for Trump, according to exit polls. To be exact, nearly three out of every five white voters in America are Trump voters.

It is so unsettling to consider that many of our fellow countrymen and women are either racists or accommodate racists or acquiesce to racists.

But, that’s only part of what was shocking to me about the exit polls. …

Finally, exit polls are just that, polls. They can differ slightly from the validated voter data, as they did in 2016.

All that said, I am still stunned.

Racial Minorities

A larger percentage of every racial minority voted for Trump this year than in 2016. Among Blacks and Hispanics, this percentage grew among both men and women, although men were more likely to vote for Trump than women.

Among Hispanics, the movements by sex were marginal and have held remarkably steady over the last four presidential elections.

The fascinating story and movement are in the Black vote. Black people vote overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates. Black women vote more reliably Democratic than Black men — only 3 or 4 percent of Black women voted for the Republican candidate in 2008, 2012 and 2016. However, Donald Trump doubled that number this year, winning 8 percent of Black women’s votes.

Black men on the other hand have been inching away from the Democrats in recent elections, and continued that drift in this election. In 2008, 5 percent of Black men voted for John McCain; in 2012, 11 percent voted for Mitt Romney; in 2016, 13 percent voted for Trump; and, this year 18 percent voted for Trump.

These men were specifically targeted by the Trump campaign, and that targeting may well have worked. Democrats are going to have to pour some energy into specifics listening to and understanding these Black men. They are still the least likely group of men to vote Republican, but this trend away from Democrats is undeniable at this point.

White Women

Not only did a majority of white men vote for Trump, so did a majority of white women. In 2016, exit polls also showed that a majority of white women had done so, but later an analysis of validated voters by the Pew Research Center found that a plurality of white women voted for Trump, not a majority.

In any case, white women vote for Trump at higher rates than all other women, despite the fact that Trump has spent his first time, indeed his whole life, denigrating women.

The L.G.B.T. Community

This one pushed me back on my heels: the percentage of L.G.B.T. people voting for Trump doubled from 2016, moving from 14 percent to 28 percent. In Georgia the number was 33 percent.

This for a president who has attacked trans people in every way imaginable. As the Human Rights Campaign president, Alphonso David, pointed out in June, “The Trump-Pence administration is the most virulently anti-LGBTQ administration in decades.”

This strong move toward Trump may be driven by men.

In September, the gay social network Hornet published the result of a survey of 10,000 of its users that found that 45 percent of the gay men on it planned to vote for Trump.

As the company wrote on its blog:

“The idea that gay men — a demographic that typically skews left — would vote for Donald Trump at a higher percentage than U.S. citizens overall would no doubt be very surprising were it to happen. And another surprise: 10 percent of the American gay men who took Hornet’s survey say they ‘do not support [Donald Trump] at all’ but will vote for him nonetheless.”

All of this to me points to the power of the white patriarchy and the coattail it has of those who depend on it or aspire to it.

It reaches across gender and sexual orientation and even race. Trump’s brash, privileged chest trumping and alpha-male dismissiveness and in-your-face rudeness are aspirational to some men and appealing to some women. Some people who have historically been oppressed will stand with the oppressors, and will aspire to power by proximity.

Only cisgender straight white men have agency. Everybody else is just putty in their mighty hands.

Charles Blow joined The Times in 1994 and became an Opinion columnist in 2008. He is also a television commentator and writes often about politics, social justice and vulnerable communities. @CharlesMBlow Facebook

[Comment at]

Print Friendly and PDF