When the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election began, there was a subtle groan in response to Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Not only was there controversy surrounding her, but she was also a woman. In her last election against President Barack Obama, Clinton played the “woman card” in response to accusations of President Obama playing the “race card.” These cards are metaphorical cards that can help sway votes due to a characteristic a candidate possesses. President Obama had the “race card,” because he was African American. Now, as well as then, Clinton must play the “woman card” to better secure her votes. Clinton needs to use the “woman card” now more than ever, because the election is going to be a close call. It is imperative that Clinton get all the votes she can, even if using the “woman card” is the way she does it (Filipovic).
There has always been a negative reaction to characteristic cards. Characteristics should not have anything to do with politics, with someone’s ability to lead, but Clinton’s leadership role deals heavily with her card. Being the first woman to become the Presidential nominee for a major political party means that she has much more to lose, simply because she’s not a man. Men have always been President of the United States, which means no one knows how a woman would be in the position of running the United States. In a country where women only represent 20 percent of the U.S. Senate (Filipovic), Clinton not only has to prove herself, she has to prove that women can be strong leaders.
Although using a “woman card” may seem a bit tacky and predictable, Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President, has mentioned Clinton using hers in this election. To this, however, Clinton responded, “Well, if fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the women’s card, then deal me in” (Reilly). Clinton just used the fuel from Trump’s comments to restate her platform and show that if she has to use the “woman card,” she’s going to do so. As Clinton hinted at, it is like playing a card game. It just so happens to be a game she’s more than willing to play. Instead of offending women, she is more than ready to relate to them in order to win their support.
Trump and his supporters, however, are doing the opposite. In early October, a 2005 tape recording of Trump degrading women was released. Since then, many members of elected office have withdrawn support for Trump, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Ted Cruz, and Senator Marco Rubio. Trump has lost many supporters, but not endorsements, due to his foul behavior (Graham). Despite this, many are still supporting him; in fact, it has given many of his supporters even more reason to support him. On October 12, Nate Silver, founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.com, published an article that started un uproar on social media around the world.
Silver’s article showed that recent October polls showed a wide gender gap between the voting for the two candidates. Clinton was in greater demand by women. Silver shared that if just women voted, Trump would lose; Clinton would get 458 electoral votes and Trump would get 80. Silver then went on to show that if just men voted, Trump would win with 350 to Clinton’s 188 electoral votes. With only 270 electoral votes needed to win the election, that is an incredibly vast gender gap, which many Trump supporters quickly noticed (Silver). “#RepealThe19th” began trending on social media sites, such as Twitter. The hashtag called for the repeal of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, the amendment that gave women the right to vote (Mehta).
In a time where men and women are calling to repeal the amendment that gave women the right to vote, it is more important that Clinton use her “woman card” to persuade voters in a more progressive direction. Even if Clinton had not wanted to use her sex as a focal point for the election, it is definitely becoming one. There is no way around it, because in a country where men are degrading and assaulting women, someone needs to stand up for the women who are being accused of lying and victimized. Clinton, who no doubt sees this position, is going to use her “woman card” to seal the deal with female voters around the country. The card that was once overused and boring has suddenly come to light once again.
Clinton using her “woman card” means everything to the American people, particularly the female population. It would not only mean that women have taken a stand and shown their strength, it would mean taking the country forward. It would mean moving on from the times where women had no rights into a new era for American women, an era where a female president is calling the shots. It’s a change in pace that the country so desperately needs.
Using her “woman card” is something Clinton had not always wanted to do, but as the 2016 Election has continued, she has had no choice but to use it, as she should. Using her sex to further her campaign isn’t wrong; there’s no law against it. With so many female citizens still on the fence on who to vote for, Clinton needs to use the card more than ever to further her cause, which she can do by using the card and appealing to women. In a country that only has 104 female representatives out of 535 total Congressmen in office at the current time (Eagleton Institute of Politics), the time to get women in power, by nearly any means, is imperative, which is why Clinton using her “woman card” is a crucial move in securing the presidency.
Eagleton Institute of Politics, and Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey.
“Current Numbers.” CAWP, Center for American Women and Politics, http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/current-numbers.
Filipovic, Jill. “Go Ahead, Play the Woman Card.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 May 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/opinion/campaign-stops/go-ahead- play-the-woman-card.html?smid=pl-share.
Graham, David A. “Which Republicans Oppose Donald Trump? A Cheat Sheet.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 12 Oct. 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/where-republicans-stand-on-donald trump-a-cheat-sheet/481449/.
Mehta, Seema. “Trump Backers Tweet #repealthe19th after Polls Show He’d Win If Only Men Voted.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2016, http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-trailguide-updates-trump backers-tweet-repealthe19th-1476299001-htmlstory.html.
Reilly, Katie. “Trump and Clinton Battle Over ‘Woman Card’ Criticism.” Time, Time, 27 Apr. 2016, http://time.com/4309313/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-woman-card-general-election/.
Silver, Nate. “Election Update: Women Are Defeating Donald Trump.” FiveThirtyEight, 12 Oct. 2016, http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/election-update-women-are-defeating-donald-trump/.
This is one of the first posts I ever put on my portfolio. It’s from my first semester at Agnes Scott. Looking back on it, I can see how much I’ve grown as a writer. This is important to have on my portfolio, because there’s three (almost four) years between this post and the last post I’ve made on my portfolio. This has no pictures or videos and most of my new ones do, because I’ve developed my digital skills since then.