How Gender influenced the 2016 presidential campaign

The 2016 Presidential Election

The 2016 Presidential Election was one of the most notorious and polarizing political campaigns of recent memory. The race had polarized the nation on the bases of statehood, race, gender, wealth status and more. Of course every political election does this to some degree, but the nation was especially the case here. Donald Trump, who was a businessman and reality TV show host prior to the election, became the first United States president without any public service or military experience. Despite a long career in public service and politics including serving as senator of New York from 2001 to 2009, serving as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 and being the runner-up in the 2008 democratic primaries, Clinton did not become the first women president in the United States.

Although Hillary Clinton was the strong favorite up until the night of the election and had the support of many celebrities, politicians and even some republican support from former President George Bush, while winning more than 2 million more votes than Donald Trump, Hillary lost the electoral vote 304 to 227. Clinton lost some of the swing states such as Ohio and Florida and states that have traditionally voted Democrat as of late such as Pennsylvania and Michigan which respectively is 20 and electoral votes. The vast majority of polls from cable news sites had Hillary winning the election.

This was only 3 days before Election Day 2016

Much of the campaigns' focus were on policy issues such as immigration reform, the Middle East problems, women's rights and other issues. However, Hillary's presidential run was routinely the subject of scrutiny because of sexism. Sexism in politics is nothing new, but this was the first time a women had won the nomination to run for president for a major political party in the United States. Anywhere from social media, to cable news, Hillary was subjected to verbal attacks on her credibility, and credit was often given to her former U.S president husband Bill Clinton. From internet memes, to misogynist slogans (unofficial slogans) like "Trump that Bitch" and "Don't be a Pussy, Vote for Trump" and "Hillary Sucks, but not like Monica." In addition to this, social media is routinely flooded with sexist and misogynist memes about Hillary's home life.

Hillary's credentials were regularly undermined by the opposition and its supporters during the election, and much of it was due to gender. When women become powerful, they are often judged more harshly by there peers, both men and women. Ambitious men are often met with support, while ambitious women are often men with more hostility than men. Though many white men were very critical of first African American President Barack Obama, she was viewed as 20 percent more unfavorable than the former president.(https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/10/fear-of-a-female-president/497564/) In fact, many polls shown Hillary as one of the least favorable democratic candidates since 1980. This is in many ways because of the way women in power are perceived. According to this poll, Hillary was viewed very unfavorable by 52% of white men polled, 20% higher than Obama, and 28% higher than John Kerry in 2004.

More about polls, many outlets even had Trump having a higher favor-ability than Clinton.

source: ABC

Despite Trump having a past of racist and misogynist comments, people still viewed him for favorable than Clinton.

Gender was certainly not the only factor in Trump's 2016 Presidential victory, but it is still very clear that many men in the United States still are uncomfortable with having a women head of state. Many men in the United States feel that making a women president would be making America "too soft." This goes to show that many men are not ready for a female president because it goes so far against what they perceive as traditional gender roles.

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