Thursday, April 21, 2016

April 21, 2016--Headline: TRUMP TAKES 60.5% OF REPUBLICAN VOTE IN NEW YORK

The real headline should have been--


More than anything else, these percentages have befuddled print and digital media pundits. They do not fit the conventional narrative.

Until the New York votes were tallied, the story has been that college-educated voters do not vote for Trump and, even more starkly, only a quarter or so of Trump supporters are women.

Democrats, liberals have been not-so-secretly thrilled about this. If only Trump can hang in there and win the nomination, turning off well-educated and women voters will guarantee that Hillary will win in a landslide.

Not so fast.

As the New York numbers may portend, it could be that a "presidential" Trump has more appeal among the college-educated and women than generally assumed. If so, this makes him a potential winner in November. Even against Hillary Clinton.

How could that possibly be? Are the New York numbers an aberration, perhaps attributable to the fact that Trump is a real New Yorker and that trumps everything else?

We may be chauvinistic in New York (Trump appeared at his rally last night to the strains of Frank Sinatra's swaggering, "New York, New York"), but we're not stupid.

Finally getting a chance to vote in a primary that has real meaning (the nomination process is usually pretty much over when it gets to be New York's turn) focused voters' attention and I suspect registered Republicans took their choice-making very seriously.

So the question remains--why did Trump do so well among women and the college-educated?

To my female and male feminist friends who are supporting Clinton primality because she is a woman (still an insufficient reason to me) or because she is "good" on women's issues such as equal pay, parenting leave, and the right to choose (all critical issues to me as well), for many non-feminst women (and there are millions of them) Trump is a better choice because he for them is on the right side of the issues that count most for them--mainly economic and national security issues.

Exit polls indicated that Trump's female voters care more about who they feel is best able to keep the country safe from terrorist attacks than who will fight harder to achieve pay equity. They care more about the security of their jobs and their capacity to make enough money to support families and themselves than about keeping abortions legal. They care more about how their children will fare in college and their viability as the nature of the American economy continues to morph into something unrecognizable than about securing paid leave for childcare.

Not that these are unimportant issues--women (and men) can support the right to choose but still vote for someone who wants to limit or even end it because they are not litmus-test voters. For them it appears what James Carville said back in 1992--"It's the economy stupid"--is still the most potent impulse.

And, understandable.

This, then, may be at the heart of Trump's appeal and staying power.

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