The last time I looked more than half of the American electorate is …. whisper it…female.
That is one reason, among many, why Hillary Clinton can win the White House. Another is that, although in the USA the heavy glass ceiling for women is yet to be broken, 7 years ago Obama broke one I would argue was thicker – that of race.
That women are not treated equally in America is not at question, but the racial divides in the Land of the Free run deeper than those of gender. Obama’s rise to power was epoch making, his place in history guaranteed, and in its own way, has helped pave the way for what would be another historic advancement in the USA – a female President.
Some figures: ‘More than half is female’? Indeed – 53%. That is down to the number of American men who through criminal activity have lost the right to vote. In 2012 almost 5.3 million people were disenfranchised in this manner, a majority of them men, and among the men a disproportionality high number of black men. The laws on criminal convictions and voting differ state to state.
In 2012 55% of women voted Democrat (Obama) and only 45% of men. However, white women overall voted Republican (Romney) – 56%.
If she wins the candidacy, the 55% of 2012 are probably nailed on votes. Then there will be an unknown percentage of wavering white women voters who last time voted Republican who can be persuaded to switch to Democrat and the fact of Hillary’s gender will be a factor.
Then, 96% of black women voted for Obama, as did 87% of black men. The black vote can be counted on to lean heavily Democrat in all elections as can, to a lesser extent, the Latino vote, a majority of which is female.
The non-white vote is notably more in favour of the Democrats than the Republicans and as America is destined to be a non-white majority country the Republicans are swimming against the tide. A few right of centre thinkers are trying to broaden the party’s intellectual foundations, but the mainstream continue to try and chase fewer votes by concentrating on the base. As the base shrinks, this becomes more and more difficult.
There are many variables; how she performs, who she is up against, how the swing states go, but Hillary Clinton is very well positioned to shatter what she called in 2008 the “highest, hardest glass ceiling”. She meant a woman in the top job, but as stated, I believe Obama shattered the hardest ceiling and by so doing proved America has changed enough to make the idea of a woman President seem obvious.