There’s a lot to process in Doug Jones’ stunning defeat of Roy Moore for the Senate seat in Alabama. One of the voter statistics that fascinates me is that white women without a college degree voted for Moore by a margin of 50 points. I think that’s the same group that forms part of the core of Trump’s support. I’m wondering why? Do Trump and Moore remind them of their husbands, fathers, brothers? Are poorly educated white women used to be grabbed and groped, humiliated, disregarded, and do they identify with men in public life who act toward them as the men closest to them act? In other words, is Moore-Trump behavior in this part of the culture “normal”, and does it follow the principle that we vote for what we know?
I know a few college educated white women who are Trump supporters, and their motivation is different: they are drawn to patriarchal, authoritarian men. They like Trump, they tell me, because he makes them feel safe.
I get that, although I can’t imagine anyone objectively feeling safe with such an erratic, thin-skinned, and intellectually limited man who regards women as nothing more than eye candy. But when white women without a college degree are told by women like Senator Gillibrand that unwanted groping and kissing is not acceptable in any setting, and especially not in a public servant, and when that cohort of women fiercely resists the message, my curiosity is piqued.
What in the world goes on in the minds of these voters?