The Student Blog Post series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.
As the presidential race draws to a close, Hillary Clinton is bringing attention to Trumps history of sexist comments. Following several allegations of sexual harassment and highly publicized instances of Trumps disregard for women, the Clinton campaign is on the offensive in an effort to secure the female vote. Just yesterday in Florida, a key battleground state in this election, Hillary proudly proclaimed For my entire life, I’ve been a woman, and when I think about what we now know about Donald Trump and what he’s been doing for 30 years, he sure has spent a lot of time demeaning, degrading, insulting and assaulting women. Clinton begins with an appeal to all women, disregarding race, party affiliation, religion, or any factors other than gender. With the potential to be first female president of the United States, Hillary is a symbol of womens rights and empowerment, which puts her in an ideal position to take a stance against Trumps blatant misogyny. Recently Clintons campaign has released advertisements reminding the public about Trumps remarks on grabbing women by the genitals and kissing them without permission, asserting that he doesnt see us as human beings. In addition, at her rally in Florida, Clinton brought out the winner of the 1996 Miss Universe pageant to speak on Trumps disrespect towards women and testify to how he publicly denounced her because of her weight.
Clintons effort to capture womens support relates to what the Columbia model found regarding voter choice. Researchers at Columbia discovered that membership in social groups is the strongest influence on how people vote. Specifically, they found that religion, social class, and region are the most important, followed by family, friends, school and media. While Trump has reduced his chance of winning the election through rhetoric which angers and divides said social groups, Clinton seeks to gain support by appealing to an entire gender. This election seems to be an ideal representation of the implications of the Columbia Model. Even the most dedicated Republican women, Latinos, and Muslims, the three main social groups targeted by Trump, are being swayed to vote for Hillary. While Trump appeals to certain social groups, generally older, wealthy white males, his hateful speech is destroying the party attachment of many voters who identified as Republicans.
The Michigan study took the conclusions of the Columbia study and added a psychological factor. They discovered that much of voter choice is rooted in our party ID, developed over our lifetime. Second to that we vote based on the candidate’s background, skill and personal characteristics. The fact that many voters are switching party allegiance in accordance with their social group seems to challenge the notion that our party ID is set in stone. However, the fact that we vote based on the candidate’s attributes and background, in other words their social group, seems to be consistent with the current election. While Trump has overwhelming support from older, wealthy white males, Hilary is most successful with women and Latinos.
In conclusion, both studies offer us significant insights into voting behavior, and when applied to this election they exemplify how crucial social groups are to a campaign. While Hillary is a champion of women’s achievement, Trump is an excellent example of how bashing certain social groups can generate an alarming amount of support in voters and drive loyal party members away.
Max Iskiev is a 3rd year political science major at Cal Poly Pomona. He enjoys going to the beach, reading books and politics. He plans on attending law school and going into human rights law after graduating.