A version of this article first appeared on Independent Australia
19 November 2021
Not all women… feel the same, think the same, and want the same for the former, but not forgotten, President Donald J. Trump.
There are women who voted for Trump. And then there are the #WomenForTrump – an Instagram movement that feeds and feeds off the MAGA movement’s subculture. These are women of all ages, backgrounds, and even nationalities for whom Make America Great Again is not a slogan; it’s a calling. They wear their hashtags as proudly as their flags, and the sun never really set in their hearts on November 3.
While it may surprise given the party’s policies towards feminine bodily autonomy, women’s, particularly white women’s, support for the Republican Party is nothing new as identified by Julie Kohler. She writes;
“Women of colour are the basis of the Democratic party. However, despite assaults on women’s health and abortion… white women have narrowly favoured the Republican Presidential candidate for the better part of 70 years.”
Kohler goes on to posit that race, rather than gender, has historically been the defining factor with which social groups identify on a political level. It appears that white women and conservatism go together like immigrants and cages.
Donald Trump, Republican mould breaker, was widely expected to buck this trend and turn women in droves to the Democrats. For better or worse, this was not to be.
Cara, one of the loyal #Women for Trump who spoke with us echoes the incomprehensibly loyal, (and thus unpredictable to pollsters), resilience of Trump’s female fanbase.
“I fully agree with Trump. He is my idol”, the South Carolinian replied when asked if there were any aspects of his behaviour pre or post-presidency that she disagreed with.
“My respect for Trump cannot be lessened”, proclaimed Instagram user Chicks For Trump.
These are but a sample of the women who against all odds would ignore, forgive, or even embrace Trumps offensive and downright embarrassing gaffes. In April 2016, several pundits confidently stated that Trump’s remarks that ‘women should be punished for having abortions’ would surely drive women away from the Republican Party.
In retrospect, this seems almost laughably quaint. Certainly, these were not words that “…delivered a landslide to Hilary Clinton in the presidential election”, as predicted by The Guardian.
Arguably more infamous are Trump’s off the record comments…which quickly made their way on the record. Trump has made a wealth of statements about women ranging from the appreciative to the derogatory. But the essence of his commentary can be summed up in five words; grab them by the pussy. Just what is a hardcore woman for trump’s reaction to this?
Annette: “These comments are deplorable, obviously.”
Natalie: “Grab her by the pussy is a lil (sic) out there but we all say stuff like that”
Andonica: “Trump has not made Derogatory comments on woman… the liberal socialist humans don’t play all the conversations in order to listen to the full answers. Trump did not state he grabbed women’s pussies, he stated this is what some men do”
Taylor: “As a Woman, and as a Human Being in general, I didn’t like the “Grab her by the pussy” commentary. Will I condemn a man for saying something, that he did not think was being recorded, to another man on a bus? No. I will not condemn him for the one comment.
It’s worth reflecting that these opinions demonstrate variety, and (in some cases) mild criticism. Some responses could also be seen to also challenge the ignorant, unintelligent Trump supporter stereotype. What these women did have in common was a willingness to forgive if not overlook this controversy in the context of the greater cause which was not only supporting Trump but keeping Hilary Clinton, “..that communist” as described by Denise, out of power.
So what is it that actually attracts these women to Donald Trump, both pre and post his 2020 electoral defeat? As alluded to above, for many the answer is simply the motivation to prevent left wing influence in the white house. And as discussed previously, racial issues are obviously a huge factor in the division between red and blue voters. This does not entirely explain the level of support for Trump however, as many interviewees were first time voters or in one case even a former Obama supporter.
From the answers received, it might be concluded that it is not the policies or conduct of Trump as a politician that attracts such fervent female supporters. He is a concept, a symbol, a blank slate onto which hopes and dreams can be projected.
“Trump fought for freedom and the people of this country and that is why I support him”, explains Chicks for Trump. This general sentiment is echoed by Taylor, who explains;
“We finally have a President that does not care for the rules that negatively affect the people, and who refuses to be censored. He is a Christian man, and so is his family.”
Finally, Denise concludes, “I didn’t have such strong views as a Republican before Trump but when he ran for president in 2016 I just knew I had to vote for him”.
In spite of what’s no doubt to be enduring legacy, Donald J. Trump is no longer President. Joe Biden, his wife and his ill-behaved dog Duke have well and truly settled in as America’s first family. Donald Trump has left the Whitehouse. But has Elvis left the building?
Denise does not believe so. “[It is] never the end on Trump… politically I think he has a plan. He always has a card up his sleeve.”
The likelihood of that prediction could certainly be doubted given Trump’s relative reticence of late. But if there’s one thing the last four years has taught us it’s that Donald Trump, and more importantly his supporters, are not to be underestimated.
As long as the hashtag #Women For Trump lives on, Trump’s female supports will do everything in their power to ensure that 2024 just might be the year to make America great… again. In the words of Michelle Obama; “There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish.”
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