Our White Women Problem

I’ve seen a bunch of “WTF, white women?!?” takes today after exit polls showed the majority voted for troglodytes like Kemp, Cruz, DeSantis and Scott. College-educated white women have been a key part of the anti-Trump resistance in many of the suburbs where Democrats won.

But about half of white women — and in some places, distressingly huge majorities of them, if the exit polls are accurate — keep voting for Trump enablers and can eventually be counted on to vote for Trump again.

Martha Crawford, LCSW, tweeted the best explanation for our persistent white women problem that I’ve ever seen. Thread starts here on Twitter. I’ve rendered it in paragraph form below:

I had two maternal figures: Mom divorced in 1974 – lived as a single mother, worked the rest of her life in a gas station and hid immigrant workers without documents in our basement providing shelter, home medical care and food.

Whoever she was or wasnt she “ran with wolves”

She lived a life that was authentic and a mess and all her own.

My step-mother- extremely conservative, extremely patriarchal- profoundly concerned about status – her own and her sons- told me I was ridiculous to even think of a career when I should “just marry a powerful man”

My step-mother, I heard through the grapevine, (I no longer speak to her directly) voted for Trump – which is what I would have assumed.

It is absolutely unsurprisingly to me that more than half of all white women are like my step-mother.

My mom took wild risks, forsook so many “comforts” turned her back on extraordinary wealth, worked as a manual laborer, shopped for shoes and clothes at the swap meet, her car was always breaking down. She was often afraid.

But she died without any regrets at all.

My step-mother made choices consistently organized around security and power for herself and her biological off-spring, sons.

Her “power” came was vicarious power – and if you add up their assets and belongings. -their medical care and comforts- my step-mother came out ahead.

My point is that a large number of these 54% of white women are completely enmeshed with the supremacy of white men – their very comforts rest upon it.

My mother gave up EVERYTHING to flee from it – and struggled in freedom- for the rest of her life.

My mother’s choices and outcomes CONFIRMED my step-mothers in her mind.

We arent every going to peel those white women away from the desire for dominance for their husbands and sons.

Freedom can costly. If you have no inherent drive for it – it is a very hard sell.

We arent going to convince them that freedom and sharing is a purer way to live if it costs them their meat freezer in the garage, their speedboat and their membership at the club.

We have to build our coalition with less than half of white women – they like their comfy cages

Resign yourself to that “more than half of white women” uphold oppression. They have found ways to make their own disempowered lives quite comfy with layers and layers of vicarious power.

They don’t yearn for freedom at all. They find it repellant.

There is a lot more I could say – but cannot say about all the many oppressive outcomes that grew out of my step-mother’s choices, the power her sons gathered, the expanding generational oppressions that emerged out of her comfortable embrace of white patriarchy.

All expectable

White patriarchy keeps its women close by rewarding them.

Liberation offer no regularly scheduled feedings.

To get white women to reject freedom all you have to do is gild the cage.

They will prefer to be first in line for table scraps, hoarding all the resources they can, rather than ever forage themselves

And they will see the authentic challenges and complexities of liberation as PROOF that they are safer in their indentured contract.

lots of typos as always – but hopefully you get the jist.

I think it is important that we stop “being surprised” by this.

It is a dilemma as old as the hills. It is not surprising at all. Not one bit.

Interestingly, I happened to notice that I lost followers as a result of this thread.

I guess we know who left.

I’ve left lots of such people behind more times than I can count – and like my mother, I’ve never regretted it.

I also had a fiercely independent mother who took risks and made her own way, and I have a stepmom who scurries to the fridge to fetch a refill when my father rattles the ice cubes in an empty glass at her. Maybe that’s why this rang so true to me.

Crawford is right. We’ll have to build our coalition with less than half of white women. The majority won’t be coaxed from their gilded cages, not even if you lock them in with a revolting pig like Trump.

Hate them or pity them, but for the love of God, don’t count on them. I’m embarrassed it took me until 2016 to fully figure that shit out.

132 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Our allies are the people who stand with us, not the people who look like us, regardless of what we look like.

  2. 2
    debbie says:

    There are a lot of women out there who like to be taken care of, regardless of the asshole who takes care of them. Don’t you think this is a generational thing that will fade away in the next decade or so? I’m not seeing many young women swooning to be cared for like a pet.

  3. 3
    TenguPhule says:

    Crawford is right. We’ll have to build our coalition with less than half of white women. The majority won’t be coaxed from their gilded cages, not even if you lock them in with a revolting pig like Trump.

    well that’s depressing.

  4. 4
    Quinerly says:

    White House chief of staff John Kelly, not President Trump, called Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request his resignation, CNN’s Laura Jarrett first reported and Bloomberg’s Chris Strohm confirmed.

  5. 5
    TenguPhule says:


    Our allies are the people who stand with us, not the people who look like us, regardless of what we look like.

    So we can’t count on your fellow cyborg sea monsters?

  6. 6
    khead says:

    I am too lazy to look for the post but I am pretty sure I said “It’s all up to white women now” some time ago.

    Also, fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice* – well – what the fuck am I supposed to do in 2020?

    * – Not all white women

  7. 7
    Lyrebird says:

    Reading my mind as usual.

    I was telling a fellow traveler today that it just hit me this past week:

    The majority of white women voting in North Dakota, Missouri, and many other states are women who voluntarily chose to marry men who think that VAWA and the Voting Rights Act are for throwing away not for protecting.

    It makes me ill to consider. Maybe that’s why I’m forty something and not married, but I have MANY MANY GOOD HUMANE AND RESPECTFUL MEN in my life, dads and honorary brothers and what all. And I choose not to live where people use “my woman” as anything other than satire.

    Just hafta focus on what this white woman (me) can do to use her privilege as leverage.

    ETA: there are communities where “my woman” can be said with respect. I mean the controlling way of saying it, as in “do you let your woman cut her hair short?”

  8. 8
    ruemara says:

    I’m not gonna lie, you face this as a black woman who is not connected to the Church and also not connected to our own brand of patriarchy. For many, the very idea that you don’t want to be a cosseted pet & servant is mindblowing. I could never reconcile my right to be free of mind & body with this level of sacrifice. We’re going to have to work around this demographic and the various other demos that simple can’t even match the black male vote of 85% for progressive candidates. But I do think there’s more of us, we just have to deprogram them out of inactivity and denial of responsibility.

    @debbie: Oh, honey. There are tons to replace the elder crop.This isn’t generational. This is cultural.

  9. 9
    R-Jud says:

    @debbie: I can’t really agree. I see this dynamic in myself and some of my cousins (I’m 39) as well as with my mother and her country-club sisters. And my niece, who’s 20, is dealing with it with her teenage stepsisters.

  10. 10
    Quinerly says:

    Glad for a Betty thread! A bit of a dust up with a 40 plus year old daughter of a friend. She is one of my small group of friends on the Book of Faces. The daughter is a transplant to Miami from St. Louis. Normally bright and in touch. I was appalled to see her post that Gillum would have won had HRC not gone to Florida to campaign for him. I had to Google to even find out about the late Oct campaign appearance. Did anyone in Florida hear or read about any backlash? Such a strange post by my friend’s daughter. Daughter is a Dem and supported HRC. Went in a long rant how the Cuban community hates HRC. I tried to explain to her that I doubted the older Cuban community would have ever supported Gillum in the first place. Crickets.

  11. 11
    The Moar You Know says:

    My mother gave up EVERYTHING to flee from it – and struggled in freedom- for the rest of her life.

    My mother is this woman. Took no shit, told my dad to fuck himself with a chainsaw, did it her way, made every last dime the hard way, carved a path through the world all her own. With two important differences:

    1. She’s still alive
    2. She is a die hard, crawl over broken glass, Trump supporter.

    Not as simple as the poster makes it sound.

  12. 12
    Mai Naem mobile says:

    I think some of this might be white women who belong to Evangelical megachurches. I’ve seen women who belong to these churches and in some ways it is kind of like a cult but it’s also part of their support system. This may be anecdotal but to me it seems like more women attend those churches then men.

  13. 13

    @Quinerly: Gen John Kelly is Gen Zia to T’s Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

  14. 14
    Yarrow says:

    It’s reinforced and even required by evangelical churches, where men are the head of the household and women must submit to their husbands.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m going to say it: it’s (at least partially) a class thing. For the most part, college-educated women aren’t interested in staying at home and shoring up the family’s status through their sons and husband. It’s something that less educated women tend to aspire to, because there’s not much else they can aspire to.

    And, yes, it’s also racism. If you believe so strongly in a hierarchical world that you’re willing to be subordinate, you’re usually only willing to do it on the understanding that there will be other people who are subordinate to you, namely black and brown people.

    That’s why these particular white women get so pissed off about any push for racial equality: they made a bargain, and now Those People are trying to step out of their proper place! How dare they!?!

  17. 17

    @Baud: Or share the same religious or linguistic heritage.

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    That’s because your mom is a racist. And I’m only saying it so bluntly because I’m pretty sure you already know.

  19. 19

    If women are not encouraged to develop identities of their own, if jobs supporting those identities are not available to them, then yes, of course, they will have to rely on their husbands and sons for their identities.

  20. 20
    ruemara says:

    @Quinerly: Blaming the official scapegoat is much easier on people

    @Mnemosyne: Ouch!

  21. 21
    Emma says:

    @The Moar You Know: I think there’s two strands running here. One is the woman described by Betty; and one is the woman motivated by fear and contempt of the other. Whoever the other is in her pantheon of mythic monsters.

  22. 22
    evodevo says:

    I work alongside three women who don’t see a problem , and am friends with a couple others. I don’t go on a rant about it, but SRSLY??? How could ANY woman not see what kind of person Cheeto is? Or ignore the rampant misogyny? It just boggles my mind …

  23. 23
    StringOnAStick says:

    My mom died this June, but this describes her to a T. She always worked outside the home, partially because she had an insatiable desire for material things, and because she really hated being at stay at home mom when she did that for 6 years; being a parent was fairly low on her list of things she cared about. About ten years ago she confided in me wistfully that she “had always thought he was really going to be something”, referring to my dad who apparently had not risen high enough or been rich enough to give her the wealth she thought she deserved (firmly middle class was not good enough).

    Now I get to talk to me dad soon, the ultra right winger. Here in our state of Colorado the new Governor is openly gay and super liberal, the state senate flipped to D and the state house stayed that way, an NRA super congressman was defeated by a guy running on gun control (Jason Crow), and the son of west African immigrants won the Congressional seat that our new Governor had vacated. My dad is also tied emotionally to Nevada, which tossed the odious Sen. Heller and elected a D Governor as well. Dad’s gonna be pissed, so I’ll wait a few days to call him!

  24. 24
    Emma says:

    @Quinerly:Some people will hate HRC up to and including the official celebration of what would have been her 500th birthday. She is now a myth,a Stephen King monster, and a legend, the lead icon in the conservative hate pantheon.

  25. 25
    The Moar You Know says:

    That’s because your mom is a racist. And I’m only saying it so bluntly because I’m pretty sure you already know.

    @Mnemosyne: Bingo. Extremely so. Uber-feminist, environmentalist, racist. She would have voted for Trump in her twenties same as she did in her seventies, because he was going to put the black and brown rapists in their place – preferably deported or dead.

  26. 26
    Quinerly says:

    @ruemara: I pretty much shut her down with “You are better than this, Erin.” Looks like she deleted the whole thread after that. Just so bizarre. Was wondering if it is something Bernie Bros types are pushing somewhere.

  27. 27
    TenguPhule says:


    How could ANY woman not see what kind of person Cheeto is? Or ignore the rampant misogyny?

    With enough dollars in front of them, they can pretend to be blind.

  28. 28
    Quinerly says:

    @Emma: The thing is she voted for HRC. Wasn’t a hater. Just so from left field.

  29. 29
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mnemosyne: Women used to go to college to get an “MRS degree”. But even by the time I went (to a fairly conservative campus), my impression was that that was fading out as a primary goal. It might have been the very nerdy circles I associated with, though.

  30. 30
    debbie says:


    My frame of reference stretches back further than yours, probably by decades, so I’ve seen more of a change than either of you. YMMV.

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m sorry to say that my (step)mother is also a knee-jerk racist. She was literally raised in a trailer park and was an adult before the Civil Rights Act was passed, so there’s not much that can be done if she doesn’t see the need to change. The best I can say about it is that she’s not publicly mean to people and that she never votes.

    Also, she doesn’t like Trump because his obvious toxic narcissism freaks her out, so we can at least agree to avoid politics when we talk.

  32. 32


    There are a lot of women out there who like to be taken care of, regardless of the asshole who takes care of them. Don’t you think this is a generational thing that will fade away in the next decade or so?

    I’m worried that it won’t. There are still a lot of people out there who teach their daughters that finding a man to take care of them should be their primary life goal. If they try to achieve success, it’s not for its own value but as a way of attracting a desirable mate. Even worse, that attitude is reinforced by all the ways the patriarchy works to keep women down. Why work twice as hard to get half the recognition when you can get the same benefits by marrying well?

  33. 33

    This analysis is too simplistic. My SIL is an MD, a pathologist by trade and she is a curious mix of progressive and conservative ideas. Politically she is quite liberal but a staunch conservative when it comes to social change.

    ETA: For example, she is totally against the Indian Supreme Court’s verdict that forced a temple that used to bar women of child bearing age from worshiping there to open its doors to everyone.

  34. 34
    Baud says:

    @Quinerly: Propaganda invades the brain like a worm.

  35. 35
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    Great thread. This highlights the main issue I have with the popular notion that we (white people) can collect our own via argumentation, shaming, or even estrangement: I have seen zero evidence that it works.

    Should we sever ties with Conservative members? Sure. I have, for my own benefit. I’m sure it would be trickier if we had kids. But I haven’t seen a whole lot of stories of this prompting any real change in the problematic family. That’s the problem, they’d rather lose their kids/grand-kids than step out of the comforts of White Supremacy and Patriarchy. I have no problem with someone saying “Fuck them, I’m never bringing my kids near them again” if that’s what they think is best, or even to punish the Deplorables but I think it’s a fantasy to think it’s going to change them into being better people.

    Should we try to be patient and understand/convince them? Maybe. But as anyone who has ever tried knows, this is an extremely long-term, time consuming thing with absolutely no guarantee that they will ever change their ways in even the slightest bit. I can see a good argument for testing the waters and then IF they seem open to change, learning, being better people, proceed. But most times you realize right away that it’s nothing but a serious waste of time…time you could be using to organize or fight the problem in other ways with real payoff.

  36. 36
    TenguPhule says:


    Politically she is quite liberal but a staunch conservative when it comes to social change.

    How does that even work?

  37. 37
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I went to college in the late 1980s, and my Republican father told me that I had better not waste his money by dropping out to get married. 😂

    I think some young women still do that, but it would be more at the religious schools or very conservative schools. I’m guessing that the families of most women who go to, say, BYU, assume they will at a minimum be engaged by the time they graduate.

  38. 38

    @TenguPhule: You would have to ask her.

    ETA: I gave an example above. Politically, she is anti-BJP.

  39. 39
    Schlemazel says:

    We have a very good friend who escaped from Cuba as a child in the 60s. He related how he caught heck from his mom for dating non-Cubans in high school. While in Gainesville at college he started dating a CUban girl. He knew that would make his mom happy so he called & told her. Her response? “Is she a white Cuban or a black Cuban?” He was mortified. But it highlighted to me the roll of race in the revolution and the Fla Cuban community support of todays GOP

  40. 40
    debbie says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Why work twice as hard to get half the recognition when you can get the same benefits by marrying well?

    Because you have the spend the rest of your life living with an asshole who, for all intents and purposes, owns you.

  41. 41
    magurakurin says:

    I told my wife that indictments are almost certain to come down for Don Jr. and maybe even Jared and Ivanka, too. She said, “Well, I just have one small request…I hope they have one for Melania, too.”

    She really hates Melania…hates her the most of all. She makes me proud.

    it was even better in the original Japanese

  42. 42

    @Mai Naem mobile:

    I’ve seen women who belong to these churches and in some ways it is kind of like a cult but it’s also part of their support system.

    That’s a big part of the way cults work. They cut members off from people outside the cult so that the cult is their only support system. When the only people you have to talk to for support are other cult members, it makes it very hard to break out.

  43. 43
    bemused says:


    Always the chickenshit, get others to do his dirty work.

  44. 44

    @Quinerly: Trump can’t fire people, it was THE ONE THING he was supposed to be good at.

  45. 45
    eemom says:


    This analysis is too simplistic.

    As is any analysis that categorizes and boxes people based on their membership in a particular demographic.

  46. 46
    lamh36 says:

    @Mnemosyne: and there is some of the problem…not enough folks will even admit…that yeah…they sit around the Thanksgiving or holiday table with people who are in fact low bigots, or straight racist.

  47. 47
    eemom says:


    Why does she hate Melania more than the rest?

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Uncle Ebeneezer:

    Grandkids can actually be a way to reach people who are not consumed with racial hatred but, as you said, it’s a long-term project and the parents of said grandkids have to monitor the situation closely.

    My mom now has a mixed-race great-grandson, which seems like simple justice to me. And he’s a cutie pie, too, so she’s having a hard time resisting him despite her conditioning.

  49. 49
    Martin says:

    The age breakdown of those women would be instructive. My mom is 72 and she did have limited affordances. It’s not that she’s repelled by freedom, it’s that it’s come too late for her. She needed it in the 60s, and while she had more options than her mom, she didn’t have many. She’s made do with the system that was carved out for her, and she pushed some bounds, but when she was 21 she had me to look out for, which caused her to go along for the greater good.

    But my mom won’t be a voter for that much longer. My wife is 50 and had more options. Among those options was graduate school, which is why education correlates to Dem/Rep voting, because it also correlates to age. My mom got her BA the year before me. She stopped halfway through her degree to be a mom, and resumed it when she felt she had the bandwidth. My wife was able to get her MA by the time she was 23.

    And my mom always admired her mother in law. My grandmother was the ‘run with the wolves’ type. But she was afforded something very special. In 1942 she became a lieutenant in the Army, thanks to being an RN. The US needed her so desperately that we gave her power that would not be afforded to many others. Toss a purple heart on top after the ship she was evacuating troops to came under fire, putting her in the hospital for 8 months, and she got the kind of respect that even a lot of white men don’t get. Until the day she died, she took great pleasure in visiting the military bases, flashing her ID, and receiving her salutes and ‘yes ma’ams’. My mom a generation later had no realistic hope of getting that kind of respect.

    My grandmother was a flaming liberal, my mom a grudging conservative. My grandmother dropped into that tiny window of opportunity that gave her freedom, my mom simply never found it. But my grandmother’s life was all kinds of difficult. She loved it, but holy shit did she have scar tissue from it – including giving up her daughter for adoption to her sister and pretending she wasn’t her mom for decades, against her will. My mom’s life wasn’t without its challenges, but she saw the path to predictability and safety and followed it.

    I suspect that with each successive generation the box that white patriarchy has put women in has gotten larger, and with it the dynamics above fade. How much of the shift of women voters from the GOP is women choosing a different tribe, and how much of it is my mom’s generation dying and being replaced by my daughter’s?

  50. 50
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @Mai Naem mobile:
    Absolutely. I think the analysis above takes religion out of the picture, and that is a mistake. Die-hard conservatives are usually very religious. And the very religious are often women. They are worried about conservative Christianity being undermined in America. They are afraid that will change the culture. They are afraid that as society changes (becomes more accepting of gay marriage, etc), that people that strictly adhere to their interpretation of Christian teaching will be discriminated against, that they will be fired from their jobs for being homophobic, transphobic, opposed to birth control, etc. So, appointing hard-core conservative Christian judges is their main priority, above all else.

  51. 51
    lamh36 says:

    Follow Follow @GeorgiaDemocrat
    BREAKING FROM THE @AP: A spokeswoman in Kemp’s office, who has also worked on his campaign, says there are 22,000 provisional ballots. She has shared the county breakdown with only one candidate — Kemp — but has not shared it with the media or the public. #CantTrustKemp #gapol

    4:26 PM – 7 Nov 2018


    This is why I am glas that Stacey Abrams is continuing to fight!

    The media is so busy salivating over Chump dumping Sessions…notice the loss of the House is OFF the front pages…idiots

  52. 52

    I’m inclined to just keep away from people who make me unhappy rather than try to change them for the good of all. Frankly, I’ve never had much success in deliberately changing anyone. I think when you spend long amounts of time together, you probably affect one another, but usually without thinking about it.

    I once told my husband that being an old white person was embarrassing sometimes, and he said I should try being an old white man, so there’s that.

  53. 53
    magurakurin says:

    @Quinerly: So, does that mean Kelly will be part of the coup when Trump tries to shut down Mueller?

    Truth is, Trump is almost certainly a day late and a dollar short on this here. Mueller has sealed indictments stacked up like bunker busters in the bomb rack. And probably more than one or two dead man switches in place as well.

  54. 54
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah I know some people who’ve become much more tolerant and racially-aware because of their children marrying people-of-color, but most of them were fairly liberal to begin with.

  55. 55
    Brachiator says:

    Pew research has a good study on validated voters. This tries to adjust exit polls for more accurate numbers of voters. The problems with white women remain.

    A commenter here recently noted another study suggesting that the issue is with white evangelicals, but I could not find the study itself or the background data.

    Married white women and non college educated white women seem to be the group most likely to cling to the GOP.

  56. 56
    magurakurin says:

    @lamh36: And it looks like Nelson is calling for a recount in Florida. I wonder if Gillum will unconcede and ask for a recount as well?

  57. 57
    Miss Bianca says:

    Yeah, I agree, Betty. That tweet series pretty much sums it up for me. For years I figured that feminism would get us to the point where a majority of white women might seek solidarity with their sisters of other races, colors and creeds over solidarity with their man, or their status, or some other thing that justifies their voting for GOP monsters. But I don’t think so anymore. Frankly, I’ve given up expecting most white people to get woke. Nahgonnahappen, at least not in my lifetime. because most of us do, or would, choose white patriarchal tribalism uber alles.

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:


    I gave an example above. Politically, she is anti-BJP.

    So she supports the caste system but isn’t on board the whole sacred cow cult?

    /genuinely curious

  59. 59
    Martin says:


    This analysis is too simplistic.

    Certainly it is. All analysis is. An accurate model of women voters in the US has 110 million variables. We could, in theory describe it, but nobody could understand it.

    Your goal here is to hit the first order estimates. What’s the broadest overarching explanation for the behavior you see, appreciating that it may be at best half right, but at least you got half! The other half comes from second order effects, and on downward. How far down the analysis tree do you need to go to reach Ivanka or Clarence Thomas? Probably pretty far. But that doesn’t mean the first order is wrong, it just means that it’s incomplete, which of course it is. All models are.

  60. 60
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Is she a white woman? I ask because I’ve observed that immigrants and 1st and 2nd generation Americans from families with strong ties to other cultures can have their own sets of peculiar political pathologies. They’re a worthy topic of discussion in their own right, but not one I feel qualified to analyze.

  61. 61
    Lapassionara says:

    I was shocked to see that Trump’s approval rating here in Missouri is over 50%. So here, the election was not so much about him. There are also women who have been lifelong members of the Republican Party, who still think John Danforth is representative of the Republicans. They are living in the past, but they won’t see the truth. They still think R’s are the party of fiscal responsibility. Deluded, but there it is.

  62. 62
    TenguPhule says:


    does that mean Kelly will be part of the coup when Trump tries to shut down Mueller?

    Not unless he plans on being the new tyrant at the helm.

    Kelly has no good intentions and left his honor back with the military. I’m pegging him as the Starscream in the room.

  63. 63
    ruemara says:

    @magurakurin: Uhhhh, sheesh. 7 months of work on my duolingo and I can’t recall a damned character.

    @Schlemazel: Non-black POC anti-blackness is a real obstacle. That “Other” category? Look at that number coming out for conservatives. I sat at a table with former interned Japanese people who were pro-Trump because why won’t those black people stop rioting and destroying buildings and start respecting cops? It’s disheartening. Similar color biases exist for Native Americans, Latinx, you name it. Everyone wants to recognize the struggles their people have been through, but uniting with black people is a real bridge too far.

  64. 64
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Mnemosyne: In 1968 I was the first member of my family to go to college. My father said something similar. “If you’re going to get that degree you’d damn well better use it.”

  65. 65
    cain says:


    @debbie: Oh, honey. There are tons to replace the elder crop.This isn’t generational. This is cultural.

    This. It totally is. I’ve watched my grandmother do it. I know this kind of thing gets passed on from mother to daughter.

  66. 66
    TenguPhule says:


    Propaganda invades the brain like a worm.


  67. 67
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:


    So, does that mean Kelly will be part of the coup when Trump tries to shut down Mueller?

    Just another example that Trump’s to much of a coward to directly confront someone.

    I wonder if this means Trump scapegoated Sesssions for this?

    Considering Sessions comes across as a viscous little shit himself will he look for revenge up on Trump for the public humiliation?

  68. 68
    tobie says:

    Thanks, BC, for posting this thread. I need to chew on it some. Sexism and the reactions to powerful women were very much on my mind in the final days of the campaign and in rather uncomfortable ways. At some point it dawned on me that HRC and Pelosi play the role of America’s punching bag or abused spouse. Your post made me wonder, though, if this isn’t the contempt that any woman who shirks privilege, expects to be taken seriously, and is unapologetic about herself, her power, and her ambitions would face. And the contempt may be even stronger coming from white women who chose safety and security than from men. I’m too drained to pursue this right now but it’s an interesting question. In the meantime I’ve heard that MoveOn has called for its nationwide “Nobody is above the law” protests tomorrow at 5 pm local time. I guess I’ll have to make my sign tonight.

  69. 69
    Martin says:

    @Miss Bianca: I think it’ll happen, but the generation it happens with doesn’t have any real political power yet. There is a real shift in the Democratic coalition. It’s not yet strong enough to win at the national level, but it’s strong enough to change how the Democratic party works. So long as we don’t fuck things up in the next decade, I think you’ll see it.

  70. 70
    Martin says:

    @Quinerly: Just means that Trump didn’t want to hold the conversation because he wouldn’t be able to understand what Col. Sanders was saying.

  71. 71
    magurakurin says:


    Not unless he plans on being the new tyrant at the helm.

    That is always how I imagine what Kelly sees himself as. He thinks he’s a modern day Caesar waiting to seize control from the final decadence of the Republic as manifested in Trump. He’ll take the American Empire to the next level…in his mind, of course. I don’t think he’s actually capable of it.

  72. 72
    Mnemosyne says:


    If my mom was a full-out white supremacist, I probably wouldn’t be able to have a relationship with her at all, sad to say. Fortunately, she’s more of a garden-variety daily racist who bitches about who’s in TV commercials until I glare at her and that’s about it.

    The other thing is, she is at heart a kind person, so when she has frequent interactions with someone of another race or culture, she pretty easily switches to “X is one of the good ones,” which makes X’s life easier, at least, even if it means my mom still fears X’s whole group as an abstract whole.

    Example: when my brother first got sick in Florida, she was visibly uncomfortable with the Black and Latino employees at the hotel we were staying at. By the end of those 4 weeks, she actually sought out some of the employees the day my brother died to tell them because she had been confiding in them.

    But, like I said, she doesn’t vote and never has, so it’s a lot easier for me to just accept what she is and shut her down if she tries to say racist crap to me. If she actually voted for Trump, that would have been a whole other problem.

  73. 73
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Daddy needs a drink
    To calm down his badness
    To execute his gladness
    On the fullness of his cup

    Been there, done that.

  74. 74
    JaneE says:

    What is especially sad to me is that white women don’t have to depend on their men. For all that the GOP talks about the “welfare mentality” it is the white women like your step-mother who are really into the welfare mentality. They think they can’t survive without their husbands. They are totally dependent on their men, and would have to take more responsibility for their own lives if they were actually on assistance.

  75. 75
    cokane says:

    interesting read, thanks for sharing. i think it is indicative that if half of white women won’t break from the republicans during the era of trump, then yeah, nothing is going to shake them loose. Persuade the persuadable and forget the rest, is a time-tested campaigning strategy

  76. 76
    magurakurin says:

    @ruemara: I all for uniting with black women, that’s for sure. They have shown, by far, the best sense in voting of any group of voters. Nailed it, every single time.

  77. 77
    TenguPhule says:


    So long as we don’t fuck things up in the next decade, I think you’ll see it.

    Hope springs eternal.

  78. 78
    Martin says:

    @ruemara: And you’ve got the Kanye’s of the world to deal with as well.

    That stunt left about 70 million white people musing to themselves ‘why can’t other black people be like Kanye?’

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:

    It’s also VERY regional. My mother-in-law is a lifelong Catholic who has only a high school education, but she’s lived in Cook County (IL) her whole life, so she’s a lifelong Democrat. If she had the same background in Texas, she’d probably be a Trump voter.

  80. 80
    ruemara says:

    @Martin: I need to find the source of telling young people of the responsibility of voting as “vote-shaming” & rebranding the civil rights struggle as “they died so you could choose whether or not to vote”. I need to slap people.

  81. 81
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Martin: I hope you’re right, but I ain’t holding my breath. Sexism and racism are a powerful one-two even among the younger generation of white women. Look at how many of them among Democrats or leaning-Ds broke for Bernie Sanders over HRC, for example. I endured more than one lecture from some smug 20-30 somethings that being for Bernie and rejecting HRC proved that feminism had won and that it was more feminist not to feel like they had to “vote for the woman” and Bernie marched with MLK so that made him more of a race hero than John Lewis!

    Against such willful self-delusion the goddesses themselves strive in vain.

  82. 82
    lamh36 says:

    @Mnemosyne: true, except…I”m sure you won’t be too surprised at how many racist compartmentalize their racism into “good nigra’s I know” and “the rest”…

    There was an article I read maybe a few weeks ago, I think about some Nazi guy or maybe some racist white surpremacist, who had a Black GF and children…and yet he was active in his white pride group.

    “Good Blacks” vs “those Blacks”

    As an AA female, who has ususally worked in a less than diverse lab or two, I am VERY aware that the coworker who laughs and smiles in my face…or smiles at my nieces and nephews, see me as “the Good Black” but when they talk about folks from the news or say the more “urban” areas of NOLA…the tone is entirely one of “those bad Blacks”.

  83. 83
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @tobie: Bad link. Internal error (502)

  84. 84
    davebo says:

    @lamh36: Everyone has those black friends. It proves there’s not a racist bone in their bodies.

    Working with a lot of African Americans who are on government benefits in Louisiana lately has really opened up my eyes. Who knew some would be great people and some not so much? It’s almost like.. they’re people.

  85. 85
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @Mnemosyne: Absolutely true.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I have a weird theory that immigrants to the US often end up as racists because they don’t have the filters that those of us who grew up here have erected to ignore the constant racist messages being flung at us by the media. They think all of it is true because they keep seeing it over and over and over again in multiple places. 🤔 It’s like an in-vivo version of the AI ‘bot that became virulently racist after being exposed to the internet for a week.

  87. 87
    khead says:

    Hate them or pity them, but for the love of God, don’t count on them. I’m embarrassed it took me until 2016 to fully figure that shit out.

    Just wanted to remind folks of the key takeaway here.

  88. 88
    tobie says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Thanks for pointing this out. Here’s what Ben Wikler has up on Twitter:

    Follow Follow @benwikler
    BREAKING: The Nobody Is Above the Law network is calling for rapid-response protests at 5 PM local time on Thu, Nov 8 in response to Trump’s moving oversight of the Mueller investigation in the hands of a lackey who has publicly strategized about how to stifle the investigation.

    If you google “MoveOn + Nobody Is Above the Law,” you get to the site where you can look up the protest nearest to you.

  89. 89
    Mary G says:

    There is a lot of truth in that thread based on my mother. She refused to marry the boy down the street my grandfather chose for her when she was 16, got a job paying 40 cents an hour at a department store, and put herself through college. After my dad died and left us penniless, she ruthlessly schemed and cheated to buy the house I own now.

    Almost all of her married friends ghosted after my dad died. There were of course a couple of notable exceptions, liberal and Democrats, but once she was no longer a member of the married white women who don’t work club, she was ignored by them. Her crew consisted of widows and divorcees. It’s a weird dynamic, but it is still in effect today in conservative circles. Women have much higher status if they’re married.

  90. 90
    Central Planning says:


    ETA: there are communities where “my woman” can be said with respect. I mean the controlling way of saying it, as in “do you let your woman cut her hair short?”

    I’m not part of that kind of community, but my response might be “I don’t know about you, but in my house I wear whatever pants my woman tells me to” or anything else denying any ownership or control of the person I married, or the children we spawned.

    When my daughter got her hair cut short, many people asked if I let her do that. I would always ask them why I should care what her hair looks like. It’s not like it won’t grow back if she doesn’t like it.

  91. 91
    Martin says:


    Fortunately, she’s more of a garden-variety daily racist who bitches about who’s in TV commercials until I glare at her and that’s about it.

    Mine is as well, but she gets more than a glare out of me. I’m not trying to make her feel bad, but breaking cultural habits like that is just a matter of putting some work in, so the ‘but that’s how I was raised’ and other excuses are just laziness. Every person being discriminated against was explicitly not afforded that same excuse, so I don’t see how white and old people continually get a pass as that.

  92. 92
    CaseyL says:

    Very interesting analysis, and rings true to me.

    Not only does the analysis work to explain pro-Trump/Pro-GOP women, it can explain entire countries.

    China, for example: after Tienamen Square, the Chines government made an implicit bargain with its citizens: they could have economic advancement as long as they were loyal to the system. China is a fairly prosperous country, and most citizens “repay” that by self-policing themselves and their communities for political correctness.

  93. 93
    SFBayAreaGal says:

    You all should follow some of the black women on Instagram and Patreon. They have been saying this for years. They don’t trust white women to do the right thing because that means us white women will have to give up those table morsels that are thrown our way.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:


    Oh, that’s absolutely something all racists do, so it’s not a super mitigating factor. I just don’t think she would actively or maliciously harm someone of another race. It’s not much to cling to, but it’s all I have. She’s been my mother for over 30 years at this point.

  95. 95
    lamh36 says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Exactly, I have a large close family, but their is a family member or two, who I just REFUSE to interact with. We could be in the same room full of family, but other than cordial hello’s/goodbyes, we dont’ get along.

    Like I said, you can’t choose your birth family, but you can CERTAINLY choose who you spend your time around as an adult

  96. 96
    khead says:


    See, also, The Root.

  97. 97
    ET says:

    This woman’s step mother and stepmother is my stepmother. She desperately needs security and a man to tell her how because she has no confidence and is really conflicted about women and them having their own agency. On the one hand she doesn’t understand why her daughter and step daughter aren’t married with families but on the other hand is proud that we are independent women.

  98. 98
    Van Buren says:

    @Mnemosyne: Similar to my mom, who spends hours every day knitting caps for infants in the NICU, and when she’s not doing that, she’s helping vet’s widows and cancer patients.
    Then she’ll turn around and say that the bank keeps hiring “black people who just don’t understand customer service”

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:


    It’s more that a glare is all it takes now to get her to shut up, because we’ve already had the arguments and she knows I’ll walk out of the room if she keeps whining.

  100. 100
    Martin says:

    @Central Planning: I give a very impatient ‘people are not property’. That shit drives me crazy.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Van Buren:

    Exactly. As I said, my only real consolation is that at least she doesn’t vote so she’s not adding to the damage.

  102. 102
    Pogonip says:

    @Quinerly: Which, if either, of you speaks Spanish? Just nosy. 😊

  103. 103
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:


    Your post made me wonder, though, if this isn’t the contempt that any woman who shirks privilege, expects to be taken seriously, and is unapologetic about herself, her power, and her ambitions would face

    Other way arround, envy – a women with a successful career is a rebuke to these housewives. It’s like successful minorities and white trash, if a black guy with the outrageous, almost comical name “Barrack Obama” can be president of the US then what’s Bobby Joe Smith excuse for not getting stable employment?

    Not to mention, it’s been my experience housewives are pretty damn stupid people so it goes to follow they would relate to Trump.

  104. 104

    @magurakurin: If it’s within the margin, it doesn’t actually matter whether Gillum calls for one; it’s automatic unless he specifically asks for there not to be one. It sounded like the margin was already approaching recount territory from absentee ballots when CBS Miami reported on it ninety minutes ago (warning: auto-play video); Gillum needed a fewer than 500-vote swing. If the margin is less than 0.5%, there’s a machine recount; less than 0.25% and you get a hand recount.

    I strongly doubt FSM actually loves us enough for DeRacist and Voldemort to be belatedly unseated, but if any state pulls a La La Land with two different high-profile races, it’s gonna be Florida. And after 2000, it sure would be poetic if it happened, even though it would mean Florida elections being a nationwide punchline for the rest of my life (small price to pay, honestly). Not holding my breath, though; it’s a long shot.

    In either case, we should be loud and clear about this: voter suppression gave Kemp several percentage points in GA, and it very likely has done the same for Voldemort and DeRacist here. These races were rigged.

  105. 105
    zhena gogolia says:

    I just want to thank this community for helping me get through the horrors of the last two years in general and the anxiety of last night in particular. I didn’t consult any other news source.

  106. 106

    As I’ve been telling people since 2016, a lot of white women identify as white first and women second.

  107. 107
    stibbert says:

    I’m a pollworker, sometimes folks will ask for help on our touchscreen voting machines. Yesterday, 5 elderly (white) women had questions – the 1st 4 asked me, “How do I vote straight Dem?”

  108. 108
    Lymie says:

    @The Moar You Know: I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of being an uber feminist and a racist. The level of analysis and self reflection doesn’t compute!! I believe you, it’s just jamming my circuits.

  109. 109
    Central Planning says:

    @Martin: My current pet peeve is people who put the pictures of guns along with their daughters and some comment about whom she will date. So you don’t trust your daughter’s judgement or ability to make good choices? WTF?

  110. 110
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: This is rhe constant message they get from their preachers and televangelists. See, for example, videos from Jim Bakker show on youtube

  111. 111
    FelonyGovt says:

    I feel Crawford’s analysis misses something in the character of these white female Trump supporters. They are touchy and aggrieved and bitter. The few I still have any contact with are howling about not getting any “respect” while simultaneously vilifying the “Left”. It’s a toxic brew and I don’t think the status-y housewife narrative explains all of it.

  112. 112
    oldster says:

    Betty, the dynamic that Martha Crawford describes is absolutely a fact of life.

    Luckily, Trump is helping to change it. I’m serious.

    The attraction of the gilded cage depends on patriarchy of a particular sort: the kind that hides the patriarchy behind a veil of chivalry. And Trump is stripping away that veil of chivalry. He is such a loathsome, crass, filthy exploiter, that he reveals what patriarchal men really think about women.

    He is showing the ugly reality of patriarchy behind the pretty trappings of the gilded cage. And it is helping a lot of women to wake up.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:


    It’s because they believe in hierarchy and want to cling to their current place in it. They’re willing to be subordinate to white men as long as the side benefit is that white women are ranked above people of color of both genders.

    Now all of Those People are trying to upend the hierarchy and make everyone equal, and those white women are fighting tooth and nail to maintain their position as second-class citizens, because it’s better than having to be equals with clearly inferior people.


    Sadly, a lot of American suffragettes of the early 20th century were deeply racist. Their biggest complaint was that Black and immigrant men were allowed to vote while women of the superior white race were denied the vote.

    It wasn’t all of them, but there are some pretty embarrassing arguments out there about why white women specifically shouldn’t be denied the right to vote.

  114. 114
    TenguPhule says:

    @Central Planning:

    My current pet peeve is people who put the pictures of guns along with their daughters and some comment about whom she will date. So you don’t trust your daughter’s judgement or ability to make good choices? WTF?

    They, like Trump, want to screw their own daughters.

  115. 115
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Mnemosyne: Not sure a committed Catholic her age would have had it very easy in TX.

  116. 116
    Quinerly says:

    @Pogonip: basically neither.

  117. 117
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Mnemosyne: 2 examples 1)male student from Palestine. In conversations with him, I learned he picked up his negative view of blacks from his white fellow male students. 2)SIL from China. She told me a couple of stories about her brief encounters with black women. She viewed every aspect of those encounters through a negative lens she’d picked up from the OK white culture she’s been living in during the last 30 or so years.

  118. 118
    drdavechemist says:

    I see how this explains the thought process of such women. I wish I could explain to them that the safety they are accepting in their gilded cages only holds up until someone with higher status than their protector comes along. If some entitled teenager decides to lock her in a bedroom and grope her, or if some boss decides she can’t keep her job unless she watches him masturbate, or if some celebrity huckster feels like she will let him grab her by the pu$$y, and her protector doesn’t have enough status to help her fight back (assuming she is brave enough to try), then that safety was only an illusion. It’s a bargain with the devil, and Satan is never above cheating.

  119. 119
    Emma says:

    @Quinerly: But that’s what happens with people like HRC. She’s a palimpsest now — everyone sees what they want to see. Whether they vote for her or not.

  120. 120
    hellslittlestangel says:

    The patriarchy has turned an incredible number of women into misogynists. They’ve had thousands of years to perfect their craft.

  121. 121
    Olivia says:

    I have always known those women and why they vote the way they do but I would never have been able to explain it so well.

  122. 122
    Kent says:

    I think you folks are overthinking some of this. I have a ton of white working class church going relatives in PA, IN, and MI who habitually vote GOP for no particular reason other than it is their tribe. There is no particular policy objective. It’s the same reason the PA family likes the Steelers. There is religion. There is some whiff of racism to the extent that they are aware that the urban and diverse Dems are not their tribe. And they are surrounded by Fox News and Paul Harvey and a bunch of evangelical news magazines that they get monthly or weekly. These are not cosseted women. They drive school buses and work as LPNs and wait tables and milk cows. Politics is just not something they spend much time at all thinking about.

    By contrast the more educated women in my extended family mostly live on the coasts and have white collar jobs and are all very Dem.

    It’s tribal more than anything else.

  123. 123
    sukabi says:

    That pretty much sums up every flavor of patriarchy the world over, the older women become the ‘enforcers’ of the status quo, it makes their lives easier.

  124. 124
    reid says:

    In good news, it looks like Xochitl Torres Small actually won the southern district in New Mexico, which has traditionally been red. This is contra all reporting so far; they finished counting a ton of absentee ballots.

  125. 125

    @TenguPhule: The temple issue has more to do with misogyny and patriarchy than the caste system.

  126. 126
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    I’m gonna stick my neck out here and say that exit polls are notoriously, incredibly inaccurate and that i’m betting that less than half of all white women voted R today. Maybe not much over 50%, but definitely not half.

    I think we had a lot of conversions, plus a ton of newly registered/reactivated white women who finally said, after this horrible year for women and people of color and children in cages that enough was enough and they got their asses to the polls this year to vote against Trump and the Republicans.

    Good money on it.

  127. 127
    Ruckus says:

    Cared for like a pet.
    Nice. And true. I’ve seen this often enough, women who have been led down the path of not being able to believe in themselves, not being able to care for themselves, who would give up basically all self identity for that safety. I do think the point that a lot fewer younger women would put up with this or ask for it is true.

  128. 128
    Original Lee says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Still a thing at conservative colleges. The daughter of a friend is stressed because of the whole “ring by spring” culture at her school, since her boyfriend is not at her school and doesn’t seem to be interested in a commitment in the foreseeable future. She went to seven weddings last summer from her friend group who graduated in the spring; she and her boyfriend are the only couple in her friend group who are not engaged. The rest of her friends are coordinating wedding dates so they can all go to each others’ ceremonies.

  129. 129
    Citizen Alan says:

    Some people have touched on this, but I really would like to know the percentage of white women who are not Evangelicals that voted GOP. I think people really are underestimating the impact of the GOP essentially having its own state religion that adherents typically join around the age of 7 or 8 and stay a part of for the rest of their lives.

  130. 130
    Ruckus says:


    Because you have the spend the rest of your life living with an asshole who, for all intents and purposes, owns you.


  131. 131
    LosGatosCA says:

    With key word substitution and slight text modification this would serve as an excellent guide as to why Southern workers are so viscerally uncomfortable at least and actively hostile to unions, at worst.

    The real psychic risks organizers are asking Southern workers to take in joining the union and break with the tribe outweigh the potential material rewards and and the zero-value they place on self-determination.

    Very good perspective on why people in precarious, dependent positions by birth, by circumstance, or by choice are almost entirely risk averse.

  132. 132

    @Citizen Alan: I haven’t seen the stats for this election specifically, but there’s usually a massive divide. IIRC, white non-Evangelicals tend to vote closer to the way people of colour (including Evangelicals of colour) and members of other minority groups vote. It wasn’t quite as stark as the divide between Jewish people, specifically, and other people counted as white non-Hispanic by the census (IIRC, we’re the most solidly Democratic bloc aside from African-Americans, or at least close), but it was still remarkable. I would be surprised if the white Evangelical/white non-Evangelical divide hasn’t held up this election, or even accelerated, but I suspect it’s probably too early for reliable demographic voting tallies to exist yet.

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