Hillary Clinton has a white man problem, and I don’t mean the Vermont senator she can’t seem to shake as a primary opponent.
Clinton may be all but mathematically certain to topple Bernie Sanders in the race to become the Democratic presidential nominee, but her loss last night in West Virginia spells big trouble for her far beyond July’s convention.
There is a battle of the sexes going on among the nation’s electorate, and Clinton seems to be losing: As much as women dislike Donald Trump, men dislike Clinton more.
“The gender gap is massive and currently benefits Trump,” said Quinnipiac University pollster Peter A. Brown, citing a poll released yesterday that showed Clinton and Trump in a virtual dead heat in three crucial swing states — Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
But a closer look at those numbers paints a potentially devastating picture for Clinton.
Clinton holds a 19-point lead among women in Pennsylvania, but Trump holds 21-point advantage among men. In Ohio, Clinton is up 7 points among women, but loses men by 15 points. In Florida, Clinton’s 15-point lead with women is essentially wiped out by Trump’s 15-point lead with men.
That is a big reason why Clinton devoted more than half her speech at a Louisville, Ky., campaign rally yesterday on what she called her top focus: “good jobs, rising incomes and rebuilding the middle class” — the issues that working-class white male voters have cited as a top concern.
She did her best to paint a picture of the good ol’ days — the 1990s when she and Bill Clinton were in the White House, the economy boomed and jobs grew. And she pointed out that it wasn’t just minority workers who benefited.
“Everybody did better,” Clinton stressed. Translation: white men, too.
“That’s the way it’s supposed to be in America,” she said. “That’s how I was raised. You do your part, you work hard, you get ahead.”
Making voters believe is critical for her to beat Trump, whose populist message has drawn flocks of working-class men, particularly in industrial regions like West Virginia. Yesterday, a third of the state’s Democratic primary voters said they will vote for Trump in November, according to an exit poll by The Associated Press.
But the cheering supporters who could be seen standing behind Clinton at her Louisville rally — a sea of smiling faces, almost all women, mostly women of color — won’t be enough if she can’t also get white men to jump and say “I’m with her.”
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