Tina Fey recently took aim at university-educated white women who supported Donald Trump.
“A lot of this election was turned by white, college-educated women who now would like to forget about this election and go back to watching HGTV,” the actress and comedian said during a star-studded Facebook Live fundraiser for the American Civil Liberties Union. “You can’t look away because it doesn’t affect you this minute, but it’s going to affect you eventually.”
Fey made the comments during a conversation that centred largely on women’s reproductive rights. She sat down with Donna Lieberman, executive director of the ACLU in New York, and Louise Melling, the organization’s deputy legal director, during an interview segment of Friday’s four-hour-long telethon fundraiser.
At the end of the brief interview, Fey made one final plea:
“I personally would like to make my own pledge to college-educated white women to not look away, not pretend that things that are happening now won’t eventually affect me if we don’t put a stop to it,” she said.
Exit polls show that Hillary Clinton’s weakness among white women voters was one of the reasons she lost the presidency.
The Clinton campaign knew that she needed white women — specifically the university educated — to win the presidency. (Sixty-one percent of white women without a university degree supported Trump, while only 34 percent voted for Clinton, according to The Post’s exit polling.)
“Everything’s about swing voters,” a senior Clinton campaign official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss campaign strategy, told The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker. “We know that white suburban women are critical for both parties . . . and the lowest hanging fruit for expansion among that group is more likely to be university-educated white women.”
But while Clinton had the support of the majority of women with university education, she performed more poorly than Barack Obama did in 2008, John F. Kerry in 2004, Al Gore in 2000 and Bill Clinton in 1996.
To put some context in Fey’s comments, white women with university degrees have not always favoured Democrats or Republicans during presidential elections.
They supported Hillary Clinton last year, Obama in 2008, Gore in 2000, and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. But they have also supported Republican candidates: Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984, George H.W. Bush in 1988, George W. Bush in 2004 and Mitt Romney in 2012.
White women, university educated or not, also have largely supported Republican presidential candidates since Richard Nixon. In 2012, for instance, 56 percent of white women voted for Romney, while 42 percent supported Obama. The only exceptions were 1992 and 1996, the two times Bill Clinton won the presidency.
Another explanation: Women, particularly white women, simply were not enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton despite her historic bid to be the first female American president.
One voter in particular, Maya Chenevert, a community university student from Columbus, Ohio, told The Post’ Karen Tumulty that she would love to see a female president, but she doesn’t think Clinton — with all her political baggage — is the right woman for the job.
Network exit polls showed that 59 percent of white women had an unfavourable view of Clinton. Even higher, 65 percent, think she’s dishonest.
Susan Kolod, a New York psychologist, has another theory about why women largely supported Trump instead of the first female presidential nominee: The country is not quite ready to see a female president.
“It may go back to stereotypical gender roles,” Kolod told The Post’s Lisa Bonos. “Even though things have changed a lot, most people have a mother and father — and their father is seen as the more powerful person. … He’s the one who’s going to make the decisions.”
Friday’s telethon fundraiser isn’t the first time Fey spoke publicly about the election.
In December, while accepting an award during the Hollywood Reporter’’s Women in Entertainment breakfast, she joked about why she thinks Clinton lost.
“But I have to say, I think the real reason that Hillary lost — and it’s the thing that people are afraid to talk about: not enough celebrity music videos urging people to vote… I just think if there had been, like, one more funny rap, or like, another “Hamilton” parody, or something,” Fey said.
She also has not held back in her criticism of the president. She said in an interview with David Letterman in December that the country “is in a bit of a throwback moment” following Trump’s victory.
“I definitely came out of last month feeling misogyny is as much more real than two years ago. But the thing I worry about [more] than actual human interaction is the Internet. Because that’s just despicable: people just being able to be awful at each other without having to be in the same room,” she said. “It’s metastasising now, thanks to our glorious president-elect who can’t muster the dignity of a seventh-grader.”
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