Staff Columnist

Maybe men should sit this one out

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event, Tuesday, July 14, 202
Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event, Tuesday, July 14, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Never mind the gender “gap.” In Iowa, it’s a chasm.

A recent Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden tied at 47 percent apiece.

But Biden leads among women surveyed by 20 percentage points. Trump leads among men by 21. And the poll was taken before the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a sad development that leaves hard-fought consititutional gains for women and others in jeopardy.

But what’s up fellas? Is it because this president came with a cool hat? Boat parades?

The internet, as you might imagine, is chock full of analysis on this widening gap. Men have been trending more Republican for years, a pace accelerated in 2016, while women are trending more Democratic. Women also are more likely to vote than men.

Maybe it’s the Trump economy. A Financial Times poll released in February found that 48 percent of white men report they’re better off financially under Trump. But only 33 percent of white women said the same. Black and Latino respondents were much more likely to say their financial situation has worsened under Trump.

And maybe it’s something else. Two researchers, Eric Knowles and Sarah DiMuccio of New York University, collected web search data on topics such as “erectile dysfunction,” “hair loss,” “testosterone” and surveyed 300 men on whether they had or would ever search those topics. They found support for Trump in 2016 was higher in areas of the country that had more searches for “erectile dysfunction.”

Draw your own conclusions.

But why, after we’ve seen this train wreck president in action, are men still clinging to Trump? Puzzled, I asked a very close female associate who did not want to be dragged into this.

For one thing, the end of “political correctness” and the beginning of a golden era of “locker room talk” promised by Trump did not materialize. Quite the opposite, the election of a president who bragged of sexual assault sparked the #MeToo movement and a reckoning for men from the top down. It shook up male-dominated power structures and held men accountable for horrid behavior.

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Women, who have faced unfair treatment, harassment and oppression, are more supportive of the Democratic view of economic equality, including ending the unfair treatment, harassment and oppression of Black Americans and other disadvantaged groups. The need for societal change is more obvious to women than men, especially white guys. Karens who call the cops, notwithstanding.

Men might see the Black Lives Matter movement as anti-police, a bunch of rioters or a threat to law and order. Women heard George Floyd calling for his mother just before he died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.

As the primary caregivers, educators and family leaders, the added duties and disruptions of the pandemic have hit women far harder. They’re the ones on the front lines wrestling with home learning, finances and all the added stress of a world turned upside down.

So when the president blows off the virus and bungles the federal response, it’s women who pay the highest cost for his negligence.

This all makes sense. Women seem much better equipped to judge the needs of this national moment and act accordingly. Men, not so much. Maybe we should sit this one out, fellas. I’ll see about cool hats.

(319) 398-8262; todd.dorman@thegazette.com

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