There is a highly symbolic face-off taking place between the backers of the “Fearless Girl” and “Charging Bull” statues on Wall Street in New York City. The Washington Post reports on how “Italian-born sculptor Arturo Di Modica spent two years welding a 7,000 pound bronze bull statue designed to capture the resilience of the American people.” But then feminist activists got involved, seeking to use Di Modica’s iconic statue in order to push their own political agenda:
[L]ast month, on International Women’s Day, a new statue of a symbolically brave “Fearless Girl” stole its spotlight — and, Di Modica says, fundamentally corrupted the artistic integrity of his “Charging Bull.”
As “Fearless Girl” was heralded by many as a symbol for female empowerment, Di Modica doled out sharp criticism, casting the statue as not art, but a publicity stunt by the gender-oriented company that commissioned it.
He forcefully advocated against a global campaign to make “Fearless Girl” a permanent fixture, but fans persevered, persuading New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to extend the statue’s permit through April 2018.
In case someone might miss the political message of the statue, a plaque below it reads, “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes the difference.”
So let’s take a look at what the power of women in leadership positions means – specifically what issues women prioritize in voting. Pew Research Center reveals that there are significant differences between the sexes:
[W]omen are more likely to emphasize certain issues, including the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities, the environment, the issue of abortion and the treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender people.
Women place a higher level of importance on the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities than men do (69% of women say this is very important, compared with 56% of men).
…While abortion and the treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender people rank as lower-tier issues for both men and women, women are more likely to say these issues are important to their vote in the fall: 52% of women say the issue of abortion will be very important to their vote this fall, compared with just 38% of men. Similarly, 49% of women say that the treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender will be very important in their decision of who to vote for; only 32% of men say the same.
We have long known of the sex difference at the polls. Now we know what helps to drive that difference.
In Pew Research Center data dating to 1992, women have been consistently more likely than men to identify as a Democrat or lean toward the Democratic Party. Over the first half of 2016, 54% of women identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, compared with 42% of men. In 2008 and 2000 – the last two presidential elections with no incumbent candidate – there was a similar difference between men and women in Democratic affiliation.
In 2016 Trump changed this somewhat as hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage took a back seat to trade, terrorism and immigration. White women turned out for Trump, much to the chagrin of liberals such as Sarah Ruiz-Grossman. Hillary Clinton won White college-educated women 51-45 but lost non-college educated White women by a massive 62-34 margin. On the other hand, 94% of Black women voted for Clinton. In 2012 a nearly unanimous 96% of Black women voted for Obama.
If the US electorate were all-female White women without a college education would represent most of the Right-wing. But they would be soundly defeated at the polls by a coalition of college educated White women and non-White women. Essentially, “the power of women in leadership” – or at least deciding who the leaders are – to the degree it exists, means that liberalism is institutionalized. It means that abortion, homosexual rights and the empowerment of non-Whites become a big part of the agenda. It means that we become like Sweden.