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A look at how some older women and teenage girls view the 2016 race

November 4, 2016

As the 2016 presidential race (mercifully!) enters its final weekend, we’re getting two new insights into how the electorate might vote on Tuesday. The Guardian sent its U.S. West Coast bureau chief Paul Lewis to Las Vegas to find out what people there really think of Trump. One of the groups he met with consisted entirely of older, “well-to-do” conservative women women. On the converse side of that, Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times visited with a bunch of teenage girls who are too young to vote to get a sense of how they’re viewing this most unusual and potentially historic election. Both efforts provided fascinating insights into how women young and old are approaching this election.

In Las Vegas, Lewis inquired with women at the luncheon he attended about the lewd Access Hollywood tape in which Donald Trump boasted in 2005 about forcing himself on women. Lewis polled the room, which looked to have about 40-50 women inside it, about whether that raised concerns with them. According to his count, about a quarter of the women in the room raised their hands. “I like to be talked dirty to!” one woman confessed, leading to an eruption of laughter.

When Lewis interviewed the women in a one-on-one setting, they revealed even more about why they’re so forgiving of Trump. “There’s many women that are hussies,” one woman, laughing, told Lewis. “A lot of women ask for what they get,” she said, adding, “You play with fire, you’re gonna get burnt.” One woman he talked to, though, unlike many of her peers at the luncheon, expressed reservations. “It was difficult to listen to,” the woman, who was wearing an ‘I’m an adorable deplorable’ pin on her jacket, said. “It was certainly not the nobility we expect from a politician.” Another indicated she would vote for Trump, but that ballot she casts will be more a vote against Clinton than a vote for the Republican nominee. Watch the full video below. The relevant segment begins at approximately the 2:20 mark.

Meanwhile, Cain Miller visited two high schools in Oregon to take the temperatures of girls who are witnessing “this gender bomb of an election” and the Times also commissioned a national poll. Some 40 percent of 14-17-year-old girls who were surveyed said they’d vote for Clinton if they were old enough, while 15 percent said they’d vote for Trump. Regarding the Republican nominee’s lewd comments about women over the years, there was an even split: 42 percent said the remarks impacted how they view their own bodies and 42 percent said it made no difference.

“That hits me hard when people like Trump say people who are skinnier than I am are too big,” said 15-year-old Morgan Lesh, a student at Sherman County High School, in rural Moro, Oregon. “It makes me feel extremely insecure about myself.”

Jaelyn Justesen, 14, a freshman Hillary Clinton supporter, at Sherman County High School in Moro, Ore., Oct. 27, 2016. Teen girls, while too young to vote, have taken a lot of insight from the presidential election, particularly in terms of body image and what it means to be a woman in power. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)
Jaelyn Justesen, 14, a freshman Hillary Clinton supporter, at Sherman County High School in Moro, Ore., Oct. 27, 2016. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

Others drew inspiration from Hillary Clinton’s White House bid. “Especially being a woman leader, it would teach younger girls, ‘Hey, I can do this,’ like Hillary is teaching younger girls, ‘I can be president,’” Jaelyn Justesen, 14, a freshman at Sherman County High School said. Justesen told the Times she wants to be a nurse someday, but that Clinton has opened her mind to the possibility of pursuing a leadership position as well.

Still others said they found inspiration from Trump — though the Republican nominee may not take any pride in why he’s inspiring these young girls.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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