Much has been made of the fact that a groundswell of women, particularly white women, helped propel Donald Trump to his Electoral College victory in 2016. Now, nearly two years later and in the midst of a chaotic administration that causes whiplash on a nearly daily basis, what do some of those women think of the man they voted for in 2016?
CNN’s Alisyn Camerota sat down with six women, all of whom voted for Trump in 2016, to get a sense of how they might be voting in the 2018 midterm elections and whether their vote would be a referendum on the Trump administration thus far. What she found was half of the women she talked to expressed disappointment with the job Trump’s done. But the other three plan on voting Republican in 2018 and could be eyeing a Trump vote again in 2020. When asked, five of the women indicated they want to send a message with their midterm vote.
Ally Bross of Orlando regrets having voted for Trump. “I think the majority of women … don’t see him as a respectful, pro-woman kind of man. Especially people my age,” the 22-year-old said. “In my age demographic, it’s a huge deal that he’s not supportive of easily-accessible women’s health care. In terms of Planned Parenthood, they feel like they’re losing the right to birth control, Pap smears, abortions.” Bross said she voted for Trump over Clinton based on their differing national security policies, but she said Trump has also disappointed her on that front.
Nell Justiliano, a 44-year-old woman from Wisconsin who said she previously voted for Barack Obama, but broke for Trump in 2016, also regrets casting that vote now. “I knew at that moment that I wanted change. And for me, he represented that change,” she explained. Even though she regrets her Trump vote, Justiliano said she still plans to vote for Republicans in 2018. The reason is simple, she said: Because she likes how the economy is doing, despite Trump being “a very flawed human being.”
Annie Anthony, a Democrat who voted for Trump in 2016, said two years into his presidency, she finds that the up-and-coming Democrats in local politics speak to her more than Trump and Republicans do. “I think they’re more into social justice and the social programs,” Anthony said. “I voted my Christian values. I was probably hoping he could be more of the candidate that would deliver that for me,” she said, adding that she holds out hope that Trump’s Supreme Court picks will make up for the rest of his shortcomings.
“I’m standing behind Donald Trump because of his conservative values,” Amelia Kennedy declared. Kennedy, a Latina woman, said Trump won her over by appealing to faith-based communities, which she said is “very important” to Latinos. “He was actually talking to” us, she explained. Kennedy said she had never registered to vote prior to the last election and plans to vote Republican in the midterm elections again.
For Ruth Birchett who, according to her Facebook page, hails from Philadelphia, the midterms are a chance to send a message to politicians from the Democratic Party. “My local elected officials … are the reason for the deterioration of our community. It is Democrat decision making that has widened the divide between the haves and the have nots,” Birchett, the founder of the Heritage Community Economic Development Corporation, said. “Local politics,” she added, “are why I am Republican today.” When asked about Trump’s purported affairs and moral shortcomings, Birchett demurred. “My expectation of an elected official is that you do the job that me as a constituent sent you” to do.
According to a CNN poll released earlier this month, just 29 percent of women nationwide approve of the job Trump is doing while 65 percent disapprove. But if 2016 taught us anything, it’s that the polls may not always tell the full story. Indeed, in Camerota’s segment, 50 percent of the women she talked to remain in Trump’s corner. The real lesson of 2016 is: Get out and vote.
Watch the full discussion below.