White women have a poor track record with voting for the GOP, but they aren't as bad as white men.

Fabrice Florin/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

White men: Look in the mirror before criticizing white women voters

White men love criticizing everyone but themselves.

 

Ana Valens

IRL

Published Nov 7, 2018   Updated Feb 28, 2020, 3:17 pm CST

Opinion

You know what’s messed up? White women voting in droves for the Republican Party, a party that loves to strip women of their rights and access to healthcare, a party that imparts racist policies and separates parents seeking a better life from their children.

Black voters, voters of color, and other minorities have every right to point out how messed up this is, as they stepped out in droves for Hillary Clinton, Beto O’Rouke, and other progressive candidates during elections where a lot was at stake. White men, though? Not so much.

And yet white men seemed quick to point out how O’Rouke’s Senate loss on Tuesday was white women’s fault, while refusing to call out the group predominantly responsible for President Donald Trump and now another six years of Ted Cruz. White men love attacking everyone but themselves.

A quick glance at yesterday’s midterm elections proves that white men love voting Republican, and they’re more likely to do so than any other demographic. A preliminary exit poll from FiveThirtyEight shows 59 percent of white men voted Republican during the 2018 midterms, compared to 48 percent of white women. Conversely, white women were a little more likely to vote Democratic than Republican—50 percent over 48 percent, respectively—while a meager 39 percent of white men voted Democratic.

White men played a key role in some of this year’s highest profile elections, too. Cruz defended his seat from O’Rourke thanks to support from white men. The Republican incumbent reportedly had 71 percent of white men’s votes compared to 59 percent of white women’s, according to NBC News. White men similarly played a major role in Missouri Republican Josh Hawley’s victory over Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, with 62 percent of white men turning out to vote for Hawley.

Granted, white women benefit from white privilege, and will often choose that privilege to throw everyone else under the bus in order to save their place in the hierarchy. That’s especially a problem when factoring in other forms of privilege that intersect with whiteness, like class and sexuality. In many races, white women voted for Republicans alongside their white male peers.

But the Republican Party’s success rides on white male privilege, not just white privilege. More than anyone else, it’s men who turn out to vote for Republicans, and the GOP needs them for wins. If progressive white men want to do their part to fight back against Trumpism and racist, sexist candidates, then they need to shut up, listen to their critics, and start talking to their fellow white men about their behavior and the repercussions of their votes. Hyperfixating on white women isn’t the solution, especially when plenty of white women know how to criticize their sisters with nuance and respect.

“I know it’s the trend to tweet about white women voting for Republicans like Trump and Cruz, but I also know the last people who should revel in doing so are white men,” Out editor-in-chief Phillip Picardi tweeted. “If you don’t see why, you’re missing the point that we’re still the biggest problem of all.”

https://twitter.com/AzaleaDunn/status/1060026191397224448

For white men, criticizing white women isn’t necessarily about political strategy. More often than not, it’s an excuse to pass the buck—attacking white women while giving white men a free pass for creating our current political reality.

https://twitter.com/JillFilipovic/status/1060168265970958336

https://twitter.com/mollycrabapple/status/1060049347952459776

https://twitter.com/lilwould/status/1060028859096039425

In short, white men are simply avoiding accountability.

https://twitter.com/Jesmaec/status/1060140829849894912

https://twitter.com/sbee_champion/status/1060034800759713793

Others believe white men as a group are a lost cause, and that the marginalized (and those allies who support them) must band together to kick them out of power.

https://twitter.com/KarynSpencer/status/1060036234825756672

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Unfortunately for the white men and women trying to hold onto their supremacy (and fortunately for everyone else), change is coming to America. Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar and Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib just became the first two Muslim women to be elected to the U.S. Congress; Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will be the first Native American women to hold congressional seats. Women of color are leading the way to a new country, and if white men want to truly get on board, they have to look in the mirror and do just about anything besides point fingers.

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*First Published: Nov 7, 2018, 10:25 am CST