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.
According to preliminary exit-poll data of the national electorate, white voters who are 45 and older backed Republicans, along with white men overall. https://t.co/NwblpeyXHf pic.twitter.com/m3Ri507v9L— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) November 7, 2018
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.”
The 53% of white women thing is funny and effective, but I worry that focusing mostly on the fuckups of white women implies that white men’s fuckups are acceptable or expected bc they don’t have a marginalized identity. That shouldn’t be.— Rae Sanni (@raesanni) November 7, 2018
Privileged white men can say such things. https://t.co/JdWtbS7X0Q— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) November 7, 2018
For the record: I am NOT saying white people do not need be called out – I’m saying white men do this all the fucking time.— “Celia” (@_celia_bedelia_) November 7, 2018
White men expect better of women than they do of themselves— John Van Amburg (@John_VanAmburg) November 7, 2018
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.
good morning to everyone except the white men gleefully boarding the ‘can’t trust white woman voters’ train, knowing this is a great opportunity to mask their hatred for women with an entirely correct opinion— rax ‘raccoon toddler’ king (@RaxKingIsDead) November 7, 2018
White men love any chance they can get to call women stupid— werewolf sjw (@Akitron) November 7, 2018
Yup. This has been my often silent complaint over the past two years. Y'all's number have always been worse, so, you were saying?— Ashley 2020 (@boogieordie) November 7, 2018
We White men must not use Black women's sense of betrayal to play out our misogyny https://t.co/PKC0Zjpadx— Pierce Delahunt (@DelapierceD) November 7, 2018
I wish that more white gay men would think critically about their white male privilege in this way. So few in the Bay Area do and it’s really harmful. https://t.co/yYZInCG6gK— Kate (@missustufnel) November 7, 2018
In short, white men are simply avoiding accountability.
While both are to blame, I will give this a big Amen because, as per usual, it’s the women who get rations of shit while men skate on by.— AGWilson (@AGWilson) November 7, 2018
You're the first to admit it. Most guys don't want to give up a good thing, even if it's wrecking their country.— Lisa Munsterhjelm (@LisaAtTheHelm) November 7, 2018
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.
Shout out to black voters for attempting to save us all and a big fuck you to white voters who prefer racism over healthcare.— The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) November 7, 2018
I don’t think it’s acceptable but I do think it’s to be expected. They’re most vested in white supremacy and will hold on for as long as they can. The appeal to WW is to get them to realize all systems of oppression (patriarchy + white supremacy) are interlinked. I hear this tho.— Nikishka Iyengar (@Nikishka) November 7, 2018
Maintenance of the status quo is an interest. Keeping themselves above others is an interest. Ensuring the hierarchy of their husbands and son and family members is an interest. One-interest voting is an interest. Nothing baffling about it.— Jayce Ellis (@thelawyerwrites) November 7, 2018
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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.