Bucknell Institute for Public Policy: Why 2016 elections remind us to appreciate the 19th amendment

Caldwell Harden, Contributing Writer

Nate Silver of  FiveThirtyEight, a website that focuses on opinion poll analysis, posted two graphics showing what the current election results would be if only women voted versus if only men voted on Oct. 11. When only women vote, Hillary Clinton wins 458 electoral votes and Donald Trump wins 80. When only men vote, Trump wins 350 electoral votes and Clinton wins 188.

In an Oct. 11 poll conducted by The Atlantic, Clinton was leading among women voters by 33 points. Trump was leading among men by 11 points. With all of this new information available to voters, the trending hashtag on Twitter was #repealthe19.

#Repealthe19 refers to the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920. After several hours the hashtag gained momentum among Trump supporters, including women, who have actually admitted they would forfeit their right to vote in order for the Trump/Mike Pence ticket to win.

“I would be willing to give up my right to vote to make this happen” @PrayHealourland said.

As Twitter exploded with tweets from Trump supporters, a counter narrative began. People adopted an ironic tone in their tweets to demonstrate how absurd and impossible the notion of repealing the amendment is. Women ,specifically, began tweeting photos of them sending in their absentee ballots to demonstrate how they can impact the outcome of the election.

In the midst of this media explosion Trump, a normally active Twitter user, made no statement condoning the actions of his supporters. The only time “repeal” appears on his Twitter feed in the past two weeks is in reference to Obamacare.

While this type of misogynistic behavior is nothing new to our society, social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, exasperate the issue and allow people who would not voice their opinion in public to hide behind their computer screens and find comfort in digital supporters.

As I watched this news story develop, it deeply saddened and even scared me that women would be willing to give up their right to vote in order to support a presidential candidate. Women still have limited civil rights in many countries. Women only voted in their first election in Saudi Arabia in 2015. Because America is undeniably a very powerful country, what kind of example are we setting if there is a movement (no matter how small) to limit half of our population’s civil liberties?

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