The gender gap, a reality of American politics since the Roe v. Wade decision almost 50 years ago, is defining this 2016 election. But it is a different sort of gender gap — it originates with male voters, not women.
According to Fox News polls, Hillary Clinton is running 14 points ahead among women, down from President Barack Obama's 16 point finish in 2012. But Donald Trump is running 22 points ahead among men, way up from Mitt Romney's 7 point final margin in 2012.
The Trump candidacy is founded in this male gender gap. Women are dissenting from the national vote by their usual amount. But it is men who are really voting differently this year. On a cultural level, male voters are alienated by political correctness and the focus on the rights of everybody but men.
By contrast, female gender gap issues are somewhat less significant than they once were. While more Americans now describe themselves as pro-choice than pro-life, the underlying data suggests a lack of extreme views on the issue. Almost 30 percent, according to Gallup in May 2016, favor legalizing abortion "in all circumstances" while 19 percent support banning it all the time. The majority, 51 percent, wants it to be legal in only certain circumstances.
Meanwhile, dissatisfaction with wage stagnation, income inequality, the loss of manufacturing jobs, and the large amount of illegal immigration has spiraled, catalyzing Trump's surprising march to the nomination.
As with the crime issue in the 1960s and 1970s, the mainstream media insists on painting the white male fear of competition from immigrants here illegally as racist, denying its legitimacy. But the Center for Immigration Studies reports that since 2000, "all of the net gain in the number of working age people (16-65) holding a job has gone to immigrants — legal and illegal." The Center reports that Census data show that while 114.7 million native-born Americans had full-time jobs in the first quarter of 2014, which is actually less than the 114.8 million who had them 16 years ago in the first quarter of 2000.
By contrast, the number of foreign-born workers (including legal, illegal and naturalized) having full-time work has risen by 5.7 million since 2000.
The political fallout from these statistics is enormous. Combined with the wage stagnation of workers of all races, it has created a combustible political combination that is exploding this year.
But the media insist on calling these concerns about immigration and trade racial or jingoistic, denying the reality that they are the central concerns of the white men who are animating the Trump triumph.
Politically, this male gender gap throws down a gauntlet to Clinton as she tries to ride female discontent — and their gender gap — into the White House. The more Clinton emphasizes the need for special pleading for women, the more she antagonizes male voters.
After all, polls indicate that she is running 15 points back among men. Her problem is not to attract female voters, but to stop hemorrhaging male voters. But neither Clinton nor her advisors understand or are willing to accept this reality. So they keep trying to enhance her standing among women, making things worse and worse among men.