New study: Having daughters helps parents see how horrible Donald Trump is

Earlier this week, The Washington Post conducted a poll looking at the presidential preferences of parents based on whether they exclusively have daughters, sons, or both. The results probably won’t surprise you a whole lot — parents with only daughters overwhelmingly support Hillary Clinton for president over Donald Trump.

The numbers look something like this: Polled parents of just daughters and no sons supported Clinton over Trump by a margin of 21 points (58 percent to 37 percent). Meanwhile, only 42 percent of parents of sons and daughters supported Clinton, and just 40 percent of people with only sons did. The Post’s analysis comes with the disclaimer that parents of just daughters tend to lean Democratic anyway, so Clinton’s advantage in this group could speak more to party alignment advantage than parents of daughters wanting to protect their children from the misogynistic hell Trump would instate. In fact, 55 percent of parents of just daughters align with the Democratic Party, compared with 48 percent of the general population.

But that’s not to say various gendered perceptions aren’t at all in play here. In case you haven’t noticed, having daughters or wives or mothers is the very reason numerous Republican leaders like former nominee Mitt Romney and former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush harshly spurned Trump after 2005 tapes of him boasting about sexual assault emerged. You know, in case having some remote semblance of human decency weren’t enough to be disgusted by the tapes.

All in all, you shouldn’t have to be a father, husband, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, etc. to a female to be outraged by misogyny and condemn sexual assault. We shouldn’t encourage a culture in which men only stand up for and stand with women because of their relationship with men, or one in which respect for women and their human rights is contingent on what they are to men.

But that being said, it’s completely understandable that parents (mothers and fathers) of daughters in particular are terrified of the prospect of a Trump presidency. Frankly, there’s no shortage of reasons to be. This is a man who can’t even recognize that what he was boasting about was the literal definition of sexual assault; to him, grabbing women “by the pussy” is offensive, sure, and worth apologizing for, but is ultimately just run-of-the-mill locker room stuff. Trump is a man who views women as objects whom rich men like himself can “do anything” to, in his own words, with or without their permission, and he’s trying to cover his ass by normalizing this. Imagine your daughter growing up in an America where our leader, whom children are supposed to look up to and be inspired by, is basically telling them that if a man is rich, he can do whatever he wants to them.

And, of course, there’s all of the standing assault allegations against Trump, but in terms of sexism in Trump’s political platform, there’s his gender role-enforcing, heteronormative maternity leave plan; his opposition to reproductive rights, essentially reducing women to baby-making machines; and his backwards appraisal of the wage gap. Unrelated to politics, he’s also on the record suggesting husbands should keep their wives from working and that pregnant women are workforce inconveniences, but alas, I digress.

Democratic Nominee for President of the United States former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
CREDIT: The Washington Post/GettyImages

On the other hand, an America under President Clinton would be one in which girls could finally be able to identify with their leader. It’s no exaggeration to claim that with a woman in the highest position in the country, ingrained perceptions of career limitations for young girls would be diminished. And whatever your views of Clinton, her record in public service has placed considerable emphasis on standing with women and youths, fighting for their access to healthcare and education, and her platform today is all about this.

This is literally a race between the potential first female POTUS and arguably the loudest misogynist our political system has ever seen. Any parent who has a daughter should know that society is already difficult enough; that their vote could either make things substantially better or worse is probably something they take seriously. That being said, as First Lady Michelle Obama pointed out in her fiery speech at a campaign stop for Clinton last week, a Trump presidency should also make parents fear the sort of men their sons would become.

“In our hearts, we all know that if we let Hillary’s opponent win this election, then we are sending a clear message to our kids that everything they’re seeing and hearing is perfectly O.K. — we are validating it, we are endorsing it,” Obama said. “We’re telling our sons that it’s O.K. to humiliate women; we’re telling our daughters that this is how they deserve to be treated.”