From day one of his political career, President Trump’s rhetoric and policies have harmed women. We know very well his greatest hits of misogyny. Granting a broad “religious exemption” from contraception coverage in employer-provided health insurance, gutting sexual assault prevention programs, and ripping toddlers away from their mothers at the border are just a few examples of his anti-women policies. And his pattern of degrading women who challenge him — from journalists to Congresswomen — attacks our dignity.
In 2020, I expect women voters to hold the president and candidates who enable him accountable. Women of faith in particular will be pivotal in his moral reckoning. He faces formidable opposition in numerous communities, and his base is cracking.
Women fight back
Black voters and religious voters are often spoken of as separate categories, but African Americans are the most religiously observant demographic in this country — and Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party. Ask Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, who won a special election in 2017 against a Trumpian opponent thanks to 98% support from this community. He goes into re-election this year with a fighting chance in a state dominated by Republicans.
The nationwide Movement for Black Lives, rooted in non-hierarchical leadership that empowers women, does not exist to serve any presidential campaign, but Mr. Trump’s brutal and bigoted response to protests has dragged his approval ratings to a politically disastrous low point.
President Trump would not have been elected without overwhelming support from white evangelicals. Now, white evangelical women are now abandoning him as his disastrous handling of COVID-19 kills thousands. A recent poll by the American Enterprise Institute found that, while the president’s approval rating among white evangelical men stood at 76%, his support among white evangelical women lagged significantly at 62%. We see signs that pro-life white voters are seeing the hypocrisy of abortion bans that include pregnancies resulting from rape and incest even as Republicans cut access to contraception and maternal health for low-income women.
Over the past four years of working in faith-rooted resistance to this administration’s cruel policies, I know from experience that women of faith are leading. I marched at the US-Mexico border with Mormon, Catholic, Protestant and Sikh women to protest President Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy that tore thousands of children away from their mothers. On issues ranging from the Muslim ban to health care, I’ve passed a bullhorn back and forth with Muslim and Jewish women rallying outside the Capitol and the Supreme Court. I’ve seen Catholic sisters hauled off to jail for protesting President Trump’s attacks on young immigrants protected by the DACA program.
Going into the final months of a cruel presidential term, we are toughened and not weary. We’ve won some crucial victories, such as stopping the destruction of the Affordable Care Act. We’ve lost others, such as the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh. Faith is a source of resilience and bold courage that sustains us. It’s helping us through the COVID-19 pandemic and economic collapse. It will get us through the election.
The president’s plummeting poll numbers scare his campaign, yet numbers don’t tell the half of his troubles. Polls can’t capture the depth of outrage over the brutal treatment of immigrants. Projections don’t measure the courage of women who keep protesting and organizing after tear gas has stung their lungs. Surveys don’t show the determination of moms standing in unconscionably long voting lines with kids in tow.
The 2020 election will determine which values shape our nation’s future. Women of faith believe that democracy can be salvaged from white nationalism. We believe human dignity must no longer be demeaned by those who wield political power. We will be heard on November 3rd.