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Which will win: The “woman card” or the Trump card?

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton onstage at her victory party at the Convention Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. (Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

(Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump close in on their respective party nominations, they have started trading barbs about Clinton’s alleged use of the so-called “woman card.”

Donald Trump used his victory speech on Tuesday evening to knock Hillary for allegedly running on her gender instead of on her record.

“I think the only card she has is the women’s card,” he said. “She has got nothing else going. Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she would get 5 percent of the vote. And the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.”

Clinton fired back at Trump via a video posted to her Twitter account later that night.

“Mr. Trump accused me of playing the woman card. Well, if fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in.”

The “woman card” Trump spoke of has nothing to do with Hillary “fighting” for progressive women’s issues. This is classic Clinton obfuscation of the actual allegation made against her. Trump was accusing her of using her gender as a substitute for accomplishment or qualification.

Trump seemed undeterred, and told CNN’s Chris Cuomo the next morning that “She is playing the woman card left and right.”

Social media leapt on the woman card meme, with Twitter users sharing “stories” of how a woman card has gotten them sweet perks like unequal pay and free mansplaining. Blue Nation Review issued a collection of digital woman cards, featuring phrases like “equal pay” and “women’s health care” — both things that American women already enjoy — as well as a Joker card where the jester’s face is a caricature of Trump.

But is either candidate telling the truth here?

Clinton does play the woman card, and has been doing so repeatedly throughout her campaign. Back in September she said her gender made her an “outsider candidate.” When asked weeks later how her presidency would be different from the Obama Administration, she responded yet again that the difference would be that she’s a woman.

What would Clinton’s campaign look like if she were a man? We can only guess. There is no way to verify what percentage of the vote she would garner if she were, instead, a he.

Is Trump winning with women? In the GOP primaries, yes. But women voters still prefer Hillary. A majority of female voters support Democrats, and most of those female Democrats voted for Hillary. She won 57 percent of her party’s female vote in Connecticut, 60 percent in Pennsylvania, and 68 percent in Maryland. Trump did best with women voters in Maryland, where he received 55 percent of the female Republican vote.

Young voters are likely to be split on this issue. The Harvard Institute of Politics found that, among voters between the ages of 18 and 29, just under 60 percent believed a glass ceiling still exists, and slightly over 60 percent said men have advantages over women in America. This is a majority, but far from a consensus. Trump will have to persuade young voters that a Trump card outranks a woman card.


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