The “Women’s Issue” Biden Should Talk About at Tuesday’s Debate

by Miro Korenha Co-Founder/Publisher of Our Daily Planet 


With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the political winds have once again shifted and the final weeks of the presidential campaign will be spent discussing and debating “women’s issues.” Conservative men especially, narrowly view these issues through the lens of being either pro-life or pro-choice. Their ignorance gives the Joe Biden campaign an opportunity to gain some ground on an emerging women’s issue: climate change.

The blue wave that formed in the 2018 midterm elections, was almost single-handedly attributed to the gender gap. There was record voter turnout and the majority of those voters were women. Inspired to vote against the party of Donald Trump and to run for office themselves, the past two years have solidified U.S. women as a fundamental political force. As NPR reported, in this year’s election specifically, the share of women giving money to political campaigns has already risen to 43.5% after never topping 28% in the 1990s–they’re a donor and voter constituency that can no longer be overlooked. 

For President Trump, this means that his deficit of women supporters is one of the primary weaknesses in his campaign. Even the white, working-class women who helped him win in 2016 are turning away from him and the contaminated Republican Party brand.

Interestingly but not surprising, when it comes to climate change and the environment specifically, female voters are more concerned about these issues than their male counterparts. In fact, women believe that they are more likely to be personally harmed by a warming planet than men do. 

After a summer of climate-intensified natural disasters that have propelled climate change as an overall voting priority, it’s a significant failure by the media that the first presidential debate will not broach the climate crisis as a major topic. 

As primary caregivers of the people most vulnerable to the damaging effects of storms, wildfires, and extreme heat (children and the elderly), women are actually disproportionately impacted by natural disasters. This makes them the “guardian” voters who could decide this election. 

Former Vice President Biden should seize on this advantage and incorporate the climate crisis and President Trump’s relentless assault on clean air and water into his answers at this Tuesday’s debate. Every time Donald Trump utters the phrase, “pro-life,” Biden should respond by speaking directly to women and highlight the dangerous environmental rollbacks that Trump has pursued—all of which have jeopardized the quality of life of our children and loved ones. When Trump talks about the “sanctity of life,” Biden should remind him of the clean air protections that were dismantled during a pandemic that afflicts people’s lungs. Afterall, the first proposed topic of the upcoming debate will be a comparison of Trump and Biden’s records and Trump’s record on the environment as well as women’s issues speaks for itself (they’re both abysmal). 

It’s said that at Tuesday’s debate, President Trump will seek to personally attack Joe Biden, including his family, as a means of shifting the narrative away from the President’s handling of the nation’s welfare. Yet, Trump’s has spent the past four years selling out the future of America’s young people by refusing to take action on climate change, and he’s prioritized helping fossil fuel companies instead of protecting vulnerable children who are susceptible to air pollution. Moreover, 200,000 Americans have lost their lives to coronavirus, a tragedy that could have been prevented through a more capable federal response. 

And women are disproportionately bearing the burden of President Trump’s four years of inept leadership–whether that’s meant staying home with children whose illnesses are exacerbated by pollution or giving up their careers to homeschool during the pandemic. An additional four years of this administration would lock the United States into a trajectory of irreversible harm to our planet and the health and well-being of all Americans alike. 

Women (Black women in particular) are reliable voters but they also deserve to feel as if they’re voting for something, instead of merely against Donald Trump. While there will be three presidential debates this fall, Biden can gain a lot of ground by setting the tone on Tuesday night and appealing to women by giving them a vision of the future that protects their rights, choices, careers, children, and planet.  

 

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