March 3, 2020

HEH: These suburban white women are ‘mortified’ they voted for Trump. But they’ll do it again.

There are lots of these women in North Carolina, which holds its Democratic primary this week on Super Tuesday, the single day when more voters head to the polls than any other this primary season. Winston-Salem is a progressive university town in the northwest part of the state, but considerably more conservative than nearby Durham or Raleigh. As one woman said, it’s a place with roughly equal numbers of “tattooed, pierced hippies” and people for whom “What church do you go to?” often immediately follows “What is your name?” Most people, multiple women noted, seem to identify as some brand of “moderate.” While the city itself went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, if you drive 15 minutes out in any direction, you’ll find yourself in a light pink precinct that voted, ever so hesitantly, for Trump.

With Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) now the clear Democratic front-runner, many centrist women in Winston-Salem find themselves in a tough spot. They hoped they’d be able to vote for someone other than Trump in 2020: Biden, maybe, or Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

But if Sanders is the nominee, they say, “No way.”

Murphy doesn’t regret voting for Trump: She was never going to support Clinton. She will always remember the “60 Minutes” appearance Clinton made when Bill Clinton was running for president in 1992. Responding to a question about her legal career, Clinton said, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies.” To Murphy, that comment felt personal: If the two of them met at a party, Murphy says, she feels sure Clinton would not bother to talk to her, a marketing specialist who took years off to raise her kids, educated far from the Ivy League. Many of her friends feel the same way, she says.

“We’ll talk about how horrible Trump is, how embarrassing. We’re mortified. But then we’ll look at each other and be like, ‘Not having Hillary Clinton as president — worth it.’”


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