Welcome to the First Impeachment in the Era of Female Power
The impeachment of Donald Trump is being driven by women at every level
When Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868, women in the United States could not vote. It would be another 12 years before the first woman to hold federal office was even born.
When the Watergate hearings took place in the U.S. Senate in 1973, it had only 2% female members — a number that would not budge for nearly two decades.
It’s become impossible to disentangle the new age of female power from the party that has brought women to power.
The so-called year of the woman, 1992, doubled that number, and by the time Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, 12% of the House and 9% of the Senate was female, and American women did not support impeaching Clinton. Of course the majority of all Americans also opposed the impeachment of Clinton by the House, according to polling from that era, but even so, women opposed impeaching Bill Clinton in the pre-MeToo era at a higher level than did men.
Things are different today. Donald Trump’s presidency has been characterized by a fierce backlash from American women. They greeted his inauguration with the largest one-day protest in U.S. history. They fueled the rise of grassroots resistance groups that organized across the country to turn out voters and take on Republicans from the county seat-level to the presidency. They ran for Congress — and won — in record numbers in 2018. And now they are fueling public support for Trump’s impeachment.
A CNN poll right before Thanksgiving found that 61% of women favored impeaching Trump, as compared to only 40% of men. That’s an astonishing gap.
But wait, you say: The majority of American women are Democrats, or lean Democratic, so of course in our rawly partisan era a majority of women would back the impeachment of a president who has a 4% approval rating among Democrats. There’s your gender gap in a nutshell; even Hillary Clinton in 2016 won the female vote, a fact that often appeared to get lost in the post-election hubbub about how she lost white women’s votes.