Barbershop: Trump, The Woman Card And Kelly Ripa
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
And now it's time for the Barbershop. That's our weekly segment where we gather group of interesting folks to talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shapeup this weekend are Jolene Ivey, Barbershop regular. She's a former state lawmaker from Maryland, now a public relations consultant. Karlyn Bowman is with us. She's a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where she is a longtime public opinion analyst. Welcome Karlyn. Tracy Sturdivant is with us. She's co-founder and co-director of Make It Work, a campaign advocating for policies to help working families. Hi Tracy.
TRACY STURDIVANT: Hi.
MARTIN: And Lisa Bonos is back with us. She writes the Solo-ish blog for The Washington Post. I'm glad to have you all in the studio with me. I've got to jump right in here because we have to get to yet more presidential campaign drama that came up this past week. And we'll just play the clip by - guess who? - Donald Trump during a Q and A on Tuesday in response to a question about Hillary Clinton.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think the only card she has is the woman's card. She's got nothing else going. And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she's got going is the woman's card, and the beautiful thing is women don't like her, OK?
MARTIN: OK. Well, if this was a jobs program, certainly this was the program that's launched a thousand op-eds. So I'll just go down the list and just see how you all - what do you all say to this?
Jolene, as - I'm coming to you first because you have run for office successfully twice as a state lawmaker, lost one statewide election running for lieutenant governor. You've worked on Capitol Hill. I've heard of the race card - whether people think that's a valid phrase or not - I have never heard of the women card. Has anybody ever said that you? Is...
JOLENE IVEY: I haven't heard that phrase exactly, but Trump really knows how to come up with something to drive you over the edge. And this is no different. And if people don't like Hillary, then they really don't like him over this. But, you know...
MARTIN: Some people clearly do.
IVEY: Well, I don't think very many, thank you very much.
MARTIN: Well, he's won - he's got a thousand delegates. And...
IVEY: Yeah, he...
MARTIN: ...Excuse me, he's the presumptive Republican nominee, so somebody likes him.
IVEY: Yeah, he is but it's a bunch of crazy people. That's all I can tell you. But I do think that there is...
MARTIN: To use a technical term (laughter).
IVEY: ...A tendency for...
MARTIN: I should mention Jolene's a Democrat, in case you didn't know.
IVEY: For some people who - when they're running for office - for some women, they do play up a lot that they are the only woman, that they're a woman. You know, and I know when I was running, it's not that I kept that hidden. Of course, you could see that I'm a woman. And the things that I would talk about would be often related to things that women experience, knew about, whether it was caring for elderly parents or something to do with the school system. But I didn't say vote for me because I'm a woman. But it's certainly one of the things that kind of makes you more valuable in a lot of ways.
MARTIN: Well, you know, that's interesting because there are a lot of op-eds around that say - a lot of people have been talking about this. And what a lot of people are saying is it actually hurts you to be a woman in certain public spheres. And Karlyn, do you want to think about that for a minute because I know you have - you've been studying this whole gender gap issue for years, since you were 12, of course.
KARLYN BOWMAN: For a very long time.
MARTIN: Do you have some data on that? Does it help or does it hurt?
BOWMAN: Well, it can - it certainly can help to be a woman. We know that women will be about 53 or 54 percent of the electorate this year, and Trump has a big problem with women and Hillary Clinton has a problem with men. So there are a number of interesting aspects of this story, but I too had not heard the phrase the woman card.
MARTIN: Tracy, what about you? How do you respond to that?
STURDIVANT: I mean, at the end of the day, this isn't about pandering to women. It's about the women's vote and the issues that they care about. You know, Hillary Clinton used the phrase - you know, of talking about equal pay, you know, affordable child care, paid family leave is me playing the women's card, well, deal me in.
Well, if women are 53 percent of the electorate, then most of the candidates should be - want to be dealt into this conversation as well because these are the issues that women want to hear people talk about and to provide solutions on how they're going to actually fix their lives.
MARTIN: So you feel like it's a net positive, actually, that inadvertently - in fact, it's interesting, some of the op-eds suggested - like Kathleen Parker at The Washington Post suggested that actually - that Donald Trump's actually helped Hillary by - he's actually handed her kind of a winning argument. So...
STURDIVANT: Well, that's right. I mean, at the end of the day, candidates are going to talk about things that they can relate to. She is a woman. She's talking about the issues that, you know, she asked he has first- hand experience with. And, you know, when you think about the electorate who Obama won, who will also be the electorate who's going to decide this election - young people, women, people of color - those are the people who are going to want to hear candidates talk about things that, you know, impact their lives.
MARTIN: Lisa Bonos, on the other hand though, Hillary Clinton has struggled with millennials. And some of the sort of social media dialogue that I've seen around that sort of suggests that yes, she's a woman but her life is kind of atypical. She doesn't necessarily represent the template that a lot of young - a life that a lot of younger people see for themselves. And in fact, remember one of her surrogates, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, got into some hot water when she said that there's a special place in hell for women who don't support other women. And a lot of younger women were like not really. So I don't know, how do...
LISA BONOS: Yeah,
MARTIN: ...You respond to it?
BONOS: Yes, but a lot of millennials I think don't see themselves in Donald Trump's experience either. It's even harder to connect to. And I think a lot of younger voters, male or female, see Donald Trump's comments as being very retro and just catering more to the older male - older white male vote. And he can't win on that, right?
MARTIN: Well, you know, it's interesting because Dana Milbank, your colleague, wrote a very interesting piece about this, where he suggested that this was not actually just a mistake, that this was actually intended to spark kind of a gender backlash to appeal to people - to remind people that a lot of men feel that - well, to quote his piece, it says "white men used to run everything. And now we don't and it's terrible." And "we were focusing on the white part before, and now we're focusing on the men part."
And he's quoting another analyst who has done some to research on this. So Karlyn, I have to ask you net positive, net negative do you think that Trump sort of tapped into something that for a lot of people's is obviously very visceral?
BOWMAN: I'm not sure because I think you have in most polls about 5 to 7 percent saying they wouldn't vote for a woman for president. And of course, we don't know the other side of that coin - the number of people who are willing to vote for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman. So it's hard to know whether those two things cancel out.
But there's a larger point, and I'm wondering as I look ahead to the November election whether or not party will trump these gender concerns because people are very loyal to their parties in the final analysis when they go into the voting booth. And well, these issues will get an enormous amount of attention. Whether you're a Democrat or Republican I think is really going to be most important. Minority millennials last time voted overwhelmingly for Obama, whereas white millennials voted for Romney. So there's some really interesting cleavages here, including white millennial women, but only by a single percentage point.
MARTIN: Interesting. So while I have you all here, on a somewhat related topic, I wanted to ask you about the House Committee on Armed Services voted this week to approve a measure requiring women to register for the military draft. Currently that's something that's only required of American men when they turn 18. Karlyn, you've looked into opinion polls for this, too. How do people feel about this?
BOWMAN: Americans clearly do not want to reinstate the draft. So this action this week by the House is going to be something I think people will talk about a great deal. And I don't think men and women are split about whether or not they think the draft should be reinstated.
MARTIN: And they don't.
BOWMAN: But overall they don't want the draft reinstated.
MARTIN: But what about women? Do they think if the draft is - they don't want the draft reinstated, but if women have to sign up, too, how do they feel?
BOWMAN: I haven't looked at the subgroup breaks on that at this point, but there's more opposition than support.
MARTIN: Interesting. And Jolene, you have five boys.
IVEY: I do.
MARTIN: And I know some of them are draft-age eligible. And they all had to go down there and make that run. I guess I'm sure they do it online now.
MARTIN: What do you think? Do you know how they feel about this, or how do you feel about this?
IVEY: Well, I don't know how they feel about it. I just tell them you better go ahead and fill that out or you'll get trouble. So I'm not happy about it, but we do follow the law. But I think that women should have to sign up and register when we get equal pay. So until that point, I just don't see why we should have to do it.
MARTIN: Interesting. Interesting. Lisa, what about you? You're closer to this than I am, so...
BONOS: I think that's an interesting point, Jolene. I've also - I spent a year living in Israel, where both men and women do have to go through mandatory military service. And I think it does keep the country more invested and more cognizant of the risks that it's taking in going into war when everyone has to register. So...
MARTIN: There are exceptions though.
MARTIN: I mean, ultra-Orthodox women I don't believe...
MARTIN: ...Have to.
BONOS: Yeah, but that's a small minority.
IVEY: Do they have equal pay?
BONOS: I don't know what that would be.
MARTIN: Tracy, what do you say to this?
STURDIVANT: I mean, Jolene makes a really great point. Keeping men and women in different occupations and industries is a big part of why the gender gap exists. So, you know, for white women it's .70 cents on the dollar to a white man, .60 cents for black women, .55 cents for Latina. So the military is no different in terms of an industry. If you continue to separate men and women, you're going to continue to perpetuate that gender gap.
MARTIN: So what do you - so yes or no?
STURDIVANT: So - well, I'm not a fan of the draft. So, you know, like many Americans, no one wants to see that reinstated. But the fact is many women actually join the military because it helps their sort of economic stability. So I think this is going to be an interesting dialogue that happens in the country around, you know, whether it's - should we reinstate the draft, you know, how that impacts people's economic bottom lines and then to her point, you know, how does this impact the sort of pay gap overall.
MARTIN: OK, before we let you go - and I don't know if I have time to hear from everybody on this. Since we have all women in the Barbershop, I just want to bring up one more issue circulating this week. It has to do with this whole thing about being called out for diva attitude or bossiness. You all have heard this when the daytime TV duo Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan - Michael Strahan's been offered another job at "Good Morning America." Kelly Ripa says she found out just before airtime and took a couple of days off. And now people say oh, she's having a meltdown. And a lot of people are saying that that's sexist. And I just want to ask - does anybody want to weigh in on that? Tracy?
STURDIVANT: Yeah, I think it's fascinating when women advocate for themselves in the workforce that they are deemed a diva. You know, the same thing happened with Melissa Harris-Perry at MSNBC. But if you think about Conan O'Brien or David Letterman when they were having their back and forth with NBC, the media did not paint them as divas. And in fact, they ended up with better deals on the back end. So it's just another place where workplace policies or the culture in these workplaces are challenging for women.
MARTIN: Pay equity for Kelly Ripa - (laughter) OK.
IVEY: So like...
MARTIN: I think that's all the time we have. Sorry Jolene.
IVEY: All right.
MARTIN: That's Jolene Ivey, Karlyn Bowman, Tracy Sturdivant and Lisa Bonos. Thank you all so much for joining us in our special all-female Barbershop today.
IVEY: Thanks Michel.
BOWMAN: Thank you.
STURDIVANT: Thank you.
BONOS: Thanks for having us.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.