For some female South Carolina voters, it’s qualifications over gender
Bob Benjamin is a long time Sanders supporter. While playing the guitar, Benjamin said that America "needs the craziness to stop" and that "we need to change the government from the way it is now."
Eunice "Tootsie" Holland addressed the crowd Wednesday night and spoke about how Sanders would fight for womens' rights – something she says other candidates haven't done well.
Bob Meyers was just one of many men who attended the "Women for Bernie" get together. Meyers, now retired from the U.S. Air Force, strongly dislikes presidential candidate Donald Trump despite Trump's strong standing with veterans.
By Colin Demarest
Elaine Cooper, an enthusiastic supporter of Vermont Sen. Sanders, says she’s part of a tide of women voters who are voting “on topics and issues rather than gender.” Simply put, she is not voting for Hillary Clinton as president.
Voting along gender lines has become a controversial topic since former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright suggested there was a “special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” Albright was seen as chastising young women who were abandoning Clinton for Sanders in the presidential sweepstakes.
Cooper, who hosted a local Women for Bernie get together, joked Wednesday night that voting against Sanders has its implications. “You better avoid that socialist highway and those socialist troops and that socialist post office,” she said.
As an older white woman, Cooper fits the demographic for a typical Clinton voter. For example, a Feb. 3 NBC News/Marist poll found that 52 percent of women over 45 supported Clinton in New Hampshire. But Cooper is drawn to Sanders’ campaign because of his extensive government experience and his hopeful ideals.
The sentiment of hope and a better America seemed to resonate through the group of 50 Wednesday night. Ashley LaCross, the mother of a 16-month-old boy, stressed the fact that she wants her child to grow up in a Sanders-inspired America.
“When he talks family and women, I really like it,” LaCross said. “I don’t think gender makes a difference – I do want to see a woman president. But not now for Hillary.”
The historically patriarchal southern society, with its biblical concept of man as the head of the household, is to blame for women voting on gender alone, Byranta Maxwell said.
But the solution to this issue, she says, is a complicated one.
Maxwell said, “We have to figure out a way to show that just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean you have to vote for her.”
“Just because you’re black doesn’t mean you voted Obama.”
The men in the crowd echoed the feelings of their female counterparts.
“If you’re Turkish do you have to vote for someone from Turkey?” Tim Smith, an outspoken Sen. Sanders’ supporter, asked.
Bob Meyers, a retired US Air Force member, said gender “has no bearing on any election.” The allure of Sanders stems from his sense of equality, he said.
“Bernie brings common views to the table,” Meyers said. “Sanders speaks for the common man and the common woman.”