Psychologists from the University of Florida are claiming that “hostile sexism” was the catalyst to Donald Trump’s election victory in 2016.
“UF psychologists found that in the contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, voters’ choices were strongly linked to hostile attitudes toward women,” a news release from UF stated.
The study was published in the Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, a peer-reviewed bi-monthly academic journal focused on social psychology research.
“These results suggest that political behavior is based on more than political ideology; even among those with otherwise progressive views, overtly antagonistic views of women could be a liability to women — and an asset to men — running for office,” the psychologists state.
“I don’t know how willing people are to realize or admit the role sexism might play in their behavior,” Liz Redford, a doctoral candidate in social psychology at the University of Florida, told UF News. She co-drafted the study along with fourth-year psychology graduate student John Conway and psychologists Colin Smith and Kate Ratliff.
“Even among those with politically liberal leanings, voters’ antagonistic views of women could be a liability to women — and an asset to men — running for office,” the group explained.
Participants of the study answered a series of questions through Project Implicit regarding their stances on politics, their manners towards women, and their viewpoints on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
As explained in UF News, the repercussions of sexism remained in the study while controlling for the “participants’ gender, or attitudes toward racial and cultural minorities, and for attitudes toward whites.”
“Most Americans would probably like to think that sexism is not a big factor in their voting choices, but this forces us to consider whether political decisions are impacted by that,” Redford added.
The study made sure to state in the fine print that it’s unclear whether the predictive role of sexism observed was specific to preferences for Clinton versus Trump, or applicable to any election involving female and male candidates. However, the study clearly pushes an anti-women Trump connection.
“Americans did not choose President Trump because they’re sexist, they chose President Trump because he was a better candidate than Secretary Clinton," Sam Mascaro, chief of staff for the Florida Federation of College Republicans, told Red Alert Politics in reaction to the study's findings. "Sexism is a serious issue in today’s politics and must be combated, but saying that the Clinton campaign lost because of sexism is an easy scapegoat instead of pointing to the slew of campaign and candidate-related issues that surrounded the Democrats in 2016."
Isaiah Denby is a college freshman from Tampa Bay, Fla., studying economics and political science.