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Will Clinton garner lowest share of gay votes ever?

LGBT voters reflect public’s dissatisfaction with major party candidates

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Hillary Clinton, election 2016, gay vote, gay news, Washington Blade, LGBT voters

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

We’re entering the final throes of a national election enthusing few.

Dominated by dramatic campaign surprises, there are likely more to come. In this topsy-turvy unconventional election, one such possibility stands stark.

Win or lose, Hillary Clinton may garner the lowest share of LGBT votes in modern history.

Democrats appear keenly aware of this potential outcome. In an interview on the closing night of the Democratic convention, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker expressed alarm at indications of a lower level of support for Clinton among gays than is typical for a Democratic nominee. Booker, who had been a leading vice-presidential contender, characterized the lack of robust enthusiasm for Clinton among LGBT voters and a perceived rise in support for Donald Trump as “terrifying.”

According to exit polls by Gallup, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and other survey firms, one-in-four-or-more LGBT voters have for two decades consistently cast ballots for Republican nominees, while one-third supported GOP Senate and House candidates in the most recent mid-term election.

Although polling is sporadic and limited due the tiny electoral cohort LGBT voters comprise, Trump has polled among gay voters at levels matching Romney in 2012 and McCain in 2008.

Although this election is notable for having become a vomit-inducing roller-coaster ride, Trump has polled near or at this standard historical level among LGBT voters in recent months, particularly in the wake of the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Clinton’s support, however, has registered significantly below previous Democratic candidates. In Reuters/Ipsos surveys, it dropped below 60 percent throughout July.

Similar to all Americans, one-quarter of LGBT voters indicate they don’t support either major party nominee. The high degree of dissatisfaction with both of these notorious grifters has the net effect of lowering Clinton’s tally of LGBT votes.

An astounding 41 percent of Americans have recently said they are having difficulty choosing between Clinton and Trump because they believe neither would make a good president. LGBT voters are undoubtedly among them.

When given the option, 13 percent told a polling firm aligned with Democrats they’d prefer a giant meteor hitting earth than being forced to chose either Clinton or Trump. The disaffected among those under 30 represents a plurality. With the largest bloc of voters now self-identifying as independents, more than a quarter of the unaffiliated would chose annihilation.

Although huge super-majorities consider Clinton untrustworthy and dishonest, and fully two-thirds say the country is headed in the wrong direction, the renegade yet equally distrusted Trump has managed to make an establishment-aligned career politician the more sympathetic candidate despite voters otherwise clamoring for change.

The legalization of same-sex marriage and the resulting or inevitable civil protections that conveys, alongside other equality victories, portends LGBT voters evolving to a less predictable single-issue voting bloc. As cultural integration broadens, LGBT voting patterns are expected to gradually transform over mainstream issues.

It may be that Trump will do no better and may do worse among LGBT voters than is common for Republican presidential candidates. Nothing is certain in this certainly weird election and Trump continuing to exhibit erratic campaign behavior could be his demise.

In the end, though, whether Trump under or over performs among LGBT voters may have little effect on the vote share Clinton wins.

If LGBT voters in the vast majority of pre-determined “blue” and “red” states cast their ballot for a minor party candidate knowing it would not affect the outcome, gay vote shares for both Clinton and Trump would diminish. Voters in New York, for example, view Clinton with more disdain than any statewide Democratic candidate in more than a century.

With both candidates languishing in the gutter on favorability, the prospect of lessened LGBT balloting for them, and especially Clinton, looms large.

Whether 2016 represents the advent or the delay of LGBT realignment borne of assimilation, and whether Clinton’s unpopularity suppresses her LGBT vote share, may be the biggest takeaways for the gay community.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at [email protected].

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Im Just Sayin

    August 12, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Responsible members of the gay community will turn out and vote for the democratic nominee in numbers large enough to help her achieve victory, as per usual bearing the burden of advancing and protecting LGBT equality for those of us who don’t vote, those who of us who indulge themselves by voting for a minor party candidate or worse those who us who actually believe the republican nominee would lift a finger to help us, be it McCain, Romney or Trump.

    So yes it might be hard, but we will we hold our nose and vote for Hillary. Why? Because we know that the single biggest threat to LGBT equality is a shift in the make-up of the Supreme Court to more conservative leaning justices. Almost every advancement in equality gay or otherwise has emanated from the judicial branch, not the legislative branch. So save the “realignment borne of assimilation” drivel for some night when you’re keynoting a Log Cabin event. This election isn’t about somebody occupying the White House for 4 years. It’s about who will be sitting behind a bench with a lifetime appointments.

    • Houndentenor

      August 13, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      If I could hold my nose and vote for John Kerry I can certainly do it for Hillary Clinton.

      As for keynoting a Log Cabin event, did you know that they’ve hired Newt Gingrich for their next event? Yeah, long-time anti-gay Gingrich. That one. It’s clear that Log Cabin isn’t made up of pro-gay conservatives. It’s made up of anti-gay homosexuals.

  2. Rick Rosendall

    August 12, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Mark Lee is whistling past the graveyard. It would be remarkable indeed if record numbers of gay voters opted for a party whose platform is the most intolerant ever, despite openly gay DC delegate Rachel Hoff’s valiant efforts to soften the language. Notwithstanding a quarter century of Republican smears and endless partisan investigations that Republicans keep repeating in hope of getting a result more to their liking, Secretary Clinton is beating Mr. Trump in the polls for which Lee seems to have such a fetish. This suggests that the nominees are not equally unpalatable. The better question is how big a blowout the Democratic victory will be, given Trump’s continuing meltdown. As a lifelong assimilationist myself, I do not recognize Lee’s version. With the Supreme Court at stake, and a GOP still obsessed with attacking gay families, pretending that our struggle is over is so preposterous as to reveal its true purpose: as a thin veil to conceal unacknowledged privilege. The point is not that LGBT rights are magically secure, or that they can somehow be walled off from the rights of all the other minorities under threat, but that Lee does not much care. He likes to rail against liberal thought police; but if that is such a problem, why does his sneering illiberalism continue to be printed?

  3. lnm3921

    August 12, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Mark Lee is a tool of the GOP and his articles often a laxative to the GLBT community!

  4. Brian's Ions

    August 13, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Just because the wisdom of Im Just Sayin bears repeating…
    **
    Why? Because we know that the single biggest threat to LGBT equality is a shift in the make-up of the Supreme Court to more conservative leaning justices. Almost every advancement in equality gay or otherwise has emanated from the judicial branch, not the legislative branch. So save the “realignment borne of assimilation” drivel for some night when you’re keynoting a Log Cabin event. This election isn’t about somebody occupying the White House for 4 years. It’s about who will be sitting behind a bench with a lifetime appointments.**

  5. Houndentenor

    August 13, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    I think that most lbgt people will understand that if Trump is elected and appoints Scalia-like justices, as he has promised to do, that we will be watching all the gains we have made in the courts evaporate and quickly. Those were almost all 5-4 decisions and could be overturned with just one seat switching from liberal (on our issues) to conservative. Kennedy and Ginsberg are both getting up there. That would be disastrous for us. It’s one thing to be frustrated with “politics as usual” and quite another to roll the dice and risk a roll-back of our rights.

  6. brianFFF

    August 15, 2016 at 4:48 am

    Is Bruce Majors controlling Lee’s brain via remote control?

  7. Katrina Rose

    August 15, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    How to get a column in a gay paper when you have nothing intelligent to say: Crank out crap that sides with the enemy so you claim to be ‘edgy’ and ‘independent’ when, in reality, you’re just a Roy Cohn wannabe.

    • brianFFF

      August 16, 2016 at 3:50 am

      You don’t know what you’re talking about. I met Roy Cohn in Provincetown. Mark Lee is nicer. Much!

  8. THEBEARCUB

    August 16, 2016 at 1:43 am

    Is it senility with you?

  9. Foodahz

    August 16, 2016 at 5:00 am

    MAY garner, POTENTIAL outcome, It MAY be, IF LGBT voters, WHETHER 2016 represents, MAY be the takeaway…

    Large outfits at least have the decency to label it the Opinion section.

  10. Jay Phelps

    August 20, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Who wrote this? Every gay person knows Clinton has our back. I only know one gay guy who’s a GOP supporter and he’s 35, lives with his “roommate” of a decade yet still tells his mama he’s straight. (He needs a good therapist.) I’m not too worried about Hillary and the LGBT vote.

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Opinions

The future of lesbian bars

Resolve to support our queer spaces in 2022

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lockdown zone, gay news, Washington Blade

This New Year, I hope you wish for more lesbian bars across the country. The story of lesbian bars in the U.S. has been slightly tragic of late: as of January 2021, there were only 15 clubs or bars dedicated to queer women across the country. 

That’s right—only 15. Across all 50 states. 

In Washington, D.C., my hometown, A League of Her Own stands out as the only lesbian bar in the city, dedicated to queer women. Located in Adams Morgan, A League of Her Own, also known as ALOHO, is a small mecca for queer ladies to pass through, socialize, and flirt. ALOHO is a chic gathering point for all queer folk, with posters of softball players dotting the walls and gender neutral signs lying about. 

Several years ago, another lesbian bar called Phase 1 existed in Southeast, where queer women could slam eight balls in pool games and engage in raunchy yet ever-so-hot jello wrestling competitions. 

Unfortunately, Phase 1 shut its doors in 2016. 

So what explains the closure of so many lesbian bars, while bars for gay men continue to flourish? Perhaps many queer women view gay bars as a space for their own as well, whereas gay men view lesbian bars as less of a place for them to socialize. 

Either way, we need to give support to lesbian bars now more than ever. Tokens of support can take many forms. 

For one, make sure to socialize in spaces dedicated to queer ladies. There are three lesbian bars in New York City: Cubbyhole (281 W. 12th St.), Gingers in Brooklyn (363 5th Ave.), and Henrietta Hudson (438 Hudson St.). Next time you visit the Big Apple, make sure to give these three spots some love. Maybe drag your experimenting bi friend to these locations. Or your pansexual roommate. 

Back in D.C., you can buy unisex shirts in A League of Her Own’s merchandise store, available online. 

Proceeds will go toward funding the bar, and making sure it stays afloat, especially during this COVID economy. 

Most of all, I hope you encourage your queer lady friends to keep on frequenting queer lady destinations. After all, there is only one thing that will keep lesbian bars afloat—and that is attendance. 

I, for one, will be frequenting many lesbian destinations this new year.  

Isaac Amend is a Yale graduate and participated in National Geographic’s ‘Gender Revolution’ documentary. He also is a member of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia, and contributes regularly to the Blade. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @isaacamend.

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Breaking barriers as an out trans ‘Jeopardy’ champion

Amy Schneider’s run inspires us all

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Amy Schneider (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)

“When was the last time anybody said ‘wow!’” a friend asked me.

I couldn’t remember the last time anyone I know (including me) had any “Wow!” moments. Until I heard about trans woman and software engineering manager Amy Schneider’s 29-game winning streak on “Jeopardy.”

You wouldn’t think anything could dispel our COVID exhaustion and political divisiveness. Yet, news about a champion on “Jeopardy,” a quiz show that has been on TV since 1964, has broken through our gloom.

In our culture, there are few things that everyone loves. But, “Jeopardy” is beloved by many, from theater geeks to 80-year-old sports nuts. A progressive friend was over the moon when his brother was a “Jeopardy” contestant. A buddy, a hetero (non-Trump) Republican, is a “Jeopardy” fanatic and a gay librarian pal is a “Jeopardy” freak.

Many of us daydream about being on “Jeopardy.” But we know that we wouldn’t have a chance on this legendary quiz show with its deceptively simple format: You give the answer to the (often incredibly hard) clues in the form of a question. You have to have a strategic military commander’s and a world-class athlete’s coordination: so you can press the buzzer to answer the clue.

The game’s categories run the gamut from opera to mountain ranges. Most of us, mere mortals, would be lucky to know even one category in the first round of the game. Let alone in the “Double Jeopardy” round or the “Final Jeopardy” clue. I might jump on clues about Katharine Hepburn movies or M&Ms. But that would be it for me.

It’s exciting to watch a “Jeopardy” contestant become a long-running champion. You marvel at the player’s intelligence, endurance, and nerve. It’s thrilling when the contestant on a winning-streak is part of your community.

Many of us LGBTQ “Jeopardy” fans are thrilled by Schneider’s record-setting winning streak. As I write this, Schneider has won more than $1 million in 29 games of “Jeopardy.” She is the fifth millionaire in “Jeopardy” history, and only the fourth player to reach this milestone in the regular season. She has won more than any other female “Jeopardy” contestant.

Schneider, like so many of us, doesn’t want to be defined by her gender identity or sexuality. Schneider’s life is multi-faceted; she has many interests. Schneider lives with her girlfriend Genevieve. They have a cat named Meep.

Yet, Schneider doesn’t want to hide that she’s trans. On “Jeopardy,” Schneider brilliantly dealt with this dilemma. She didn’t make a big deal about being out. She just wore the trans Pride flag pin.

“It was something that I wanted to get out there and to show my pride in while not making it the focus of what I was doing there,” Schneider told the New York Times. “Because I was just there to answer trivia questions and win money.”

As a cisgender lesbian, I can’t speak to how Schneider’s record-setting “Jeopardy” streak feels to transgender people.

But, as a trans ally, I’m cheering for Schneider. Kudos for her bravery! At a time when many states are passing anti-trans laws, it takes guts to be out on TV and the Internet.

Few things are as mainstream as “Jeopardy.” I bet that many “Jeopardy” viewers who are frightened at the idea of trans people, will become more comfortable with transgender people after watching Schneider on the popular quiz show. Because folks on TV come into our living and bedrooms and we feel as if we know them after watching them for a while.

“Amy looks like everybody else,” my neighbor said when I told her Schneider was trans. “She doesn’t act odd. She’s not strange.”

Transgender people encounter violence and discrimination in everything from housing to health care to employment.

I know Schneider’s “Jeopardy” triumph won’t end transphobia. But her winning streak will go a long way toward jumpstarting a change in hearts and minds.

Kathi Wolfe, a writer and a poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.

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SCARY: Tucker Carlson now the conscience of GOP

Cruz bows down, kisses ring of Fox host

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Tucker Carlson (Screen capture via Fox on YouTube)

The Republican Party has sunk to a new low, hard to do, when a sleazebag like Tucker Carlson is now their conscience. Seeing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) groveling before him is laughable, disgusting, and frightening all at the same time. 

As reported in Rolling Stone, Cruz said, “We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week. It is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol where we saw the men and women of law enforcement demonstrate incredible courage, incredible bravery, risk their lives to defend the men and women who serve in this Capitol.” Then “Cruz was lambasted by Tucker Carlson that night, prompting him to hop on Carlson’s show Thursday and beg for forgiveness. “The way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb,” Cruz said before Carlson cut him off and said he didn’t believe him. Cruz took it up a notch, stammering through an absurd bit about how he wasn’t talking about the “patriots across the country supporting President Trump,” only those who assaulted police officers, and that he’s always described anyone who assaults a cop as a terrorist.

Carlson has made a career of being a pompous commentator. Interestingly he worked at CNN, PBS, and MSNBC, before finally landing at Fox in 2009. According to his Wikipedia page he went to Trinity College where he earned a bachelor’s degree and Carlson’s Trinity yearbook describes him as a member of the “Dan White Society,” an apparent reference to the American political assassin who murdered San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. After college, Carlson tried to join the CIA, but his application was denied, after which he decided to pursue a career in journalism with the encouragement of his father, who advised him that “they’ll take anybody.” Reading this clearly raised my opinion of the CIA and based on what we see in some media today I agree with Carlson’s father on his view of journalism. 

When you have a moment of silence in the House of Representatives to honor those who lost their lives on Jan. 6 and only two Republicans show up, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and her father Dick Cheney, the former vice president, one understands the influence Carlson has on the GOP. The rest were afraid of being criticized on-air by him or lambasted by Trump. 

Dick Cheney remarked on the GOP, “It’s not a leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for 10 years.” He spoke to ABC News saying, “I’m deeply disappointed we don’t have better leadership in the Republican Party to restore the Constitution.” 

There is a leadership void in the Republican Party today. Their so-called leaders are afraid to say what they think if it differs in any way from Trumpism or Carlson’s view of the world, which requires total fealty to Trump. He found a home on Fox where he can lie with impunity and have millions believe his lies. 

President Biden said, in what many think was the best speech of his presidency so far, these people are “holding a dagger to the neck of democracy.” He went on to say, “For the first time in our history, a president not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol.” 

Tucker Carlson and his ilk have never bothered to answer a question the president threw at them, which is how they can accept all their down ballot victories, governors, and members of Congress, which occurred on the same ballots, cast by the same people, on the same day, as those for president. Of course, Carlson has no need to make sense, tell the truth, or speak rationally because of his platform on Fox, which doesn’t require that.

My question is whether Carlson is as dumb as he makes himself sound or is he brilliant and this is all a big act? Either way the acolytes that follow Trump don’t seem to care and are bowing down to Carlson’s big audience. It’s as if he can tell any Republican senator or congressperson, or Republican candidate for those jobs, to just ‘bend over and take it’ and they do. All we can do is mourn for the GOP of Lincoln and Eisenhower. Non-Trumpers will have to work hard and speak out if they ever want to resurrect a GOP that can be respected.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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