29 Mothers Explain Why They're Voting
Hillary Clinton wants them. So does Donald Trump. And as the clock is about to run out on the 2016 presidential election, each candidate is trying to win moms over. Hard. Whether you put "soccer," "hockey" (if you're Sarah Palin), or "Walmart" in front of them, mothers are one of the most coveted voting demographics during a race for the White House. However, while moms have been a much-desired voting group for several elections (Politico pegged it to 1996 when the term "soccer mom" surged to popularity in the modern lexicon), they've taken on an especially prominent role in the 2016 election.
Most obviously, for the first time in U.S. history, one of the major party presidential candidates is a mom. But mothers have had a significant influence on both the Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns in countless ways. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump featured mothers in top speaker spots at their conventions — "Mothers of the Movement" spoke for Clinton in Philadelphia, and Patricia Smith, whose son Sean Smith was killed in the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack, took the stage for Trump in Cleveland. Both Clinton and Trump have depended on mothers to be powerful, influential voices as they've made traditionally "mom" issues, like maternity leave, prominent campaign issues.
While Trump and Clinton are busy courting moms, Bustle reached out to mothers of all ages and all across the country to ask them why they are voting this election.
I'm voting because it's my job to raise my son to be someone who believes in equality and civic responsibility and the necessity of social progress. I want him to understand, respect and demand consent, and if I don't vote, I'm contributing to the likelihood that our president will be someone who not only brags about sexual assault, but calls sexual assault survivors "liars," or uses them for political gains. I'm voting because I want my son to be able to look up to the president as someone to emulate, and that person isn't Donald Trump. I'm voting because I want my son to be able to see hard work and selfless dedication pay off.
Lastly, I'm voting because I want my son to care about the people he shares this country with, and voting someone in office who has inclusive public policies that will assist the marginalized people of this country will set a positive example for my son. If I don't show him that I have a responsibility as a citizen of this country, and he will eventually, too, who will?
I heard on the news today that the public is actually "stressed out " by this election, and that it would negatively impact turn-out. People want to distance themselves from the ugliness of this election. I have the opposite feeling... I wish I could vote today, right now.
Stressed out as we are about the tenor of this election, as a woman — and we women are the majority voters — we can't get too distant from this moment. Moms especially have to be as visible at the polls as never before. As moms we have to be models of the vote that women who came before us fought for long ago.
As a mom, I feel like not voting is a dangerous choice for young people, especially those whose connection to Bernie is holding them back. Unlike their own moms, young voters may have to live the rest of their long, long lives negatively impacted by divisiveness in a country that won't reflect the freedoms it was founded upon — if they don't show up to vote.
I'm proud that my kids have voted. I remember taking them to vote at the firehouse with me when they were children. When I did that, I always felt the power it conveyed as a woman and mom to vote. In this election that power to vote is more meaningful than ever before. The stress will disappear when I see the long lines of women and moms with children lined up to defend our freedoms with their vote.
I am voting in this election (and any [and] all I am eligible to participate in) because it is a privilege and a right, an obligation even. Women's suffrage is relatively recent, and we need to not be complacent about our right to vote. The U.S. president is not just a domestic leader, but a world leader — we are not our nation but our world. We are earthlings before we are countrymen/women. That sounds comical, but eventually it makes sense. I could go on, but I'll stop here.
I'm a mother of both a woman and a man. If I didn't vote I would be sending them the wrong message. They are not young children, but we set an example, even as we age, that our votes count, our choices may impact other lives, and we need to celebrate the vestige of democracy that is our vote. Our children will navigate and steer the future. My example should teach them engagement and full participation. No one gets to sit back and opt out, right?
I've been interested and paying attention to politics since I was in high school, and haven't missed a major election since turning 18. My first was Bush v. Gore with Nader as the spoiler. I voted for Gore. The world would be a different place had he won.
This election year is like nothing I've seen. Trump is a vile human being and makes me ashamed for America, while Clinton has always impressed me. She's a brilliant politician and an inspiring person. Her platform is in line with my progressive beliefs, and I'm very excited to vote for her. This is the first campaign in which I've felt so strongly about a candidate that I've been donating my time to volunteer.
I also think it's great that my boys have the opportunity to grow up in a time when women and people of color have been at the helm of our country, and I hope they will grow up in a time of inclusivity and share a sense that all must be treated equally.
I'm voting in this election for same reason I voted in every presidential election since I turned 18 — because it's my right and responsibility. In terms of my choice of candidate, becoming a parent hasn't substantially changed my priorities. Foreign policy is my number one issue, followed by social policy and climate change. I cared about these issues before my daughter was born, but they're definitely intensified by my desire for the world to be a good and safe place for her to grow up in.
What's really different in my first election as a parent is the knowledge that whomever is elected will be an important figure in my child's life. This will be the first president she remembers. It matters to me that the president is someone she can respect, and whose qualities I would be proud for her to emulate.
I’m voting in the 2016 Presidential Election because when I do, it is a promise to myself. It is about who I am as an American, a woman, a human being. I missed some local elections when I was younger and felt terrible about myself. Missing those voting opportunities meant that I broke a promise to myself and it hurt my character.
Abstaining from voting in this election means to me that you aren’t showing up when things are tough. It means forfeiture, in my book, forfeiture of who you are as a human being. It tarnishes your character, and in my house, it also means you forfeit your right to complain about politics and those in office.
As I think about this from a woman’s point of view, I’m reminded of the years of challenges all women faced and continue to face in this country for equal pay, safe abortions, a seat at the table, and not so long ago the right to vote. I watched my mother, grandmothers, and aunts struggle against these challenges at work or applying for bank loans.
Not voting negates all those who fought for our rights years before us. While we have earned these rights so many women and disenfranchised groups still experience challenges. Not voting puts these rights perilously close to being squashed at minimum and quite possibly eliminated.
When I was young, she took me into the voting booth with her and let me pull the lever. (The voting machines were much different in those days.) As an eight year old, I left campaign literature in people’s front doors and stuffed envelopes at candidate’s headquarters.
I vote because I care about the future of America for my kids and for future generations, and I know my voice counts. I do not take this for granted.
I feel that not being informed and not voting would be irresponsible and dangerous. We must make smart choices. The world is watching. (And my mom might be, too.)
I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because I feel she has a vision. So much needs to happen in the country to move us forward, and I think she has the plans to do that. I think it’s especially important for women to vote, because we had to fight for the right to vote, and if you don’t vote, you disrespect these women who paved the way.
I just voted early in Colorado for gun sense champion Hillary Clinton because she’s the only candidate in the race who supports gun safety and has vowed to take on the gun lobby to keep our families and communities safe. And given that the other guy has a shameful record of degrading women, inciting violence and being wholly aligned with the extremist gun lobby agenda for more guns everywhere, for anyone, no questions asked – who to vote for is a no-brainer. And while American women make up only a quarter of state legislators, one in five members of U.S. Congress, and just a sliver of Fortune 500 CEOs, we are the majority of the voting electorate. We have the power to penalize those who stood with the gun lobby after the shooting at Sandy Hook School, and to reward those who stood up to the gun lobby by voting for background checks on all gun sales.
Pam Soule Genant
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