By Juan Williams – – – – – –
A recent “Saturday Night Live” featured a “Weekend Update” skit with Tina Fey playing the role of an undecided, middle-aged female voter from a suburban town in Pennsylvania.
It was a funny sketch, at one point skewering GOP nominee Donald Trump as “a drunk clown on the street.”
But the premise is no joke.
The pivot point of this election was the moment white women settled on Hillary Clinton.
In early September, the Washington Post and Survey Monkey had Clinton up 23 points among white women with a college degree. But as of mid-September, Trump was still leading among white women without a college degree.
Now, according to a PRRI/Atlantic poll conducted as the video of Trump’s hostile talk about grabbing women was released, non-college-educated white women are split, with Clinton and Trump each winning 40 percent of their votes.
Keep in mind that white women without a college education preferred GOP nominee Mitt Romney by 20 points over President Obama in 2012. Among all white women, Romney won by 14 percentage points but still lost among women of all races by 12 points — and lost the election.
Trump’s failure to defeat Clinton among white women with no college education, combined with her edge among college-educated white women — as well as her huge advantage among black, Latina and Asian women — has created an overall 33 point advantage for Clinton among all women, according to the PRRI/Atlantic poll.
That is unprecedented, so much so that the poll looks like an outlier.
But a FiveThirtyEight average of national polls done in October still gives Clinton a 15 point lead among women. And that edge among women is the heart of the growing Clinton lead over Trump both in national polls and in swing states.
The Tina Feys of America — white female voters in the suburbs of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as well as the suburbs outside Cincinnati and Columbus, and Orlando and Tampa — are roaring.
A CBS Battleground poll taken last week found Clinton leading Trump by 8 points in Pennsylvania, 48 to 40. And here’s the real kicker: 53 percent of Pennsylvania women told pollsters that the tape caused them to view Trump in a worse light.
This trajectory is likely to get worse for Trump as Election Day approaches — not least because several women have now come forward accusing him of various kinds of sexual misconduct and assault. The GOP nominee has vehemently denied those allegations.
Women are the majority of voters. They cast 53 percent of the total votes in 2012. This year, it could be higher.
In previous elections, top political consultants, including Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, did brisk business advising candidates on the best way to reach white women of all economic classes, from “soccer moms,” to post-9/11 “security moms” and post-recession “mortgage moms.”
A year ago, before the primaries, Clinton appeared to have an advantage with women as the likely first female nominee of a major political party. But in the Democratic primaries, she had trouble attracting support from younger women, especially young white women.
And before the disclosure of the lewd tape of Trump bragging about making unwanted sexual advances to women, he was holding the overall advantage among white female voters.
In the stretch run of the presidential campaign, the Clinton camp is not going to stint in its efforts to drive women to the polls.
A devastating new round of television ads is being run by the Clinton campaign aimed at women.
“I fought for my country in Kosovo and Iraq, and I’ve been a Republican all my life. But I’m the father of three girls,” a male voter says in one of the ads. “I can’t stand hearing Donald Trump call women pigs, dogs, and bimbos. And I sure don’t want my daughters hearing it. I want my girls to grow up proud and strong in a nation where they’re valued and respected.”
The Clinton campaign is getting a major assist from elected Republican officials.
Here’s Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), the most senior Republican woman in the Senate: “Donald Trump’s lewd comments are the latest in a series of remarks he has made ranging from inappropriate to reprehensible that demonstrate why he is unsuitable for the presidency.”
Here’s Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), the most senior Republican woman in the House. “Trump doesn’t represent our nation. I was not with Trump before and I’m not with him now. Trump must withdraw.”
As the most senior elected Republican, Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) announced that he could no longer defend his party’s presidential nominee and instead wanted to focus on preserving the GOP’s majority in Congress. Ryan knew his only hope of achieving that goal was to bring suburban women back into the fold. That meant he had to dump Trump.
Last week on this page, I wrote about how the Clinton campaign was making shrewd use of micro-targeting to depress Republican voter turnout among Florida’s Cuban American community.
As we enter the final three weeks of the campaign, every appeal — including every answer Clinton gives in Wednesday night’s debate — will be targeted to those women in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio.
As things currently stand, the odds are strong that female voters — particularly the Tina Feys of America — will be responsible for electing the first female president next month. That’s no joke.
Juan Williams is an author and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.