Across the continent in rural New Berlin, Pa., three women—a baby boomer, a Generation Xer, and a millennial—also gathered to watch Trump’s speech. Their community is an entirely different world than upper-middle-class Orange County suburbia. Here in this borough of 900 people, residents proudly planted duct-tape-patched pro-Trump signs on their lawns. One farmer even mowed 12-foot-wide letters “TRUMP” into his 250-acre hayfield. During the speech, 58-year-old Kathy Wohlschlegel cried from joy, while 46-year-old Terri Manning cheered Trump on: “He is about to undo everything. Just about everything.” Meanwhile, 31-year-old Natalie Fox kept silent. She was the only woman in the group who didn’t vote for Trump.
None of the five millennials in sunny California or agrarian Pennsylvania voted for Trump, while all the older women did. Two millennials voted for Gary Johnson, two for Evan McMullin, and another for Hillary Clinton. Those who voted third-party knew their candidate had zero chance of winning—they were simply protesting the two dismal options they never wanted. Meanwhile, those who voted for Trump said they were voting against Clinton, who to them was basically Lucifer in a thousand-dollar pantsuit.
One man, one speech, 16 reactions from 16 women. These women were all evangelicals active in church and ministry, who upheld Biblical values such as the sanctity of life and marriage. They observed the same presidential campaign, prayed to the same God, watched the same speech—and they all arrived at divergent conclusions. With conservative Christian women so divided, how much wider is the ideological schism between 231 million voter-eligible Americans spread across race, sex, religion, social class, and geography?