Feature: On 100th anniversary of women's vote, U.S. women could decide November's elections



Poll workers wearing personal protective equipment work at a polling site in Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, June 23, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

**Women's key role in the process of choosing the leader of the United States was set in motion 200 years ago. It was signed into law a century ago, and will make history in one way or another this November. **

By Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The month of August marks the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote in the United States, and underscores women's key role as a crucial voting bloc in the United States.

On Aug. 26, 1920, U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed into law the 19th Amendment at 8 a.m. in his house in Washington, D.C. The signature ended a struggle for vote that started a century earlier, according to the National Constitution Center's website.

One-hundred years later, that action holds special significance in this year's elections, as women voters, especially suburban married women, will play a key role.

"It's going to be primarily married suburban women who are going to decide this election," Republican Strategist and TV news personality Ford O'Connell told Xinhua.

College student Jennifer Estrada takes part in a rally for gun control and anti-racism, in El Paso, Texas, the United States, Aug. 7, 2019. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

O'Connell noted that married females generally vote Republican, whereas unmarried younger women generally vote Democrat. While marriage has been on the decline in the United States and that has been reflected in voting, "generally it's about married versus unmarried."

O'Connell said in the months leading up to November's election, the president will appeal to suburban women voters' sense of safety.

"One of the things that Trump wants to get out there is the idea of safety and security, or law and order," O'Connell said.

That sentiment was shared by Susan Inez, 65, a retired suburbanite nurse in the U.S. state of New Jersey. Inez described herself as a "big-time" Trump supporter who cast her ballot for the president in 2016 and plans to do so again.

Inez said she will be closely watching both the Democratic and Republican conventions, and that her main concerns for this year's elections are the "economy and patriotism."

A voter asks for information at a polling station in San Francisco, the United States, March 3, 2020. (Photo by Li Jianguo/Xinhua)

Jennifer Mitchell, a 40-year-old suburbanite in the U.S. state of Virginia, told Xinhua that her main concerns are the "economy and safety," and that she will vote for Trump, as she did in 2016.

Indeed, among female Trump supporters, "the riots are going to play a big part," O'Connell said, referring to the violence and looting that took the entire nation by storm a couple of months back.

The mayhem is still occurring in a handful of U.S. cities, most notably Portland, amid Republicans' accusations that Democratic mayors of those cities refuse to quell the violence.

In a recent tweet, Trump wrote that "the 'suburban housewife' will be voting for me ... They want safety are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood."

Indeed, in another nod to suburban women, Trump recently reversed a 2015 rule that made it easier for affluent suburbs to offer low-income housing, which can lower home values.

"You know the suburbs, people fight all of their lives to get into the suburbs and have a beautiful home," Trump said recently. "There will be no more low-income housing forced into the suburbs ... It's been going on for years. I've seen conflict for years. It's been hell for suburbia."

Voters cast ballots at a polling station in Los Angeles, California, the United States, March 3, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Ying)

Trump on Tuesday announced he would grant a full, posthumous pardon to Susan B. Anthony, the renowned women's rights advocate who played a crucial role in the movement to grant women the right to vote.

Trump announced the pardon at a Tuesday celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote.

An all-male jury found Anthony guilty in 1873 of illegally voting in the 1872 presidential election. She was fined 100 dollars.

"She was never pardoned. What took so long?" Trump said Tuesday.

But while Trump in 2016 beat rival Hillary Clinton in the suburbs by a margin of 49 percent to 45 percent, many suburban women voted against Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections.

At the same time, Democratic candidate Joe Biden picked Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate in an effort to get more women voters, as she is the first African American woman to run for vice president. Harris will be taking her own message to women in the coming months before November's elections.

File photo taken on June 27, 2019 shows Senator Kamala Harris of California being interviewed after the second night of the first Democratic primary debate in Miami, Florida, the United States. Former U.S. Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced on Aug. 11, 2020 that he picked Harris as his running mate. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 60 percent Americans, among them 87 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of Republicans, believe Biden's pick stands as a "major milestone" for the United States.

On top of this, Trump may have his work cut out for him, as a July Wall Street Journal/NBC News found that the president fell behind Biden among suburban women by a margin of 39 percent to 56 percent.

The same poll found that a total of 40 percent suburban women thought Trump was doing a good job, whereas 59 percent disapproved.

Moreover, Trump has made sexist remarks, and was captured on video several years before his candidacy making offensive remarks against women. Many women voters who do not approve of Trump regard him as overtly sexist.

Whichever way women vote in November, women's key role in the process of choosing the leader of the world's largest economy was set in motion 200 years ago. It was signed into law a century ago, and will make history in one way or another this November.