President Trump faces significant challenges when it comes to growing his support among women voters, according to Virginia Tech political expert Farida Jalalzai.

“Trump’s weak leadership regarding COVID-19 could be a major vulnerability for him overall and with women,” according to Jalalzai. “The economic problems the U.S. now is facing will also be hard for him to overcome. Women, given their preponderance in caregiving roles professionally and as primary caregivers in the home, could have particularly negative feelings about Trump’s handling of COVID-19 and the economy — and the intersection of these two issues.”

Jalalzai is the associate dean for global initiatives and engagement in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses heavily on the representation and behavior of women and minorities in politics and the role of gender in the political arena.

Tweeting recently that Joe Biden will “destroy your neighborhood and your American dream,” Trump wants to gain traction by playing on fears about racial and class integration, according to Jalalzai.    

“He hopes to appeal to suburban voters, especially women, by making them think their neighborhoods and communities will be unsafe under a Biden presidency. He’s betting that suburban moms will view him as a better leader on issues of safety and security,” she said. “Some will undoubtedly support Trump, but I don’t think he will make the headway he hopes to with these types of appeals.”

About Jalalzai

In addition to her role as associate dean for global initiatives and engagement at the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Jalalzai is a professor in the Department of Political Science. Her research focuses heavily on the representation and behavior of women and minorities in politics and the role of gender in the political arena.

Jalalzai is the author of two books — “Shattered, Cracked or Firmly Intact? Women and the Executive Glass Ceiling Worldwide” and “Women Presidents of Latin America: Beyond Family Ties” — and co-editor of “Measuring Women’s Political Empowerment Worldwide across the Globe: Strategies, Challenges and Future Research.” Jalalzai holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and African and Afro-American studies from SUNY College at Brockport, and she earned both her master’s degree and her doctorate in political science from the University of Buffalo.

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To secure a live or recorded interview with Farida Jalalzai, contact Bill Foy by email, or by phone at 540-998-0288.

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