When Alyse Laemmle was born, women couldn’t vote for president. On Election Day, the centenarian will cast her vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who hopes to be the first female U.S. president. But far from viewing that possibility as historic, Laemmle says, “it’s no big deal for me, it’s the way it should be.” And other women across the generations agree.
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 4, 2016) (REUTERS) – On Tuesday (November 8), for the first time ever, Americans will be able to cast a ballot with a woman at the top of the ticket for a major political party.
For some women, the prospect of a female president is momentous. For others, it’s unremarkable.
Alyse Laemmle was born in 1916, four years before the ratification of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. She has voted in every presidential election since 1936, but this year is the first she will be able to vote for a woman. She said she will cast her vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But not because she’s a woman.
“I would so like to see her be president. If she were a man, I’d like to see her be president. She’s a very capable human being,” the centenarian said.
For Laemmle, a woman making a bid for the White House is just something she takes for granted.
“It’s no big deal for me, it’s the way it should be,” she said.
Clinton played down her gender in her 2008 primary race against President Barack Obama, but this time around urged voters not to miss the chance to make history by electing the first woman president.
It’s a message that has resonated with many.
“It’s incredible… I think for our daughters, especially, and young girls growing up, just like President Obama, what he did for four young black men in America. I think has the same significance,” said Pat Ramos, 57, who declined to say who she would be voting for.
Marla McGaw, also 57, said she was not planning to vote, but hoped that Clinton would win.
“I think it’s historic that this will be the first time, I hope, I’m hoping that she’ll win,” she said.
Others said they did not think candidates should be elected based on gender, but on their stances on the issues.
“Yes, she’s a woman and I would want a woman in the presidency at some point, but not with what’s going on right now in her history,” said one woman who gave her name only as Diane and said she was ‘middle aged.’
25-year old Lori Hindle agreed.
“I don’t really think it matters the gender as long as it’s a good president,” she said.
Clinton has made the prospect of her being elected the first woman U.S. president a centerpiece of her campaign, and has emphasized issues such as reproductive health and equal pay for women.
Her Republican rival Donald Trump has repeatedly accused her of using her gender for political gain.
“She plays the woman card more than any human being I’ve ever seen in my life. And frankly I don’t even think women like her from everything I see,” Trump told a rally in June.
“Mr. Trump accused me of playing the ‘woman card.’ Well if fighting for women’s healthcare and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the ‘woman card,’ then deal me in,” was Clinton’s response.
On the campaign trail in New Hampshire a woman with her daughter told Clinton, “my daughter says she doesn’t want you to win because she wants to be the first female president.” Clinton turned to the little girl and said, “We’ve had 44 men so when I win, you won’t have to worry about breaking the glass ceiling by being the first.”
For a group of schoolgirls in the Los Angeles suburb of Montebello, the prospect of a woman president was inspiring.
“It shows you that you can be whatever you want when you grow up, like a lawyer or the president,” said 10-year-old Kiana Wong.
“I think it’s very cool and it’s inspiring the children to do whatever they want, because normally it’s boys that run and they say that girls can’t do what boys can do. But Hillary Clinton is proving another thing that girls can do,” said Isabela Salazar, also 10.
On the eve of Clinton becoming the first woman to be nominated for the presidency by a major U.S. party, first lady Michelle Obama said her own daughters could be encouraged by Clinton’s path.
With four days left in the contest for the White House, Clinton was leading Trump by 5 percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll released on Friday (November 4).