Kate Sheppard

Kate Sheppard is a political reporter at Grist, and a former Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles


As Tom noted yesterday, it's the white women, not men, who sealed the deal for Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania. This is, I would venture, in large part because of the so-called "Wal-Mart Women" demographic, which is particularly strong in places like Pennsylvania. White women in general were 47 percent of the Democratic electorate in PA, the biggest race/gender demographic in the state. Clinton won them by more than 30 points, 66 percent to 34 percent. But here's where Tom's post didn't go far enough: it's not just one state and one day. The same was true in Ohio, where she won this group 67 percent to 31 percent. And since women vote in much higher numbers than men, this is a crucial demographic across the country and in the general election. --Kate Sheppard


Business Week argues that it's not about the white men this election, but rather lower-middle-class white women, the "Wal-Mart Women" as they call the demographic. These are the nearly 20 percent of American women who shop at Wal-Mart once a week or more, and they are, for the most part, a solid swing voting demographic. Forty-one percent of frequent Wal-Mart shoppers make less than $35,000 a year, (compared to 25 percent of the general population), and 39 percent have a high school education or less. We talk about the soccer mom vote, which is wealthier and more educated, and we talk about the blue-collar male vote. But the importance of "Wal-Mart Women" in the general election is often overlooked. It's clear now that this demographic helped Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania yesterday. In national match-ups, Clinton beats John McCain 50 percent to 44 percent in this demographic, but in a McCain- Obama race, McCain wins 51 percent to 41 percent. These are women worried about jobs,...


Conversation topic of the day: has anything changed since Ohio and Texas? Is anything at all more clear because of yesterday's vote in Pennsylvania? Despite winning yesterday, Clinton 's chances of winning the nomination have steadily declined, as the margins between her and Obama have held constant, and the pool of available super- and pledged delegates has shrunk considerably. The arguments about arguments about the superdelegates, fundraising, etc. will inevitably continue, but has anything really changed in the past month and a half? I open it to you, dear readers. --Kate Sheppard


So we already know that Earth Day is a giant, population-controlling enviro-feminist plot . But the adventures in wingnuttery are only beginning. Via Feministing , we also learn that feminism is actually bad for the environment, according to Jack Cashill of WorldNetDaily : Indeed, stay-at-homes moms save the state's highway infrastructure from meltdown, especially since a "nanny" often drives to the working mom's house, putting three cars on the road where otherwise one would do. Homeschooling moms further ease the strain on the ecosystem by keeping their kids off the road. The California judged who ruled that "parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children" obviously did not prepare an environmental impact statement before doing so. That's right. Women should be staying home so they can conserve gasoline! He goes on to say that divorce creates a need for more houses, therefore also increasing the use of resources, yet another environmentally-damaging effect...


Turning our eyes from the primary, via Matt , Kevin Carey brings us a much-deserved takedown of last weekend's "Education Life" supplement in the Times on the recent moves by elite universities to offer more financial aid to low- and middle-income students. It's not about getting them more money, says Carey, it's about getting them into these institutions in the first place: The problem with this narrative is the implication that the socioeconomic makeup of a given college is primarily a function of who chooses to apply to go there. It's not. It's a function of who the college chooses to let in. This is not to say that these programs aren't a step in the right direction, in and of themselves -- they are. And all else being equal, they've probably had some effect on increasing the economic diversity of the applicant pool -- although it would be nice to see some hard numbers to back this up. The unfortunate reality is that students from lower socio-economic groups are far less likely to...