By Yu Wang and Longfei Zhang

Hillary Clinton - Woman Card
Photo Credit: Matt Rourke/AP

During his victory speech on April 26, 2016, Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of playing the ‘woman card’, and said that she would be a failed candidate if she were a man. Clinton fired back during her victory speech in Philadelphia and said that “If fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the ‘woman card’, then deal me in”. The ‘woman card’ subsequently became the meme of the week and its effects are much debated. According to CNN, New York Times, Washington Post and The Financial Times, this exchange between the two presidential nominees signaled a heated general election clash over gender.

Trump vs Clinton
Photo Credit: Reuters

Here, we present an image-driven method to measure the impact of the ‘woman card’ exchange between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Building from a unique dataset of the two candidates’ Twitter followers, we first examine the transition dynamics of the two candidates’ Twitter followers one week before the woman card controversy and one week after. Then we train a convolutional neural network to classify the followers’ gender and study how women in particular are reacting to the ‘woman card’ exchange.

Official Woman Card
Official Woman Card


Timeline of Follower Growth
Photo Credit: Yu Wang
Photo Credit: Yu Wang

How many people are we looking at? A Lot!

Hillary ClintonDonald Trump
Woman Card PointBeforeAfterBeforeAfter
New Followers7226654820116456115246

We also carefully track the mobility of the followers.

1.Mobility of Hillary Clinton’s Unfollowers

Bernie SandersDonald TrumpTed Cruz

2.Mobility of Donald Trump’s Unfollowers

Hillary ClintonBernie SandersTed Cruz

Our analysis finds that the percentage of female followers has increased and the percentage of female unfollowers has decreased after the controversy.

This suggests that the ‘woman card’ comment has made women more likely to follow Hillary Clinton, less likely to unfollow her.

Clinton's New Followers
Photo Credit: Yu Wang


Clinton Unfollowers
Photo Credit: Yu Wang

Interestingly, the ‘woman card’ controversy has not affected the gender composition of Trump followers.

Trump's New Followers
Photo Credit: Yu Wang
Trump's Unfollowers
Photo Credit: Yu Wang