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Hullabaloo


Saturday, March 26, 2016

 
Trump's "gendered armageddon"

by digby

















Josh Marshall has a good piece up about the gendered nature of Trump's run and how it informs his agenda and appeal. An excerpt:

What I've called 'dominance politics' is not only central to Trump's political success with one portion of the electorate. It is central to his personality going back decades, seemingly deep into childhood, one of the reasons he was sent to a military school as an early adolescent in the first place.

This raises another question. Does Donald Trump hate women? And I guess this begs the question of what is misogyny? I don't want to put myself forward as an expert on the issue, for obvious reasons. But looking just at Trump's case, it is not hatred of women per se but hatred of powerful women or female power itself that is the defining trait. In a society where women have become more powerful in all aspects of life for decades and where gender equality is a defining political issue, the distinction may be rather semantic. But this is about power and being out of place in the proper hierarchy of power which has Trump at the top at all times.

To put this in perspective, it is worth remembering that the race hatred which long permeated the white South (and of course in a different way did in much of the rest of the United States) was never about or at least did not start as hating black people in themselves. Southern planters imported hundreds of thousands of black slaves, brought them into their homes. Indeed, the most aggressive and unbridled defenders of what was called the Southern 'slaveocracy' were themselves literally raised by and nursed at the breasts of black women. What we call 'racism', with all its hatred and violence, was the effort to defend and preserve the white supremacy that slavery and later Jim Crow and segregation were built on. Of course, this didn't begin with Emancipation. Because slavery always rested on force and violence. But the intensity of 'racism' has always been precisely related to the degree to which white supremacy was contested. Trump's misogyny is of a piece with this.

It is all of a piece. Trump's personality and political traction is one rooted in dominance - indeed, assertions and demonstrations of dominance. We've seen it played out with his presidential competitors, often in fairly gendered terms, even with his mainly male opponents.

Two points are worth noting here.

The first is how this relates to the on-going issue of violence at Trump rallies. These aren't just stern reactions to hippie-loser protesters. These have evolved into campaign rituals where Trump and his followers play out the centerpieces of his campaign: authority, domination and violence - and Trump's ability to reassert the proper hierarchies his followers crave.

Second, this tells us why many evangelicals and other traditionalist, right-wing Christians are so supportive of Trump, notwithstanding his fairly open life as a sexual braggart and libertine: because he stands - quite convincingly - for authority, hierarchy and patriarchy.

For many of his supporters, whether they use the phrase or not, he stands for white supremacy.

All of this goes back to the earlier point we've discussed. Trump hasn't been able to maintain this stranglehold over half the electorate in spite of this stuff but precisely because of it. It is the essence of his popularity, albeit it one that is locked down into perhaps 25% of the voting electorate.

There's more and it's all worth reading and thinking about.

I'll just say this: anyone who thinks that someone running on a "dominance"platform is some kind of non-interventionist is deluding themselves. This is a guy who constantly says that foreign countries are "humiliating" us and "laughing at us." And he promises to make them stop. Does anyone think a person like that is not going to respond when it inevitably happens as it always does?

This need among some commentators to turn Trump into a closet progressive because of his idiosyncratic, ill-informed lies continues to amaze me. He's a militant, neo-fascist with all that that implies.

.