2016 — June 23, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Maybe we are underestimating the power of misogyny


What if the Dilbert guy is right?

Trump Tilted

Donald Trump gave a “bizarre, lie-ridden fantasy” of a speech attacking Hillary Clinton on Wednesday. And according to his target audience, it wasn’t just good. It was a literal knockout.

Dilbert-creator Scott Adams has become the spokesman of the generally older, white, male-r people who take great erotic pleasure in the rise of Trump. He tweeted that Trump’s speech was “best persuasion I have ever seen. Game over. Now running unopposed.”

Sorry, 4 million people the Supreme Court stopped President Obama from protecting from deportation, we’re done!

Adams’ effusion continued on Thursday with a post about “The Humiliation of the American Male in 2016.” He traces what he sees Trump’s ultimate triumph to a dishwasher detergent commercial and v-neck sweaters, which is “the uniform of a man who is owned by a woman.”

To Adams, Trump is the epitome of the man who would never expose his waddle by wearing a v-neck and Trump would never go back to the store to get the right kind of soap for Melania.

Ergo: “I predict you will see the largest male turnout of any presidential election in American history.”

Inevitably, American males will avenge their humiliation in the privacy of a voting booth, where their wives aren’t there to castrate them by trying to make them presentable or cleaning their f*cking dishes.

The stilted lingo and worldview of “Men’s rights” — a movement that’s upset that women are allowed to decide whom they have sex with — has been pervading conservative culture long before Trump and Adams took notice. This makes sense because it fits perfectly with the conservative Prime Directive, which is to pretend the powerful are being victimized to justify victimizing actual victims.

But is there something to Adams’ logic?

Are there enough white men in America to elect Donald Trump — and is wounded masculinity such a powerful issue it could win over men of all ethnic backgrounds?

It’s possible. But remember there’s a simple formula for this, as Greg Sargent has explained:

This is the demographic trap that analyst Ruy Teixeira and others have identified: The more Trump does to maximize gains among blue collar whites, the more he may anger and alienate nonwhites and socially tolerant college educated whites, potentially offsetting any gains Trump makes among the former. By the way, this trap could be further exacerbated if Trump disgusts white women in yuuuuge numbers.

Trump does seem to be disgusting women, in a historic way.

“No Democratic presidential candidate since 1952 has carried most college-educated whites, but two national surveys released this week have showed Hillary Clinton leading Trump among them by at least six percentage points,” Ron Brownstein explains.

But the theory that men could revolt when freed from their female overlords seems a little less ridiculous to me now that I’ve listened to the first episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s new podcast “Revisionist History,” in which he used the waning success of a 19th century British painter Elizabeth Thompson to dissect the concept of tokenism and how difficult it really to break glass ceilings — and keep them broken.

Gladwell goes into the election of Australia’s first female prime minister Julia Gillard, who you can watch responding to the rampant misogyny she had to deal with from her opponents once she took power

The man she was calling out directly was Tony Abbot, the man who replaced her less than a year later.

So maybe the resistance men to seeing a woman in power is most substantive than we want to discuss. That would make Hillary Clinton’s primary victory and even her ability to compete for the presidency more impressive.

Adams himself congratulates Clinton, saying she “effectively broke the glass ceiling on the most visible and important job in the nation.” And says that her loss will be blamed on “gender discrimination against women,” an amazing tragedy in a country where v-neck sweaters have not been banned. This is a nice example of the “tokenism” that Gladwell dissects, where men congratulate women for their symbolic accomplishments, while sealing them off from actual power.

Or maybe the men like Adams who feel so humiliated by their wives, Hillary or brown people are just looking for anyone they can to blame for their failures and/or insecurities (which honestly have been exacerbated by conservative policies designed to undermine workers’ bargaining power and stability.) And their greatest humiliation will be in November, when they see just how few men who feel the same stinging sort of hurt there actually are.

[CC image credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr]