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Trump Appeal

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W16659454-annoyed-monkey-shouting-on-turquoise-backgroundriting on Facebook a female Trump supporter recently responded to several male opponents of the Great Chest Thumper himself: “. . . as a woman, let me tell you hot-shot men something. Women are sick and tired of lame weak ineffectual men who couldn’t win a bar room brawl! You guys are losers! Effete! ! Women have been longing for a real man to run. And, no, that ain’t Mitt Romney! That’s why Bill Clinton was so popular. Men? Do you get it? Pound your chest and show some canines! Does anyone remember Clinton v Gore? The big discussion among women was who would you rather sleep with. Clinton won.”

So here, in a nutshell, may be the best case yet for Donald Trump, the man who just whupped “Little Marco” Rubio in his home state of Florida and cleaned up in delegates across the board on Super Tuesday except for a stumble in Ohio where favorite son John Kasich prevailed. If this lady is to be believed, and why shouldn’t we take her at her word, Trump’s real secret is a kind of sex appeal. It’s not his ideas or policy proposals (how could it be since he offers none) or even his resume (he has neither governing nor political experience). It’s something more basic, something much more raw. Many of us have marveled that his seemingly malicious commentary on his opponents has gained him so much traction in this campaign so far. We’ve wondered that a man who can’t give a straight answer to a serious question, who prefers spouting epithets and vulgarisms and making faces on the public stage to substantive debate, could have racked up primary win after primary win as he has. Maybe this gal is on to something?

Many explanations for Trump’s surprising success have been proffered, some with more credibility than others. People are mad at the economic state of the country, we’ve been told, or mad at the seeming insularity of the political establishment in Washington. Or they’re mad at a president who does as he pleases, when he pleases, and thumbs his nose at the rest of us in the meantime. Or they’re just tired of seeing their country lose ground overseas to dictators and terrorists and all those who disrespect America. We get it. People want a strong leader, even if he’s the sort who lacks a clear cut program beyond making him the new boss and giving him the corner office so he can make “great deals” and hammer our geopolitical opponents into submission. But Trump’s intemperate and demeaning remarks directed at minority groups — and at women — along with his condescension towards nearly everyone, should have been a deal breaker with voters. Obviously, if these primary results are the measure (not to mention the polls) they haven’t been.

As this lady’s fevered response to Trump’s detractors on Facebook demonstrates, there’s something about The Donald that wins him the admiration of many, even many women who apparently see something almost sexy in his pumped up posturing and parlous put-downs of those around him (from political opponents to the interviewers and moderators of the media). The appeal of JFK in the sixties — fresh, young, handsome, articulate, sophisticated — gave way in the nineties to the appeal of Bill Clinton, the aptly nicknamed “Big Dawg,” whose throaty intensity mesmerized some female members of the electorate (if this lady’s assessment is to be our guide) as much as it drew a circle of willing twenty-something aides around him.

President Obama, the current occupant of the White House has some of that, too. Witness the young gals who swooned for him in tight fitting “I Love Obama” tee shirts during his own election campaigns. Now we have a new kind of appeal: the ultimate alpha male, a bullying billionaire with big hair and bigger ego who boasts about himself (even certain of his physical accouterments)  on stage while slamming his opponents as nothing more than losers and liars and diminutive never-rans.

Like the silver back in a troop of chimpanzees, Donald Trump takes us back to an earlier stage in our evolution, when leaders were chosen by how many young trees they could rip from the ground in ostentatious displays of pure primate rage, pounding their chests and baring their teeth at those around them. Here a more basic instinct surfaces as many female voters (if this lady is to be believed), and no few males, similarly inspired by the overbearing ways of the chief chimp, swoon at sight of the Big Guy doing his shtick.

The feeling of shared power, through association with someone so awe inspiring as this self-touting champion of the deal and big money, rises from deep within our primate souls to emerge in angry rhetoric in favor of the One. In chimpanzee troops the alpha male leads the way on to the next grove, and the next, of fresh young trees lush with fruits and nuts, driving other bands away. Now with Donald Trump it seems that some of us, swayed by the biggest primate in the forest, hope to reclaim the best trees in the valley again — thanks to the leadership of a silver back who won’t take guff from anyone. As tough as he is, so will we be, they’re saying, and those others will just have to get out of our way. Hey it works for chimps.

About Stuart W. Mirsky

Stuart W. Mirsky, a former New York City official who last served as Assistant Commissioner for Operations in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene before retiring in 2002, wrote a column, "The Rockaway Irregular," for The Wave, a south Queens based weekly, for more than a decade (until Hurricane Sandy changed the equation). He is an original founder of the Rockaway Republicans, one of the most active Republican groups in southern Queens, and author of a number of books, including The King of Vinland's Saga, an historical novel of the Norse in 11th century North America, A Raft on the River, a memoir of Holocaust survival, and Choice and Action, a work of contemporary philosophy addressing the implications of relativism and nihilism for our moral beliefs.

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  1. Stu, let me turn this psychological analysis around with something I’ve been saying half jokingly (and which I hope I can say without giving [too much] offense because I was a lot more like I’m guessing you and the guys at NRO were than like I assume Donald Trump was in junior HS): Both the left and right intelligentsia are having a meltdown flashback to being beaten up at the playground, and need to take a deep breath.

  2. Well I for one am looking for President Donald Elizondo Mountain Dew Camacho Trump to give his first State of the Union address next year

  3. I think if someone is to turn our “free” trade deals into “fair” trade deals, if someone is going to make Mexico pay for a “wall” and go to D.C. and ignore the entire K-Street lobbyists who have been running the nation’s capital for decades, that person needs to be really tough.

    • It’d help if he showed more smarts than your average chimpanzee jock though. Tough is fine. Mike Tyson is tough. Jesse Ventura was tough. Benito Mussolini was tough. But real leaders (the kind that succeed) need a couple of other things, too, more than the capacity to do some real solid chest thumping, grimacing and boasting about how great they are and how everyone else is a looooosssser.

      And do you really believe Mexico is going to pay for the wall Trump wants to build? If he get elected (and that’s a big if) he’ll have to try to make good on that very stupid promise so he’ll concoct some cock ‘n bull story about how he’s using trading terms or some such to convince his supremely gullible followers that he got Mexico to pay. But on examination it’ll turn out to be just so much Trump steak or Trump vodka or Trump bottled water.

      I suppose he’ll re-brand the White House if he gets that far, too. Maybe open a branch of Trump University in the East Room while he’s at it, as well.

      • like with every other political candidate, he’ll deliver on every promise he can deliver on. I don’t disagree with you on the tough “style” over possible tough “substance,” but he deserves the benefit of the doubt we give other candidates who make campaign promises. Truthfully, what has Cruz delivered on while he’s been in office? a few filibusters? reading Dr. Seuss?

        but yes, we should all agree that calling everyone “stupid” or a “Loser” isn’t enough…

        • Tough is fine. Incoherent blather not so much. The two combined belong in the wrestling arena not the political forum. Or, as I pointed out above, in a rain forest with the chimps. Gratuitous, adolescent-style insults, facial contortions and intimidation definitely belong with the genus Pan troglodyte, not us:

          Maybe Trump will show some maturity before this is over but given his track record to date, I’m not sanguine about it.

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