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When Manliness Goes Missing

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
By most available information, Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination. He's not a conservative in any meaningful sense -- he shifts his positions at whim, preaches about the worth of big government and suggests that he will personally "win for America." But after eight years of Barack Obama's passive-aggressive emasculation of Americans, many conservatives have embraced Trump because of his unbridled masculinity. He's Joe Pesci in "Goodfellas": a toxic dude who's fun to watch, but who might occasionally shoot somebody just for the hell of it. On Fifth Avenue, apparently. And receive plaudits from his followers.

This is the natural effect of the unmanning of American politics.

Obama told Americans for years on end that they were racist, sexist, bigoted homophobes who just didn't understand that our brash, confident attitude alienated people all around the world and led to terrorism against us. Hillary Clinton is running for president on the basis of her X chromosomes; America, she says, needs a female president. Bernie Sanders says that our unchecked aggressive instincts have ill-served us; we need a kinder, gentler America.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have self-castrated. Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spent years telling conservatives that Obama couldn't be stopped, and that attempts to stop him would be uncivil and counterproductive. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner did the same. So, too, has new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. George W. Bush ran on the basis of "compassionate" conservatism, implying that traditional conservatism was too musky for metrosexual America. Marco Rubio's brand of politics relies on a feelings-first approach; Rubio said last week, "If a significant percentage of the American family believes that they are being treated differently than everyone else, we have a problem. And we have to address it as a society and as a country." This is pure Obama, Republican-style.


Trump, however, doesn't bother with the niceties. He's a big, swinging set of political testicles. He says, just like a good mafia boss would, that he'll take care of all of your problems. He threatens his political opponents -- he tells protesters he wants to see them roughed up, and he tells donors to his opposition that he'll target them. He swears like a sailor in public. He unmans his competition: Jeb! Bush is "low-energy," Ted Cruz a "p----," Ben Carson a "pedophile," Rubio a "lightweight," Carly Fiorina a problem "face." He's gross and chauvinistic: He calls women "pieces of a--" and rips Megyn Kelly for bleeding from her "wherever."

He is, in short, a man in the locker room, in all of his ugly glory. He's toxic masculinity. He's not a gentleman, and he's proud of it. He's here to win, and he'll bully, threaten, and beat you until you submit.

Normally, the masculinity gap in American politics could be filled by an upstanding man -- a man, yes, but one tied to values, a man who uses the aggressive instinct in pursuit of defending the innocent and punishing the guilty. But the feminist movement has made such men obsolete. Men were simply too dangerous; it was safer to emasculate them. Now men are expected to be betas; the only alphas left are toxic alphas willing to break every taboo and violate every standard.


There's still a space for masculinity in American politics. But thanks to the vacuum of decent men, indecent men rise. Men like Donald Trump.


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