The Left

the Man Card

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, born October 26, 1947, is an American politician and former United States Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009. | Photo: hillaryclinton.com | Link | Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary Of State, Hillary Clinton,

Clinton's more than her gender

I'm not the least bit surprised Trump’s opening salvo against Hillary Clinton is that she’s playing "the woman card" and claiming that "if she were a man she wouldn't get five percent of the vote." I will be very surprised if Trump ever admits that if he himself weren’t a man, five percent of the vote is more than he could ever hope for.

Trump, for example, has bragged about sleeping around so much that STDs were his "personal Vietnam." Given the double standard for male and female sexuality, that would be a career killer for a female politician. Ditto a woman who bragged about her own sexual endowment or talked as mockingly about the opposite sex as Trump often does. A woman who was half as belligerent and flamboyantly arrogant as Trump wouldn't have much of a political career either.

Nor would the Trump followers who celebrate his attitudes to woman or minorities as "political incorrectness" (a term that pretends the most cliched, most conventional sexist and racist attitudes are somehow edgy and daring) still be in his camp. People who think misogyny "is no longer an issue," as one Trumpite put it, don't seem likely supporters for a she-Trump.

And that's not even considering the built-in advantages that men still have in politics. A man's right to be the leader is generally taken for granted; a woman's is suspect. A woman's success can always be written off as "playing the woman card," an affirmative action hire, or being a slut who slept her way to the top, regardless of the truth. A woman politician's family life is subject to criticism in a way a man isn't. Sarah Palin took a ton of flak over whether she was doing a good job with her kids; radio shrink Laura Schlesinger said with children to care for Palin shouldn't be running at all. I don't anticipate a male politician getting that kind of treatment in my lifetime.

Having white men run everything still seems normal and right to a lot of people. Wayne LaPierre of the NRA dismissed Obama as a "demographically symbolic president" and said he didn't want Clinton to become another such. In LaPierre's mind there's apparently no symbolism to having an unbroken string of white guys in charge (or if there is, it's symbolism he likes).

Arguing that Clinton is only getting votes because she's a woman also ignores that she and Trup have substantial policy differences. Trump advocates discriminating against Muslims, condemns Mexican immigrants as disease-ridden rapists, calls for more torture and celebrates when his people slap around protesters (not to mention he's a birther conspiracy believer). He's a man with zero experience in government. For me those are more than enough reasons to vote against him. Likewise there are people who'll vote against Clinton because they disagree with her politics, not just because Trump has a Y chromosome.

Trump belittling his opponents seems to be his preferred strategy, alongside bragging about his own superhuman awesomeness. Even so, it's also a smart move for Trump to ignore the issues and play the man card. It's unlikely to alienate any of his followers, might attract a few more sexists, and shifts discussion away from his actual policy positions, which are toxic to a lot of people.

Is it a smart enough move to win? I hope not. But I guess we'll find out in about six months.

Hillary

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Updated Apr 24, 2017 7:34 AM EDT | More details

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