How Long Would Trump Have Lasted as a Presidential Candidate Had He Been a Woman?

5440384453_4669d0096b_zAs we move more deeply into the election season, it becomes evident that we are a deeply divided country. Government is gridlocked and the private sector does what it does best—makes more and more money for those who already have a lot of money. But there is one thing everyone seems to agree on. This is an election like no other in modern history.

CNN says, “This presidential cycle has been full of twists and turns, but there’s been one constant: Conventional wisdom has been dead wrong.” We see this most clearly in the continuing popularity of Donald Trump in spite of his outrageous rhetoric including the following:

  • “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud.”
  • “Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”
  • “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”
  • “I would bomb the sh– out of them. I would just bomb those suckers, and that’s right, I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left.”
  • “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
  • “My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”

These kinds of statements repulse many. As a trauma-informed therapist they are red flags of a person who has suffered serious abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Could you imagine a female presidential candidate getting away with these kinds of statements? It’s difficult to even contemplate.

But Frank Bruni expands our thinking in a New York Times Op Ed column, “If Donald Trump Changed Genders:”

“Imagine for a moment, the presidential candidacy of a rich, brash real estate magnate and reality TV star named Donna Trump,” says Bruni.

“Quizzically coifed and stubbornly sun-kissed, she’s on her third marriage. There’s clear evidence that infidelity factored into the demise of the first, and among her children is one conceived when The Donna wasn’t married to the other parent.

“Her sexual appetites have been prodigious, at least according to her frequent claims and vulgar cant. And she has a tendency — disturbing on its own, even more so in someone who aspires to civic leadership — to talk about men as sirloins and rump roasts of disparate succulence. She denigrates those who displease her on cosmetic grounds:

“So-and-so used to be a 9 but, with that male-pattern baldness and desperate comb-over, is down to a 6. So-and-so thinks he’s covering up that paunch with baggy suits, but we all know better.

“How well do you think The Donna would do in the polls? How far into the race would she survive?”

Bruni goes on to note that “The 2016 quest for the White House has included ample exegeses on gender and plenty of talk about double standards, but most if not all of those have pertained to Hillary Clinton.”

The truth is there are deep gender divides in our views of male and female. Most of us were raised with an interesting double standard. The things we were told men MUST BE are the same things we were told that women MUST NOT BE and vice versa. Here are a few comparisons that come to mind:

Men MUST BE and women MUST NOT BE:

  • Strong
  • Aggressive
  • Overtly sexual
  • Pugnacious
  • Athletic
  • Hairy
  • Outspoken

And it doesn’t hurt if you’re a crude and rude bully…as long as you’re a winner.

Women MUST BE and men MUST NOT Be:

  • Soft
  • Gentle
  • Passive
  • Proper
  • Curvy
  • Smooth
  • Quiet

There are two reasons Donald Trump is so popular and may very well become the next President of the United States. First, he’s rich. In a country where the playing field is tilted to help the richest 1% and tilted even further to help the richest 1/10 of 1%, being super rich is equated with success. Second, he’s a celebrity. Like being rich in America, being a celebrity counts for a lot.

I’m not sure who the first female President will be, but I do know that women like mid-life billionaires Christy Walton, Laurene Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey, along with celebrities like Beyonce, Scarlett Johansson, and Angelina Jolie, would have an easier time getting elected than Hillary Clinton.

Women like Clinton carry a double gender burden. If they’re strong and aggressive enough to be a viable candidate, they are accused of not being “real women.” If they are caring enough to govern well, they are accused of being “too soft” to be an effective President.

But there’s another reason why Donald Trump is so popular these days and it has to do with the state of the world. No one has diagnosed our present situation better or offered a way out when we’re ready to listen than my colleague Rebecca Costa, author of The Watchman’s Rattle: A Radical New Theory of Collapse. Costa, one of the world’s leading experts in sociobiology with a long history as a business leader, says “Every person I know, rich or poor, educated or not, wants to know why our government gets more in debt, our air and water more polluted, our jails more crowded, our security more tenuous and our children more violent. We appear to have lost our ability to solve our problems.”

Costa asks what caused the collapse of great civilizations such as the Mayan, Romans, and Khymer and looks below the surface. She says, “We now know that the Mayans lived with drought conditions, civil war, and growing food shortages for thousands of years prior to collapse. However, foreseeing all these problems in advance was of little use. The Mayans lacked the ability to discern the complexity of their circumstances and, therefore, had little possibility of rectifying deteriorating conditions.”

She goes on to note that the U.S. is facing a similar crisis. “Today, we face the same cognitive threshold that the Mayans, Romans, Khmer, and other advanced civilizations once encountered.” As the problems we face become more and more complex, we become stressed and depressed. Instead of facing the complexity head on and finding real solutions, we look for simple, fantasy, solutions, that promise to easily solve all our problems.

That’s why Trump is so popular. We all want solutions and many would willingly escape into a “Reality-TV Presidency” than address the real issues we face. Millions are drawn to the world according to Trump:

  • I’ll build a wall to keep us safe and make the Mexicans pay for it.
  • I’ll get rid of all the people who are a threat to our way of life. Ship them out and if they won’t leave, well….
  • I won’t put up with any shit from anyone. I’m the biggest, baddest, dude on the playground. Vote for me and you may not be rich and famous, but you can
  • pretend.
  • Forget about the complexities of gender. Men are men and women are women and if you have a problem with that…read my lips. “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”

Beating up on Trump is easy, but it only makes him stronger as the other Republican hopefuls have learned. The real question for all of is this. Do we have the courage to deal with the real-world complexities we face and find real-world solutions or would we rather live in fantasy land while the real world collapses around us? I look forward to your comments.

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  1. Bill Harrison says:

    A good essay, Jed, on this crazy situation. Among other things, it seems the long standing effort of the “neocon” right wing over the last 50 or more years to dumb down this society through long-ago engineered attacks on our educational system have worked. Not only does it seem no one is learning “civics” any more, but the high respect you and I saw for teachers and school board members in the 50’s and 60’s has been replaced with disdain and demoralizing denigration. Thus, we revert to obsolete standards, including of gender roles, which you highlight here. Thanks for writing this!

  2. Thomas E. Harvey says:

    How far would Hillary gotten if she was a man? When I was in the Marines a miss use of classified information would have gotten me a general courts marshall and a long prison sentence. Hillary gets a pass because she is a woman, a celebrity and a media darling. She is in every way more arrogant than Trump. As far as Bill Harrison’s statement about the neocons dumbing down the public just remember that it’s liberals who control the media and the public education system.

    • Very well stated. Libs seem to readily blame conservatives for the state of affairs. It’s really getting old….

  3. Bill and Thomas,

    Both comments well taken. I think we’ve got a ways to go before we get candidates that really reflect and are in support of the needs of all Americans. As it is we seem locked in conflicts, shame, and blame. I practice loving kindness, and it is a practice to look for the humanity, care, and goodness, even in those who’s beliefs and practice I disagree with. In this case I’m supporting Bernie and yet do my best to see the good in Donald and Hillary.

  4. I think the comparison of the United States to the Roman Empire is spot on.
    Bring on Nero. Or is that Trump?