Events following Trump’s victory should remove all doubt that American elections—and perhaps American life more generally—are increasingly being feminized. Hissy fits, snarky gossip and claims of dog-whistle hate are now major political weapons and millions in the Democratic coalition—women, blacks, gays, the campus-based cupcake nation—are desperately seeking sanctuaries. It would be hard to exaggerate this transformation. Try to imagine old-fashioned pols, typically males, hugging and crying as their candidate went down to defeat. Would Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daily “get the vapors” and tearfully whine about a Republican in the White House and with his ward-heeler cronies retreat to a safe space with cuddly puppies, playdough, and coloring books to begin the process of healing? Clearly, if such a response occurred post Nixon’s 1968 victory, the Mayor’s career would be over. Not even the dutiful Democratic Blessed Sisters of the Poor in his own parish could respect such a girly man and would demand that “Hiz Honor” take it like a man, down a few stiff ones with “the boys,” stop complaining and get busy stealing the next election.
As the onward march of feminization transforms losing an election into a psychological trauma requiring therapy, what’s next”? Perhaps an officially organized post-election “healing” with a pseudo scientific name—Post-Election Defeat Traumatic Stress Disorder—so therapists can try to bill insurance companies for its treatment.
To summarize what “manly” politics entails, let me describe its sports equivalent—the spontaneous, 3-on-3 or 4-on-4 pick-up basketball game played in schoolyards and Y’s. The game rests on unspoken rules and has flourished across generations. Most importantly, it perfectly embodies a “manly” political style that is slowly becoming antiquated thanks to the feminization of society (though I suspect that women can, at least in principle, play this hard-nosed version of pick-up basketball though the rules may have to be modified to ban score keeping so “losers” do not feel bad about themselves).
Critical to this game are limits regarding permissible behavior and these constraints all rely on social trust, or at least good manners and deeply imbedded norms, since there are no referees or written rules to be enforced. Yes, the aim was to win, and there would also be a degree of fuzziness about allowable rough and tumble behavior, but under no circumstances were personal attacks permitted. Who wants a trash talker teammate who bad-mouths an opponent’s unconventional private life with “Yo mama” taunts? There’s a New York City basketball league for gays, and while I have not seen the games personally, I suspect that the rules are identical to all pick-up game rules. It’s a guy thing.
Alas, in today’s feminist inspired “the personal is the political” world the boundaries between the political and all else are fading. Everything is just an opportunity to hit back politically as if being a bitchy scold can reverse a democratic election. So, for example designer Sophie Theallet has announced she’s refusing to dress the next first lady, Melania Trump. In her words, “The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by.” Meanwhile, Vice-President–elect Mike Pence was booed by the cast and some audience members of the Broadway hit, Hamilton. One cast member lectured Pence—“We truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us.”(But like a real man, Pence brushed off the harangue.) Can anybody recall the widely despised Richard Nixon attending a play and being lectured by a cast member about the Vietnam War?
Meanwhile, at least according to the NY Times people are cancelling Thanksgiving dinners or otherwise rearranging events so as to avoid Trump supporters. This included one couple who moved their wedding to Italy to escape having to socialize with relatives who voted for Trump. In another case an adult child asked her mother to stop talking politics to her grandchild when she heard her mother favorably discuss Trump’s views on immigration. The Forward, a Left leaning Jewish publication recently featured an article called “7 Rules for Surviving Thanksgiving with Your Trump Loving Relatives.” Oye!
Similarly banished from the pick-up game would be the chronic complainer, a player who knew (or claimed to know) every rule in the book and happily called violations that never seemed to bother any player—the three seconds rule, palming the ball, double dribbling among relatively minor infractions that would only be called by paid referees in a college or professional game. It was not that players were outside the law; rather, such calls, even if technically justified, would kill the game by taking the fun out of it. Nobody, save perhaps some future lawyers, wanted to waste five minutes debating the charge of goal-tending (putting one’s hand directly over the rim to influence the ball). Far worse was the sore loser—someone who refused to accept the outcome. Better yet, I’d love to see a 4-on-4 game pitting Washington Post columnists versus those from the NY Times cheered on by their respective colleagues from the fashion and food sections.
Of the utmost importance was the norm of game over when it was over and everything, including the rough play was to be forgotten (the possible exception would be those who intentionally risked serious harms by, for example, purposely tripping an opponent). Nor would gloating by winners be tolerated—all would agree that it was “a good game” and that’s that and woe to those who insisted that the losers were on the wrong side of history. Among older participants the game’s end often meant going out for a few beers and, no doubt, after a few librations, nobody would recall past elbowing let alone the score. Think the recent kiss and make-up meeting of Trump and Romney. After all, in the world of pick-up games, as in old-fashioned guy dominated politics, today’s opponent might be tomorrow’s teammate and who wants a basketball game to spark a vendetta?
To appreciate how this “guy” style of political conflict is becoming undone, keep in mind that the Trump victory was absolutely unambiguous compared to countless other presidential election outcomes. Recall the election of 1828 when the House chose John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson despite the former having fewer popular and Electoral votes, the 1860 election of Lincoln who won a mere 39.9% of the popular vote in a four-way contest, the bizarre Rutherford B. Hayes win over Samuel Tilden in 1876 in which Tilden won the popular vote and fell a single vote short in the Electoral College but lost thanks to Republican skullduggery or Kennedy’s 1960 razor thin victory over Nixon as a result of a last minute flood of questionable Chicago votes and so on and on.
Yes, many were upset, but when it was over, it was over. The slogan was “wait to next year,” not “the resistance must continue.” Losers “took it like a man” and looked to the future. Nobody marched or rioted in the hope changing the outcome. Nor were there calls for the Electors to violate voter instructions to put into office a candidate that did not win a Electoral College majority.
We now live in an era of the permanent campaign—the day after the election aspirants for office begin plotting their run for office. It may grow even worse as losers refuse to let go, keep moaning and groaning about their grief all the while wishing for a miracle that can reverse the outcome (e.g., a Russian backed hack of voting machines) or pressuring the winner to adopt the loser’s policies so as “to heal” the wounds suffered by Hillary voters. In other words, in our feminized New World Order, everybody will win, nobody will feel bad and we’ll all get plaques commemorating our participation.
In the meantime, before it is too late, let me suggest that the Donald invite Hillary out for beer and pizza at an Irish gin mill where they get soused and bond by trading X-rated bimbo stories. Great post-game therapy and I personally guarantee that all will be forgiven.