In the middle of the Civil War a colonel named Robert McAllister from the 11th Regiment of New Jersey tried to improve the moral fiber of his men. A Presbyterian railroad contractor in private life, he lobbied and preached against profanity, drinking, prostitution and gambling. Some of the line officers in the regiment, from less genteel backgrounds rebelled.
They formed an organization called the Independent Order of Trumps. In sort of a mischievous, laddie way, the Trumps championed boozing and whoring, cursing and card-playing.Trumps -- Trump.
1860s "less genteel" -- 2016 less educated. Coincidence or moral history repeating itself? At the very least, it does give one pause.
In her book "The Gentlemen and the Roughs," Lorien Foote notes that this wasn't just a battle over pleasure. It was a contest between two different ideals of masculinity. McAllister's was based on gentlemanly chivalry and self-restraint. Trumpian masculinity was based on physical domination and sexual conquest. "Perceptions of manliness were deeply intertwined with perceptions of social status," Foote writes.
And so it is today...
...Donald Trump's presidential campaign is a revolution in manners, a rejection of the civility codes of the educated class... Trump embraces a masculine identity...built upon unvarnished misogyny.
Trump's misogyny is not the historical moralistic misogyny. Traditional misogyny blames women for the lustful, licentious and powerful urges that men sometimes feel in their presence...
...Trump's misogyny, on he other hand, has a commercial flavor. The central arena of life is male competition. Women are objects men use to win points in that competition. The purpose of a woman's body is to reflect status on a man. One way to emasculate a rival man is to insult or conquer his woman.It just seems so childish. All that's missing is the Saber-Tooth Tiger skin suit and the club.
Writing for Slate, Frank Foer has one of the best (and most disgusting) compilations of Donald Trump's history with women. Most of the episodes are pure dominance display.
For example, A.J. Benza was a writer who confessed that his girlfriend had left him for Trump. Trump called into a radio show he was appearing on to brag: "I've been successful with your girlfriend, I'll tell you that," Trump said. "While you were getting onto the plan to go to California thinking she was your girlfriend, she was some place that you wouldn't have been very happy with."
When the commentator Tucker Carlson criticized him, Trump left voice mail bragging about how much more sex he gets. He told an interviewer that you have to treat women like dirt.Charming and oh, so classy.
It's not quite right to say that Trump is a throwback to midcentury sexism. At least in those days negative behavior toward women and family members was restrained by the chivalry code...Trump's objectification is uncontrolled. It's pure ego competition with a pornogrified flavor.
In this way, Trump represents the spread of something brutal...
...In the realm of cultural politics, Trump voters...are participating in a descent into darkness. They are supporting a degrading wrong. This is the world your daughters are going to grow up in.It's an excellent analysis; and when you look at the number of people showing up at Trump rallies, to be perfectly honest, it scares the cr*p out of me.
You can read Mr. Brooks' entire op-ed article here.