Scott Adams speculates on how Trump might rhetorically disarm Hillary. He points out that the sexist card has already been tried and failed. When Hillary called Trump sexist, Trump fired back that she was (in Adams’ words) “an enabler for her husband’s womanizing”. This however still leaves room for Trump to take his own shot:
I wonder if we have seen all of the permutations of gender politics. I doubt we will see Clinton accuse Trump of being anti-male. That wouldn’t stick.But we haven’t seen Trump accuse Clinton of being anti-male. And that would stick like tar. He might be saving that one for later.
Remember that Linguistic Kill Shots such as low-energy, little Marco, and robotic generally have two characteristics that make them work:
1. The label must be a fresh one you have not seen in politics.
2. Voters must be reminded of the label every time they see or hear the subject.
Adams points out that Trump doesn’t need to actually call Hillary anti male in order to get this point across.
Trump could frame Clinton as anti-male without ever saying “anti-male.” The exact words matter less than the concept. But the words do need to be catchy in some way, so everyone wants to repeat them.
Adams calculates that perhaps half of women are anti male enough that such an accusation by Trump would only drive them closer to Hillary, but Trump doesn’t have a chance with such women either way. On the other hand, the remaining half would want to distance themselves from such an identity:
But the hypothetical half of women that do not have a grudge against men would run like the wind to avoid being labelled anti-male. It goes to identity. And identity is always the strongest level of persuasion. The only way to beat it is with dirty tricks or a stronger identity play.
Adams is right, although I think he underestimates how many women will want to distance themselves from such an identity. The reason they will want to avoid the identity is it is ugly, and women at a very deep level want to avoid being seen as ugly. When I started writing about how ugly feminism is, even the most hard boiled feminists fell over themselves to present themselves as loving, traditional homemakers. If I, a lowly beta, can have this effect on hard core feminists imagine what an alpha like Trump could do with ordinary women.
Certainly there are many ways Trump could approach this. The one word that jumped into my own mind when reading Adams’ post was scold. Trump would only need to mention the term once, in his characteristic offhand way; hard core feminists and Hillary herself would suffer a complete (and unattractive) meltdown. When inevitably pressed on his use of such a non PC term, Trump could either double down or downplay it by switching his language to the word “lecture” without apologizing for using the world scold.
Who wants to hear Hillary lecture us in that scolding schoolmarmish tone of hers for four or eight years?
Not only are scolds ugly, but this charge is a perfect match for Hillary. In her continuing quest to be taken seriously, Hillary is constantly lecturing and scolding her own supporters. This is all the more painful because of Hillary’s huge likability deficit, something even her supporters acknowledge. This is a charge that once uttered would be impossible to eradicate from the discourse. Every time Hillary started into yet another schoolmarm lecture this would be in the back of everyone’s mind, including Hillary’s. Part of Hillary’s unlikability is her obvious distaste for the need to convince people to vote for her. She obviously dislikes campaigning. Being called a scold would make her even more resentful and self conscious, which would only make the label more fitting.
On a related note, Instapundit linked to a new Trump ad about Hillary:
As Instapundit commenter Wellspring put it:
It’s damned effective. It’s a sidelong attack on Hillary’s likability, but also a way of making her appear weak and unserious in the face of the serious dangers our country faces. Or, rather, highlighting the fact that she is weak and unserious.
It’s also a way to knock her off her game. And the beginning of his work to reunify the party after a brutal primary.
I’d rate this one 8/8 well played. I’m a Cruz supporter but in terms of raw political effectiveness, this is excellent work.
EconRob’s comment reinforced this:
HRC comes across as a phony. This is one of her few unscripted moments and it just got shoved up her… The ad will tend to make her more tentative. She already looks bad on TV — the teleprompter is not her friend and she cannot be natural.
- Related from Slate: Men With Platforms Have Thoughts on Hillary Clinton’s Face and Voice
- Linked from Drudge: Social Media Explodes Over Hillary’s ‘Excruciating’ Voice [VIDEO]
- Also on Drudge: US elections 2016: Hillary Clinton sparks sexism ‘shouting’ row