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Trump and Women

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) October 24, 2016: Whatever else may be said about Hillary Rodham Clinton (born in 1947), the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential candidate, she is not a charismatic speaker. But to be sure, she is an effective debater. She is a pragmatist, not a utopian. Because she has long been in the public eye, American voters who vote for her to be the next president of the United States are probably under few illusions about her.

By contrast, her Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump (born in 1946) summons his white supporters to "Make America Great Again" -- as it was great when it emerged victorious in World War I and then again in World War II. For Trump and his supporters, the once great America they invoke represents a golden age in America's past -- a kind of utopian paradise lost.

To the delight of his supporters, Trump is an equal-opportunity insulter -- which they see as standing up to the spirit of political correctness that they see as pervading liberal and progressive journalists and others. For Trump's white followers, Hillary symbolizes the spirit of political correctness that they detest -- and also whatever they imagine as preventing America from being great again in their eyes.

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Ironically, Trump's crude bragging to Access Hollywood's Billy Bush, a member of the Bush family that includes two former U.S. presidents, in mid-September 2005 about his behavior toward women may have helped advance the spirit of political correctness today more than any feminist single-handedly could have. Indeed, in the second televised presidential debate, even Trump said that he was not proud of his recorded comments.

I am not going to quote Trump's crude comments verbatim. However, as a way to measure the crudity of his comments, consider Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel Brave New World (1935). In his darkly satirical vision, he envisions a so-called brave new world in which licentiousness, sexual gratification, and orgies are common practices -- but they always involve the free consent of the persons involved. By contrast, Trump boasted to Bush about sexually assaulting women who did not necessarily freely consent to his kissing and groping them -- allegedly because he was a star.

When the moderator Anderson Cooper asked Trump directly if he had indeed acted in the ways that he had boasted to have acted, Trump said that he had not. But his explicit denial then prompted nearly a dozen different women to come forward and describe his sexual assaults toward them.

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Thus far, no women have come forward to say that they allowed Trump to kiss them and grope them because he was a star, and no other male stars have yet come forward to say that they also kiss and grope women whenever they feel like it.

Typically, Trump has accused his women accusers of lying. He also said that he would bring lawsuits against them for defamation of character. Of course his threat of lawsuits garnered him still more free media coverage.

In his presidential campaign, Trump's most consistent strategy has been to say things that will receive free media coverage.

In the court of public opinion, Trump's accusers will probably prevail.

Should Trump emerge victorious, which is still not unthinkable, all bets are off as to what he might do, because he is so totally unpredictable.

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Should Hillary emerge victorious, the Republicans in Congress will undoubtedly continue their obstructionist tactics. As a result, she is not likely to sign any big new laws.

But should Hillary emerge victorious, Trump's white supporters will unleash a torrent of attacks on her, similar in spirit to the torrent of attacks unleashed on President Barack Obama. See Bill Press' book The Obama Hate Machine: The Lies, Distortions, and Personal Attacks on the President -- and Who is Behind Them (2012). As a result, our culture wars will continue, not subside, because white rage-aholics are virtually incapable of overcoming their addiction to expressing rage.

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www.d.umn.edu/~tfarrell
Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)
 

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