By Eric Levitz
The historic salience of gender in our politics partially explains Trump’s surprisingly resilient standing with nonwhite voters. In a Fox News poll released earlier this month, Trump’s support among nonwhite men was two and a half times higher than his support among nonwhite women (25 and 10 percent, respectively). Last week, Jennifer Medina of the New York Times reported on the centrality of machismo to Trump’s appeal among Mexican American men:
[W]hat has alienated so many older, female and suburban voters is a key part of Mr. Trump’s appeal to these men, interviews with dozens of Mexican-American men supporting Mr. Trump shows: To them, the macho allure of Mr. Trump is undeniable. He is forceful, wealthy and, most important, unapologetic. In a world where at any moment someone might be attacked for saying the wrong thing, he says the wrong thing all the time and does not bother with self-flagellation.
… They said they saw his defiance of widely accepted medical guidance in the face of his own illness not as a sign of poor leadership, but one of a man who does his own research to reach his own conclusion. They see his disdain for masks as an example of his toughness, his incessant interruptions during the debate with Mr. Biden as an effective use of his power.
“We saw him being a boss,” said Edwin Gonzales, 31, who held a large American flag outside the Trump campaign office. “And for him to go down the escalator is basically the same thing — it’s like, ‘Dang, the boss has stepped down and he’s putting himself out there to be the president.’ That’s what’s exciting.”
As these quotes indicate, the fact that Trump’s performance of masculinity resembles a misandrist caricature — with its compulsive braggadocio, bawdy innuendos, and shameless, nigh-simian dominance displays — is a prime cause of 2020’s unprecedented gender polarization.