Presidential Campaign

Trump’s campaign hangs on the gender card

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If Donald Trump’s campaign has been characterized by anything, it is that each week is bigger, bolder and more brash than the last.
With plunging polls and odds nobody would want, he is willing to put everything on the table and jeopardize the stability of American democracy.
{mosads}One call he made was “horrifying”, to use Hillary Clinton’s knee-jerk response. The prospect that he may not accept the outcome and legitimacy of a Clinton presidency is distinctly dangerous.
And with that Trump as decided to play his gender card.
At the heart of government sits strong institutions that exist above the political fray. By hedging his bets Trump is compromising this.
In his bizarre version of masculinity he cannot bear to lose to a woman he is attempting to take an axe to the pillars of government. This scorched earth strategy is but a protection for his, seemingly, fragile machismo.
Tainting a candidate with electoral illegitimacy isn’t just fundamentally dangerous to the system of government, it is rooted in sexism and bigotry.
Claims of an invalid election are almost exclusively thrown at female politicians.
A paper by Andrew Buys at the University of Alberta considered legitimacy in politics to be overwhelmingly male. This is, of course, hardly surprising when we consider the realities for female politicians.
For Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, criticism was swift. Following initial acts, one politician said that she had “lost credibility after 90 minutes as Prime Minister”.
And down under, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard faced allegations of being illegitimate because of commanding a minority government. Indeed, some protestors called her a “witch” and a “bitch”.
Gillard recently lamented gendered attacks and insults as a way of “precluding a woman from leading simply because she is a woman”.
Clinton is experiencing some of this on the 2016 campaign. All you have to do is listen to some Trump supporters at his rallies.
By stoking illegitimacy Trump may be threatening the heart of American democracy.
New York University professor and constitutional lawyer Laurence H. Tribe recently wrote for CNN that “domestic tranquility and global stability depend on every major political faction cooperating in that orderly transition and refraining from all such threats”.
Yet none of this is truly shocking, is it?
Attacks on female politicians are often gendered, usually harsher and linger for longer periods of time than their male peers.
Combine this with the underrepresentation of women in office and you get a perilous position.
Underneath the sexist language and deliberately destabilizing efforts Trump must face the fact that he is playing the gender card, not Clinton.
Conrad Liveris is a workforce diversity specialist and expert on women in leadership.

The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.
Tags 2016 presidential election Democratic Party Donald Trump Hillary Clinton I'm With Her Make America Great Again misogyny Republican Party rigged election Sexism United States
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