Ignoring the ‘Alpha Male Effect’

Donald Trump has been out there all year, dutifully stumping for Republican candidates, the supposed “amateur” proving a good enough politician to realize he needs firmer support in Congress and the governors’ mansions . . . and it doesn’t hurt to have those office-holders owe him a few favors.

(And of course, his campaign also gathers data on every person who signs up and attends those rallies — each and every one a potential donor and volunteer, each of whom will be contacted and urged to drive four friends or family members to the polls, a year from now.)

Trump campaigned for many GOP Senate candidates in 2018. Some won, many didn’t. Though even the Never-Trump gang have had to acknowledge he’s capable of turning losers with 38 percent approval ratings (see Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky, least popular governor in the nation with a 38 percent approval rating, two months out) into contenders who manage to pull 48 or 49 percent support on a nail-biting election day.

It happened again in Louisiana, last weekend. The GOP foolishly fought a divisive primary only five weeks before the general election. The 50-some percent of voters who voted Republican in the primary had their votes split between two candidates, Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone. In effect, that means Rispone, with only a month to go, started with about 28 percent statewide support. Despite many Abraham supporters sitting out the run-off against Democrat Jon Bel Edwards, Trump’s multiple rallies in Louisiana managed to push Rispone up to a 48 percent showing.

Any honest press corps would be running hour-long specials trying to analyze the phenomenon of the Trump Rally – something not seen in U.S. politics since the dawn of the Television Age, 70 years ago. Up till now, only serious rock stars could get thousands of people to wait in line overnight to fill a 10-, 20-, or 30,000 seat venue. And Trump doesn’t even have a bass player, let alone Keith Richards or Eric Clapton.

In fact, this phenomenon terrifies the left. (And all of America’s “Mainstream Media” are a paid-off part of the NeverTrump Left.) If with a couple of such rallies Trump can add 10 or even 20 points to the vote total of an unimpressive candidate in a state or local race, imagine what he’s going to do to some shrill crypto-communist opponent who has to bus in high-school girls to put together a crowd of 200 in some college gym next fall -– even assuming Democrats don’t nominate some old white guy who can’t remember what state he’s in, or who proceeds to drop dead of a heart attack.

Our childish, petulant, heel-kicking press corps responds by ridiculing Trump’s fans and supporters as “toothless rural shit-kickers” or “zombies.” Hey, real insightful analysis, guys. Been wearing out your shoe leather, doing interviews in the crowd? Just trying to keep us informed, right?

And when Trump manages to carry an otherwise unimpressive Republican candidate up to but not quite over the finish line, Democrats, predictably, employ a scripted talking point that even they clearly don’t believe (else why their sham “impeachment” attempts to cripple Trump’s popularity, rather than just campaigning against his trade and immigration policies, straight up?) asserting this means “The public has soured on Trump; he’s a loser.”

Republicans, in turn, look at how massively Republican candidates have been winning many of the down-ticket races in places like Kentucky and Louisiana, while the Democrat at the top of the ticket gets more votes than any down-ticket Democrat nominee by an unlikely large margin, and cry “Vote Fraud!”

TOO ‘SOPHISTICATED’ BY HALF

I’m sure there IS a lot of fraud. It would be easy to require the same ID to vote as you usually need to cash a check or use your debit card; Democrats block this under the absurd claim that it’s a scheme to disenfranchise black voters, who presumably can’t figure out how to get a photo ID. (?!!) So why are they against it, really?

“Early voting” is also custom-made for fraud, since instead of voting in a neighborhood polling place where a poll watcher might say, “Wait a minute, I know John Jones and you ain’t him,” “voters” get bused by their party or labor union to polling places in supermarket parking lots, miles from where they live, staffed by total strangers, so no one there is ever going to challenge them (if challenging is even ALLOWED, any more.)

But lots of “election analysis” is too clever by half. Come on. Don’t you think it might be THE CANDIDATES? Specifically, the way a lot of these the Republican candidates look and sound?

Have you ever been in a room with 40 or 50 people when a governor, U.S. Senator, or in many cases even a mayor or county commissioner walks in? The rule on physical stature (though not personality — see Marsha Blackburn) changes a bit with woman office-holders, but it doesn’t take guys blowing trumpets to let you know “The Guy” has arrived. There’s a perceptible “wave” in the crowd as people break off their chit-chat and turn toward the arriving alpha male. “There he is,” someone murmurs. He’s usually taller than almost anyone else in the room – sometimes by three or four inches — with broader shoulders. He’ll usually have a fairly deep voice, pitched a bit louder than anyone else’s. He’s relaxed, he smiles, he calls people by name (he REMEMBERS their names, and when he saw them last), claps them on the back, starts telling an amusing story.

We gravitate towards these men, hoping to be noticed, to have a word with them. Gosh, wouldn’t people be impressed if I could get HIM to drop by my next backyard cookout? Imagine how people will look at me when I say, “Actually, I mentioned that to the governor the last time I saw him, and he said . . .”

I started covering presidential politics in the late 1970s. Believe me, George McGovern, Gene McCarthy, and Mo Udall were big, impressive guys (as was Lyndon Johnson — seriously ethically challenged, maybe, but BIG.) People’s faces changed when they talked, even if they were just asking where they could find the nearest telephone. You WANTED to hear those guys talk. They got a response from onlookers that was quite different from that awarded the rather bedraggled looking senator from Oklahoma, Fred Harris (fellow looked a little like a duckpin), and it had nothing to do with their “policy positions,” or even their ranking in the polls.

I’m afraid this way of identifying a likely leader has been wired into us since the days when the cave men picked someone to lead them on the hunt. And if anything, I suspect this “Alpha Male Effect” has even MORE impact on women. Once of my first memories with any political context is of an evening when I would have been 10 years old, my mother and two of her faithful Democrat-voting friends returning from attending a speech by candidate John F. Kennedy in Hartford. Did the women stand in our kitchen discussing candidate Kennedy’s wise and nuanced policies on taxation, foreign relations, or Civil Rights for the Negro? They did not. “He’s so handsome!” one of them sighed. “And that red hair! Oh my goodness!” another responded, clearly wishing she could run her fingers through it.

President John F. Kennedy at his desk on his first day in office.

NOT MUCH OF A FARM SYSTEM

“Fair”? Is it “fair” that short guys don’t stand much of a chance to play professional basketball? Should we enact quotas requiring professional sports teams to suit up a certain number of overweight female players past the age of 55, or forcing opera companies to make sure 10 percent of their performers are tone-deaf?

Mind you, there are exceptions. Some tall and handsome guys fail; occasionally a small guy with talent and determination succeeds in politics or entertainment, God bless them. But why do you think the short candidates always want to stand on a box during debates?

It was widely reported at the time that those who listened to the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates on the radio thought Nixon won; those watching on television gave the exchange to Kennedy. Why? Nixon -– a serious man, with no ambition to be a matinee idol -– scowled. Kennedy (regardless of the fact he later turned out to be frequently out of his depth, especially on foreign policy) smiled, looked debonair, chuckled, seemed confident. Yet for 60 years we’ve continued to pretend that voters care mostly about the credentials, the resume, the experience, the platform, the policies.

Yes, Donald Trump was elected in large measure because for some 40 years we’ve been craving an outsider, someone willing and able to go to Washington and hose out the stables of the entire, haughty, “entitled” bureaucratic class, to shake things up, to defeat and turn out the Deep State, to Drain the Swamp. But little Ross Perot was not chosen. Little Ron Paul was not chosen. Trump is the supreme Alpha Male.

Donald Trump dutifully goes out, puts his arm around and sings the praises of whoever the GOP has nominated. I’m sure most of these candidates are decent men, fully qualified on paper. But does anyone remember Trump repeatedly traveling to West Virginia last year to stump for GOP Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who was challenging popular incumbent Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin? Manchin is a big, friendly bear of a guy who can easily dominate a room. After a big buildup, Trump calls Morrisey to the microphone, and here comes . . . this little butterball of a guy with a fairly high voice, who pulls out a piece of paper and READS HIS REMARKS like a nervous schoolboy.

Eddie Rispone in Louisiana wasn’t quite that bad, though the words “relaxed, confident, dominating” never came to MY mind. Meantime, incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards is — yep — a confident, smiling, big bear of a guy.

I was once at Aqueduct raceway, watching a friend’s grandmother pick more winners than anyone else in our party. I don’t believe she even placed a bet; she was just there for a social outing. She CERTAINLY didn’t busy herself scribbling mathematical calculations as she diligently studied past performances and quarter-mile workout times in the Racing Form. She would just wait till the horses were led out, appreciatively eye their size, musculature, and attitude, point to a big chestnut who was tossing his head, and say “That one.”

I’m sure what I’m proposing would be condemned as political incorrectness of some kind, these days (What isn’t?) But similarly, notice the folks who pretend to list all the relevant data on political match-ups usually now include photos.

Why? Isn’t that “Politically Incorrect”? Shouldn’t we condemn the choice of our elected officers based on skin color, hairstyle, or “who’s prettier”? For that matter, we also shouldn’t choose based on who’s of Jewish, Irish, Polish, Italian or WASP descent, should we? So, shouldn’t we delete their names as well, given that those can be dead giveaways of ethnicity, just assigning them random numbers, instead?

They also tell us how much money each candidate has raised. Why? If we’re choosing on the merits of their character and policy stances, who cares which candidate has raised $3 million, and which has $60,000? No, it shouldn’t matter, but the millionaire is going to win nine times out of 10, unless he starts out with a 2-to-1 voter registration deficit, or gets arrested for drowning puppy-dogs. Right? So they’re not shy about giving us THAT information. (Though for some reason, we’re never told which incumbents have become millionaires thanks to Red Chinese payoffs laundered through some kind of “Chamber of Commerce.”)

So if I’m to have sufficient data to tell you who’s likely to win, they should really give us height and chest measurements, as well as figuring out a way to offer us brief, 10-second sound bites of the candidate’s public speaking voices, so we can tell if they sound like Sterling Holloway, Elmer Fudd, or Minnie Mouse – shouldn’t they?

I’m thinking that with height and chest measurements added to voice comparisons ALONE, I could run up a better percentage of “picks” than some nerd with a pocket calculator trying to “compare and contrast” their positions on military aid to Turkey and “environmental protection.”

Fact is, the GOP in many cases just doesn’t seem to have much of a minor-league stable of candidates ready to move up to the Big Show, candidates who LOOK OR SOUND like alpha males — guys who look more like, well . . . Donald Trump.

With the exception of Big Jim Justice of West Virginia — who doesn’t appear to need much help — have you ever seen Donald Trump (6’3”) have to look UP at one of these guys?

If you find yourself saying “Funny, this character he just called up doesn’t look or SOUND much like a senator or a governor” . . .maybe you don’t really need to look a lot further.

3 Comments to “Ignoring the ‘Alpha Male Effect’”

  1. Henry Says:

    I guess the only remaining question is: when Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho finally does make it onto the presidential ballot, which party will he be running under?

  2. K. Bill Hodges Says:

    Henry, I don’t know what party, but when that day comes I’ll probably go to Starbucks!

  3. Kingsnake Says:

    DeBlasio is like 7’11” or something, and crashed out of the Democrat Klown Kar early. That takes *ALOT* of Beta …

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