Atlantic Mag Compares Trump to Sexist Dictators, Saw ‘Red-Faced Diatribes’ for Kavanaugh

December 16th, 2018 5:48 PM

The ascension of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his “angry” supporters still looms large in the liberal psyche, as shown in two otherwise unrelated articles in the January/February 2019 issue of the Atlantic magazine. Contributing editor Peter Beinart saw “The Global Backlash Against Women,” an extremely strained attempt to link international extremists with a feminist backlash.

The online deck of headlines: “The New Authoritarians Are Waging War on Women -- Donald Trump’s ideological cousins around the world want to reverse the feminist gains of recent decades”:

When Americans look abroad these days, they see Donald Trumps everywhere: In Brazil, whose new president, Jair Bolsonaro, endorses torture, threatens to pull out of the Paris climate-change agreement, and suggests that his country was better off under military rule. In the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte has overseen the extrajudicial killing of thousands of alleged drug dealers and threatened to impose martial law nationwide. In Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has quashed the free press, enriched his cronies, and stoked fear and hatred of refugees. In Poland, whose Law and Justice Party has undermined the independence of the supreme court. Even in Italy, whose leaders demonize immigrants, bash the European Union, and pal around with Steve Bannon.

It's a tiresome comparison that never stands up to scrutiny: Which one of those countries actually resemble the USA under Trump in the slightest? It continued (click "expand"):

....besides their hostility to liberal democracy, the right-wing autocrats taking power across the world share one big thing, which often goes unrecognized in the U.S.: They all want to subordinate women.


Because male dominance is deeply linked to political legitimacy, many revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries have used the specter of women’s power to discredit the regime they sought to overthrow. Then, once in power themselves, they have validated their authority by reducing women’s rights....


Trump, Bolsonaro, Duterte, Orbán, and their ilk aren’t revolutionaries. But they, too, use gender to discredit one political order and validate another....

In each case, Trump and his ideological cousins tied their predecessor’s illegitimacy to women’s power. And in each case, their efforts to denigrate and subordinate women cemented -- for their supporters -- the belief that the nation, having been turned upside down, was being turned right-side up.

It’s easy to see how this worked for Trump. He made Hillary Clinton -- the first woman ever nominated for president by a major party -- the personification of America’s corrupt political system. But rather than credibly promise to cleanse America of corrupting financial interests, he promised his supporters -- the majority of whom told pollsters that America had grown “too soft and feminine” -- a government cleansed of the corruption of one particular villainess.

Beinart avoids the obvious: Donald Trump is an equal-opportunity insulter, men and women alike.

Here is where Beinart squeezed in references to Republican “rage” during the Kavanaugh hearings:

Commentators sometimes describe Trump’s alliance with the Christian right as incongruous given his libertine history. But whatever their differences when it comes to the proper behavior of men, Trump and his evangelical backers are united by a common desire to constrain the behavior of women. That alliance was consecrated during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, when Republicans raged against Judiciary Committee Democrats for supposedly degrading the Senate by orchestrating a public hearing for Christine Blasey Ford, who had accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault....

(In his coverage of the hearings, Beinart gave credence to the alternately unsubstantiated and delusional allegations from Deborah Ramirez and Julia Swetnick, arguing that “the additional charges make it more -- not less -- likely that Kavanaugh committed sexual misdeeds.”)

....Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations inspired women protesters to fill the U.S. Senate. Yet images of women yelling at male senators probably helped Republicans keep the Senate in the 2018 midterm elections....

There’s also a Kavanaugh link shoehorned into Charles Duhigg’s cover story on political anger, “The Real Roots of American Rage”:

Lately, evidence of anger’s destructive power is everywhere. Witness the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in which the nominee and his Republican backers in the Senate denounced the proceedings in red-faced diatribes. “This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham shouted at his Democratic colleagues. “Boy, y’all want power. God, I hope you never get it.” On the midterm campaign trail, former Attorney General Eric Holder offered a revision of Michelle Obama’s high-minded credo from just two years earlier. “When they go low, we kick ’em,” he said. “That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.”