Gender Reversal Teaches Uncomfortable Lessons

How would the Trump-Clinton debates have been perceived if the genders had been reversed? Two professors worked with trained actors to duplicate not just the words but also the mannerisms of Trump and Clinton–only with a female actor playing Trump, now called Brenda King, and a male actor playing Clinton, now called Jonathan Gordon.

[The professors] began the project assuming that the gender inversion would confirm what they’d each suspected watching the real-life debates: that Trump’s aggression—his tendency to interrupt and attack—would never be tolerated in a woman, and that Clinton’s competence and preparedness would seem even more convincing coming from a man.

What happened, however, was quite different. Audiences in two sold out performances were shocked. They liked Brenda King and distrusted Jonathan Gordon!

We heard a lot of “now I understand how this happened”—meaning how Trump won the election. People got upset. There was a guy two rows in front of me who was literally holding his head in his hands, and the person with him was rubbing his back. The simplicity of Trump’s message became easier for people to hear when it was coming from a woman—that was a theme. One person said, “I’m just so struck by how precise Trump’s technique is.” Another—a musical theater composer, actually—said that Trump created “hummable lyrics,” while Clinton talked a lot, and everything she was was true and factual, but there was no “hook” to it….Someone said that Jonathan Gordon [the male Hillary Clinton] was “really punchable” because of all the smiling. And a lot of people were just very surprised by the way it upended their expectations about what they thought they would feel or experience.

Here’s a clip:


I'd heard about this, but now I want to watch it. Tonight, right after dinner. "

Of course, Scott Adams would not be surprised.

Scott Adams has been particularly informative this election cycle. He is a Smart guy!

Yeah, there's something interesting about a world in which the best political analysis around is coming from a cartoonist and a baseball-stats geek.

I thought there was more than this 2:09 clip but I couldn't find it. I guess I can watch one of the debates and use my imagination. Scott was pretty insightful but I think he's a bit too invested in his Master Persuader Theory.

Yep. Adams is interesting and smart, but you are correct. I think he's just too smart to believe that an idiot is president, elected by mostly other idiots.

Every President is elected mostly by idiots. Such is representative government. We are a nation and species of idiots.

Trump isn't an idiot. He may be ignorant on many topics and may bullshit a lot, but he is intelligent.

@TV: Relative to the whole country yeah he's intelligent, but relative to others in the business of running the nation? Not so much. But in that way he's like Reagan, and if he delegates well things might be relatively ok (compared to the panicked fever-dreams of many Dems). He's still an awful person and it's a shame he won, I don't think it's good for the character of the country now or in the future. But the actual changes under his watch may not be so bad.

We don't care if a track runner is intelligent; intellgence isn't a necessary attribute for all tasks. We perceive that the intelligent have done a terrific job at self-dealing in DC; intelligence is sometimes an undesirable attribute.

Would you rather have a dumb friend or an intelligent enemy?

I think his native intelligence is probably right in the range of most of the ruling class. He is more willing than other members of that class to proclaim his super-genius status, but I think it is a very common (but usually unstated) belief. He may well have lower self-regard than many of its members, and hence be more willing to delegate, while being a shameless self-promoter.

It is a shame that our political system produced the choices that it did. But I think it will have some beneficial results. I've already seen some movement towards describing this as a "weak presidency," which is the kind of presidency I ideologically prefer. The ideal would be for his actions to be weak, while his rhetoric is so strong that it leads to reining in the executive branch all the same.

As for character of the country, meh, whatever. We managed to elect multiple slaveholders as Presidents. Sometimes we choose people to work for us who have some unsavory qualities. I think it would be beneficial if we did a better job of looking at Presidents as our employees rather than our masters.

I remain most worried about the insane over-reactions to the other Team winning that we see following each transition of power. Those are what I think indicate potential trouble for the nation.

Here is some more from the NYT on January 30 -

@TV: slaveholders? Come on man, back then that was not a thing. I'm not going to dock Washington or the others for that. But I am going to downgrade Trump's intelligence for literally not reading ANYTHING. At least Reagan cracked a book or three.

As you know from my posts I'm not some anon-like hysteric about Trump. But there's no doubt he is an awful person who should never have been elected.

Adams made no judgement on the intellectual capacity of Trump - only his persuasive ability. As a Mensan, I will attest that there is very little correlation between intelligence and persuasive ability. Personally, my estimation would be that Trump is of little more than average intelligence, but that is merely my opinion, and worth only every penny it cost you. But Trump could be an idiot, just no telling. His policies are certainly idiotic - as we will soon all be too well aware.

msgkings, many people considered slavery morally abhorrent back in those days too. It wasn't a new idea in 1860. Jefferson (one such slaveholder who became President) even originally included slavery as one of the evils King George III had inflicted upon the Colonies in a draft of the Declaration of Independence:

"he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it's most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, & murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another."

Again, this was written by the same guy who 24 years later was elected President while still owning slaves. I'm not sure if there is any hypocrisy of Trump's that can even get into the same ballpark as Jefferson's here. It would be quite reasonable to call Jefferson an awful person based on this. And yet despite that I think Jefferson was a great among the Founders, and I respect him.

Sorry man, asking me to compare Trump favorably to the Founders is a bridge too far for me.

"Personally, my estimation would be that Trump is of little more than average intelligence, but that is merely my opinion, and worth only every penny it cost you."

I don't think you've spent much time around people of average intelligence then. The mean IQ of college graduates is around 115, which is the 84th percentile. If you're in a smart peer group he might seem like average intelligence compared to that group, but they may well be 95th+ percentile for the nation as a whole.

I don't think he compares favorably to Jefferson on just about any relevant metric (except not owning slaves, and it is hard to credit him for that given its illegality). My point is that I don't think you should worry about the character of the country because of the characteristics of the people we hire to run it. Sometimes they can do great things even when, in certain ways, they are terrible men.

"Sometimes they can do great things for the character of the country even when..."

Are people seriously claiming that Trump has average intelligence?

How deluded do you have to be to watch somebody make billions TWICE (admittedly losing them the first time), then become an extraordinarily successful TV personality, then win the goddamn presidency against overwhelming odds — and still go, "Meh, he's roughly average"?

And for the record, I do not like Trump AT ALL.

TV: +1

The far right went batshit nuts over Obama, calling him everything from a socialist to a secret Muslim, accusing him of hating white people and plotting to strengthen Islamic terrorist groups, etc. It was a fringe, and it was seen by most people as a fringe, but it moved the Overton window in unfortunate ways. The problem wasn't that people were willing to be critical of the president, it was that so many of the criticisms were goofy ones based on bizarre conspiracy theories. The crazies sucked all the oxygen out of the room, and so even though there was intelligent criticism of Obama, the most visible criticism was nuts.

And now we see the same pattern with Trump, albeit with a rather wider fringe. Trump strikes me as a pretty bad choice to be president, and I'm not a fan of a lot of what he's done so far, but the kind of rhetoric being tossed around about him is bizarre and counterfactual, much like the Obama=socialist communist secret Muslim Indonesian Kenyan nonsense. And again, that sucks all the oxygen out of the room, so the sensible criticisms mostly die for want of air.

Yeah! Yeah! BFD. She still wouldn't have been elected because she was a lying crook.

How about a different experiment. Get an actor to play Hillary and explain her life of crime and corruption. Or better yet get a special prosecutor to investigate her life of crime and corruption.

Man, never underestimate the ability of Trumpets to blame Clinton and Obama for every one of Trump's failings or... successes.

Like when the Russians paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a speech and shortly afterwards Hillary approved a secret agreement to give away 20% of America's Uranium. Was that Trump's fault too???

GWTW is big with whataboutism

Msgkings is big with hand-waving.

Hey, when you got yuge hands like mine you like to show 'em off.

I never heard of the US giving away uranium.

Isn't it normally sold as a market good on markets, with the exception of various control procedures to make sure none goes missing?

I'd like to hear more about this story that the USA gave Russia 20% of its uranium. Personally, I'm inclined to think it's quite bogus. But who knows? Maybe the most powerful country in the history of the planet is run by a bunch of complete retards?

"Clinton’s competence and preparedness " was because she was given the questions in advance

Hey, Trump proved last week that he can appear competent and prepared, if he reads a speech that someone else wrote off of a teleprompter.

LOL. The first President to employ a speechwriter and teleprompter! Weak!

Trump spoke extemporaneously throughout his campaign. He does shoot from the hip though, so they convinced him to use a teleprompter to stay on message with Stephen Miller's superb speechwriting.

Google "okie doke Obama" to see what happens when the Boy King has to ride without training wheels.

'...“if you’re running for president, you should not be allowed to use a teleprompter. No, it’s true. It’s true. It’s so easy.” He then mocked politicians who read off teleprompters before continuing, “you shouldn’t be allowed, because you don’t know what you’re going to get. Look what happened with Obama, where he’s a teleprompter guy. No, it’s true. … you don’t want a scripted president.”' Donald Trump, August 14, 2015

I don't know if you noticed, but Trump was elected and thus is no longer a candidate (for 2016, anyway)

Yet, Trump is a president who, apparently, has mastered the art of using a teleprompter and reading from a prepared text, ie script.

And what does an earlier version of Trump, talking about another president, have to say about such a thing? - "No, it’s true. … you don’t want a scripted president." Never let it be said that Trump worries about what he has said in the past.

Better a year of boring TelePrompTer speeches than a day of uninhibited blowhard with an unfiltered Twitter account.

How could she possibly have been prepared for questions about lead in drinking water at a debate in Flint if she wasn't tipped? How? How? It boggles the mind!

"Yeah, we are cheaters but we are incompetent cheaters so who cares?"

Isn't it more like:

"Yeah he was unprepared but the chick was cheating?"

Say what you want about Hillary but her debate prep showed competence. Annoying, ultimately illegitimate levels of competence, but competence nonetheless.

I hate to assume what others know...but it really seems like most Hillary supporters have no idea what you are talking about and pretend the Podesta emails don't exist

PS....I am not a trump supporter

I legitimately don't know enough about the Podesta e-mails; I assumed it was all b.s. like he ran a child porn ring.

What in the e-mails implicated her or her cronies?

It stuns me that you guys are surprised that someone who has been in the political spotlight for the last 30 years straight would struggle with those questions.

Even though Trump's answers were more fluffy and generally evading the actual questions, Clinton's answers were not even slightly impressive themselves.

I do not like to watch or read about US elections, because it depresses me what complete utter garbage satisfies people as "debate" for the highest office in the land. In Canada, a no-name surburban district could count on higher quality debate at the local library event than that televised world wide between Clinton and Trump.

If Trump were a woman, would his hands be so huge as they are now? It was what Americans cared during the Republican Primaries.

If Trump were a woman his hands would be the correct size.

For a woman. But would it be the right size for a president. Can small-handed person look presidential?

I don't think much of his pants suit.

Tabarrok may not be old enough to remember, but the election in 1980 (and in 1984) is the precedent for 2016. I vividly recall Reagan's performance in the debates, a performance I would call embarrassing for Reagan, as he was uninformed on the specifics, befuddled even, someone not remotely prepared to assume the office of president. But that's not what the majority saw: they saw a very likeable man, a simple man, a grandfather figure, someone who could be trusted. Reagan and Trump are very different personalities, but personalities nevertheless: Reagan the kindly gentleman, Carter the preachy technocrat, when kindly was valued and preachy was not; Trump the angry white male with grievances, Clinton the preachy technocrat, when angry was valued and preachy was not. Reagan and Trump give performances, Reagan a career movie actor, Trump a reality television star, while Carter and Clinton give interviews for a job. We are a media obsessed culture, in which personalities are far more important than qualifications. Reagan and Trump are alike in another respect: both promoted confrontation rather than appeasement with the enemy, Reagan with the Soviet Union, Trump with China, while their predecessors in office (Carter and Obama) promoted compromise and conciliation. And in both 1980 and 2016, America's status as the world's strongest nation was being challenged: in Iran in 1980 (the hostage crisis) and in China in 2016 (in trade). [To be clear, I am not comparing Reagan's qualifications to Trump's qualifications, nor Reagan's temperament to Trump's temperament, but the way they connect with voters with what are performances.]

It also helps to have a resonant message: I'll protect you from your enemies. Morning In America. Make America Great Again.

As opposed to the uplifting Democratic message: Bake that cake, bigot! All you white people hurry up and die already! You didn't build that!

I'll note that Bill Clinton and Bernie Sanders both managed a rather more appealing message.

If we'd gotten a Sanders/Bush election, my guess is that the ruling class and deep state would have lined up 100% behind Bush, and had Sanders won, we'd be seeing an establishment freak-out almost as unhinged as the current one.

Bill Clinton got into it verbally with black activists in a speech during his wife's campaign, and three black women evicted Uncle Bernie from his own podium.

The Democratic Party party is just getting started.

Blue collar worker: "my wages are being reduced by trade and immigration."

Dem politicians, BLM, Academia, trust fund Brooklyners, Journalists, DC residents, illegal immigrants: "f*** you, racist scum, Hitler, DIE!!!"

Trump: "I wil help blue collar workers"

"Started?" With what? Its own destruction?

Enough. These straw man attacks only embarrass you.

Exaggerated imitation isn't a convincing argument.

Neither you nor AG are wrong about legitimate conservative grievances, but don't come close to representing anything but your own fears when you try to imitate Dems.

You wish my imitations weren't accurate. Every candidate for DNC chair was either of color or genuflected against their white skin.

Thomas, that's what you wish they said, because then it would look like a bunch of global competitors calling out racist scum for being racist scum.

But on the important matter of ensuring access to opportunity for the American working class ... any good ideas other than shooting yourself in the foot?

someone not remotely prepared to assume the office of president.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Ronald Reagan was a natural at public administration, something acknowledged by critics like Michael Kinsley and Arthur Schlesinger. You want to see someone with a pathetic personnel operation, who throws hissy fits in front of his staff, and follows practices in staff hiring which validate Parkinson's Law, look at RIchard Nixon. You want to see someone who cannot set priorities or securely delegate authority, look at Jimmy Carter or Lyndon Johnson. You want to see someone who reads memos from his staff which conclude with canned options (to which he adds inane marginalia), look at Barack Obama. You want to see someone who cannot negotiate worth sour apples, look at Obama or Jimmy Carter. You want to see paralysis in decision-making, look at Jimmy Carter. You want to see a White House staff perform indifferently due to poor labor discipline and bad hires, look at Gerald Ford.

I attended a college lecture by Tip O'Neill, and he was asked why the Reagan administration was so successful in advancing its agenda (TEFRA, military reform after the demoralizing 70s, START). He said Reagan assembled a staff of the most intelligent and hardworking people he had ever met.

Trump, like Reagan, is like a lot of senior executives I've met: the details are your job.

Winning 489 electoral votes and 44 states might have helped.

Didn't prevent Tippy from going behind RR's back and telling the commies to ignore him, they will still work with them.

Cos Congress didn't flip. It stayed D.

Let's not forget that Hillary Clinton was a disastrous incompetent at everything she attempted. Her only reason to be on stage was she married well. Even when the deck was stacked for her, she still managed to screw it up.

Now, that's not fair. Based on her early promise, she could have made it to the Cattle Futures Trading Hall of Fame if she hadn't inexplicably retired at such an early age.

If she would have kept cattle trading at her roi she would be worth 1,000 × 100^39 today. Instead she focused on the public sector because she cares about children, women, and brown people.

Yes, as Trump pointed out, she had 30 years of bad experience.

You want to see someone who cannot negotiate worth sour apples, look at Obama or Jimmy Carter

Yea. Like Camp David Accords never happened.

Those negotiating were Messrs. Sadat and Begin. Carter is notable for a chronic inability to persuade Congress to enact major policy initiatives when the Democratic Party had north of 60% of the seats in both chambers. He was on congenial personal terms with Sen. Edmund Muskie and... well, that was it. Tip O'Neill supposedly offered one assessment of Carter in 1977 and another in late 1980. The first: "This guy is hopless,,,", the other: "you guys came in like a bunch of pricks and you're going out like a bunch of pricks"). What do you think was the source of Ted Kennedy's campaign? Congressional Democrats, who were sick of the President

That's a perfect example. They were going to make peace any way, America just paid 2 billion a year(now 6 billion) so Carter could take the credit.

What was Obama supposed to do? Bomb Israel after they started building more illegal colonization settlements on stolen land, just after Obama tried to present an opening towards better relations with Iran, Egypt, etc?

Kennedy the vigorous and wealthy youth, when vigor, youth and prosperity were wanted, even though his qualifications consisted of a wealthy father and an excellent ghostwriter, Nixon the sanctimonious hard-working scholarship student. Plus ca change.

"Only Nixon could go to China." Probably the most far-sighted act in US foreign policy history.

With Nixon's plan for "victorious peace" in the Vietnam War undoubtedly coming in second -

Back when foreign policy was based in reality and the national interest as opposed to ideological hand-wringing.

That certainly describes the domino theory - 'based in reality and the national interest as opposed to ideological hand-wringing.'

Sorry, I cannot resist pointing out how laughable that combination is, at least to the younger commenters who just might not remember how all of Southeast Asia turned communist when the U.S. finally gave up on pursuing the Vietnam War. A war that was about the Vietnamese, and not communism, as the Chinese discovered during their ill fated invasion in 1979.

'In 1979, ten years after Ho’s own life had come to an end, his suspicion was tested, with two hundred thousand soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army amassed on Vietnam’s northern border ready to invade. Their failure to make a substantive dent in the guerilla tactics that had served the Vietnamese so well against the French and Americans is an obvious takeaway. But in the larger realm of history, there are further lessons to be gleaned. Here are four others:

1. America’s involvement in Vietnam was founded on a faulty premise, and the Sino-Vietnamese War proved it.

Ever since President Eisenhower had employed the metaphor of dominos toppling one after another to explain the threat of Communism to the nations of Southeast Asia in the aftermath of Mao’s 1949 victory in the Chinese Civil War, this notion served as shorthand for the prevailing wisdom dictating American Cold War policy. The advance of Communism must be stopped in its tracks, the theory went, because the nations that had already turned red were in lock-step and had abandoned historical grievances in pursuit of the overriding common goal of spreading Marxist ideology. This was the logic that led Washington policymakers to defend South Vietnam for nearly two decades. But viewing the Communist threat as a monolith could have been prevented as early as the late 1950s when rumors of the Sino-Soviet split were starting to emerge (ironically, the only State Department veterans capable of analyzing such a development, the fabled China Hands, had seen their careers hammered by McCarthyist scare-mongering). In playing the 1972 opening to China off the pursuit of détente with Brezhnev’s Soviet Union, the Nixon/Kissinger duo signaled their appreciation for these intra-Communist fault lines.'

Nearly every election is a correction against the last one.

Nixon was elected to correct against the lawlessness of the 1960s. Carter was elected to correct the power-hungry paranoia of Nixon. Reagan was elected to correct against the uselessness of Carter. Clinton was elected to correct against the ignoring of domestic issues by Bush 41. Bush 43 was elected to correct against the lack of personal ethics of Clinton. Obama was elected to correct against the impulsiveness and taste for war that got us into Iraq. Trump was elected to correct against the ignoring of the working class.

You are argue that those were all over-corrections, but we change Presidents rarely, so might as well.

Also good points.

I thought they were just smoking weed and going around singing songs and chanting to please not drop so many bomsb or something.

What of this lawlessness? Is this related to the other folks who were agitating with endless complaints to pretty please not be treated in quite such subhuman manners by law and an important share of the population?

Edward Banfield called it what it actually was: rioting mainly for fun and profit.

Not remotely prepared to assume the office of president?

I once read some in the RP started getting a clue after they nominated Ford. Reagan gave a speech after and some knew they nominated the wrong person.

RR fought the commies in the 50s as head of SAG and was governor of California.

As opposed to an academic and state senator with less experience.

I completely avoided last summer and fall's campaign. Never listened to a Trump speech until his acceptance speech. Then started listening to him after. I turned to my spouse and said, " He's like Ronnie."

Ronnie was cracking jokes after he was shot and on his way to surgery. Trump has that ability. You might not want to underestimate that. I don't think that man uses his middle finger to scratch his nose while at a campaign rally after disparaging the other candidate. (2007/08 cough cough.)

If all you knew was that one man had been a baseball announcer and the other had been a casino owner, you'd know all you need about their natures. And perhaps all you need to know about how America has changed.

(The headline today is "President Trump's health-care plan probably would make health care pricier for core Trump voters." That is a casino-owner move.)

Wow, Trump was putting that plan together for the past 7 years?

Untrue. Reagan had a good "bedside manner", grace and charm, all of which he either honed or developed as an actor and public speaker. Moreover he was an auto didact, who read carefully and trusted his own instincts. No, he did not care about the minutiae, always. But you are selling him short.

An underestimated truism. Adults hate to be hectored and lectured.

Yeah, Reagan was a terrific president (with flaws of course as all men have). Too bad they don't make Republicans like him anymore.

"An underestimated truism. Adults hate to be hectored and lectured."

An important source of one of the current strains of populism.

Basically, the more charismatic candidate always wins (since at least Eisenhower). Sometimes both candidates lack charisma, then it's a toss up.

Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, Bush II, Obama, and Trump were all more charismatic than their opponents.

LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Bush I it was probably more of a tossup for them, although if RFK hadn't been shot he'd have cleaned Nixon's clock.

McGovern was WAY more charismatic than Nixon. The problem was that he was also perceived (possibly correctly) as incompetent, once he won the nomination. His campaign shot itself in the foot, over and over, beginning with their nomination for VP.

You're correct in that RFK would have won, HUGE, in '68.

Many good comments. My point in contrasting Reagan and Trump is that peoples' reactions to politicians (or people generally) can vary widely. Observers who are very interested in policy tend to judge politicians by their command of the details of policy, while observers who aren't don't and, instead, judge politicians by trustworthiness. Trump attacked all of his political adversaries on trustworthiness, from low energy Jeb Bush to little Marco to crooked Hillary. It was a remarkable performance by Trump, especially given that, next to Aaron Burr, Trump is likely the least trustworthy person ever to seek the office of president.

In Reagan I also saw a man with a crystal-clear understanding of the importance of economic freedom and the evil of Communism. He was not an intellectual but he immersed himself in the work of intellectuals. He was the only recent president or presidential candidate who did, or could, ask Alan Greenspan how Frederic Bastiat's observation that a fiat money always results in ruin applied to what Greenspan was recommending.

Keep in mind that at the time neoliberalism was implemented under Reagan and Thatcher, it was still somewhat theoretical that it should work.

Not to say we need to go further in that direction, but many aspects of those decisions worked very well at that time and in that situatoin, and probably would in quite a lot of situations (1980s Africa being an important exception, where the mountain of dead babies resulting from following Reaganite policies in such a different context will not soon be forgotten - both the IMF and World Bank clearly learned lessons from that situation, and continue to demonstrate and pass on that learning to this day).

They both seem just as awful as in they do in their original genders.

Yep, at least from that short clip. But as someone above already mentioned Reagan, I am not a good guide - why anyone would consider Reagan charismatic completely escaped me at the time. And why anyone would think that the person playing Trump was somehow now acceptable as a woman who employs Trump's mannerisms and words equally escapes me.

Carter and Mondale were utter nebbishes to Reagan. I saw it even then, though I couldn't stand Reagan at the time.

Nobody ever called Carter or Mondale charismatic, and Reagan struck me as just another utterly typical politician when giving speeches. Certainly able to deliver his lines better than Carter, but that is not the same as charismatic.

Agreed, and I don't think the actors achieved full "gender reversal." They carried switched-gender mannerisms into their performance. Jonathan Gordon does not have the body language of a male politician. Perhaps that was intentional, but it confuses the test.

I don’t think the actors achieved full “gender reversal.” They carried switched-gender mannerisms into their performance. Jonathan Gordon does not have the body language of a male politician.

Huh. It's almost like gender has an innate basis or something. Like some visible expression of the chromosomal pair in every cell in your body, such that the role reversal comes across as contrived and disordered.

You sound like you're Noticing too much, comrade!

I see you feel confused about this little thing we, humans, call acting.

Yes. "Acting" is the appropriate term for what I'm referring to.

Agreed, It didn't really make sense. I would have liked to have seen Hilary's responses done with Trumps tone. They did Hilary's responses done in the same tone but with a man--which was even more untrustworthy and bordering on creepy IMO. I kept thinking if this speech was delivered with pauses and changes in inflections to emphasize it would be much better. Picture Lincoln, Hitler, Roosevelt or some other great orator giving it.

The debates are circus formats devised by J-school/communications grads, who are some of the most incurious, narrowly educated, superficial people on the planet.

"...who are some of the most incurious, narrowly educated, superficial people on the planet.

But still willing to run with the unexpected results of their experiment.

Agreed. The woman in this exercise may have appeared slightly better than Trump, but the man appeared FAR worse than HRC. He reminds me of the most sniveling effeminate college guys out there....even Tim Kaine seems like Arnold Schwarzenegger in comparison.

If anything this makes it seem to me that men seeking to run for office HAVE to be aggressive, or else they come off ridiculously weak. The last President probably being a case-in-point...

"If anything this makes it seem to me that men seeking to run for office HAVE to be aggressive, or else they come off ridiculously weak. The last President probably being a case-in-point…" The one who run for president twice and won twice?

While balancing confidence and not scaring white folks.

The male actor seemed to express clear gay mannerisms. If they redid that experiment with even the same man, but he had a deep and rugged voice, I predict the analysis would be much different.

Still interesting to me, mainly as prior to watching this I didn't think a women could channel that type of Trumpiam energy without seeming shrill, and I was clearly wrong on that.

I am not familiar with your body of work, Natasha, so I don't know where you're coming from on the gay talk. But if leftists are true to their word, wouldn't "gay mannerisms" be a non-issue at worst and even an advantage for the Democrat candidate? Wasn't Hillary's main selling point "Isn't it time we had a woman president"?

Yep. They both still sound like dicks to me.

News Flash! Feminist blah blah about psychology and social relations is often false.

// "Feminist blah blah "


ANd all part of the standard leftish fixation with gender, ethnicity and contrived victimhood

This really dumb Trump-Hillary-switch idea originated from a female economist/poli-sci professor, of course

In this case, they appear to have actually devised an experiment to test the feminist blah-blah, and to have been surprised by the result. That gets full points from me! If they could find more ways to test their ideology experimentally, it would probably become a much more useful tool for understanding the world.

I like this part:

But the lessons about gender that emerged in rehearsal turned out to be much less tidy. What was Jonathan Gordon smiling about all the time? And didn’t he seem a little stiff, tethered to rehearsed statements at the podium, while Brenda King, plainspoken and confident, freely roamed the stage?

They needed this whole gender-reversed debate re-enaction focus group test to figure out that HRC was a lousy politician? I thought that was evident in...oh, 2007 or so, at the very latest.

I think the party line is that Hillary is a great speaker and politician, who would have won by fifty points if she were a man, but who was derailed by the sexism and racism (the party line isn't always very coherent) of the American people, especially Republicans. If this experiment caused one liberal college professor to spend one minute thinking instead of emoting (and I guess it had that effect on Alex), then it was worth the effort.

Bingo...still the accepted narrative, according to my Facebook feed.

If it were half as true as you suggest, you would not feel the need to trash it with such regularity. Or with such lack of specificty.

With the benefit of hindsight, it now seems plausible that a lot of valid criticism wasn't getting through to Hillary because people didn't want to appear sexist. So the narrative that she lost "because of sexism" is true -- from a certain point of view.

Both seem better to me. Probably because I'm not yet sick of the sight of these two people.

To be fair, toenail fungus is more appealing than either of these two at this point. The one truly bright spot in the election was the realization that I probably never have to pay attention to Hillary Clinton again. Alas,now I have to pay lots of attention to Donald Trump.

I haven't watched the clip yet, but +1

Hillary Clinton is the most boring person on the planet, unless it is Al Gore. And I agree with them on some issues, or at least that artificial global warming needs to be looked at.

Beyond that, why did Clinton want to be President? Even yet, I do not know, except she seemed a little warmonger in pantsuits and was "for women."

Trump wanted to lower taxes on business, prevent illegal immigration and get out of foreign entanglements.
Let is see if the CIA will allow him the latter. Oh yeah, the trade stuff too, and maybe Trump is right on that as well.

Hillary Clinton is the most boring person on the planet,

Until she showers you with obscenities or chucks a lamp at you.

I read that as "Until she showers with you" and threw up in my mouth a little bit.

It would still likely be an exciting shower. So, less boring.

Like being locked in a shower with a rabid wolverine would be exciting.

If she was a warmonger, then what do pantsuits have to do with anything?

I'll reread later today Harry Franfurt's "On bullshit". I think Trump fits the definition of bullshiter while Clinton fits the definition of liar. Successful sales people is good at saying anything that engage buyers without worrying about truth or lies. Instead of man Vs woman, this would be better framed as buying a used car from a private seller Vs buying from a used car salesman.

Then you might also want to read this link, as it uses Frankfurt's perspective regarding the importance of an oath to American democracy -

That was bizarre. I seriously hope those two authors are taking their hypertension meds.

Those two are simply more committed and more eloquent than most in my Twitter and FB feed. Sadly.

Agree with Dan. As best as I can make out, the authors have found a rather bizarre hook (the Presidential oath) on which to do the standard shtick: this Republican is uniquely awful; the previous Republicans, no matter what I said at the time, were basically decent and normal; but now that has changed. I might have believed that routine the first time or two that I heard it, but after 58 years on the planet, much of it listening to Democratic liars and morons, I have become cynical and unbelieving.

That an article pointing out that most Americans, most of the time, have accepted the idea that the president is doing the best they can in the job, using both Bush and Obama as examples, because most Americans have trusted that the person taking the oath of office sincerely believes it, regardless of their performance, would seem bizarre to some commenters is unsurprising.

That some commenters seemingly don't recognize how important good faith is in maintaining a democracy is, sadly, even less surprising.

To put it concretely - neither Bush nor Obama was assumed to be bull shitting when they swore the oath to become president, even by their opponents.

To put it concretely – neither Bush nor Obama was assumed to be bull shitting when they swore the oath to become president, even by their opponents.

Depends on the opponent. I don't think you'd have trouble finding people who felt that way. True, *more* people feel this way about Trump earlier in the presidency. Also true that Benjamin Wittes never felt that way before. But I am not sure this tells us anything profound about the constitutional importance of the oath.

That's amusing coming from the likes of you.

Not that the authors are making claims in good faith either. Rehabilitating President Bush, whose family dynasty was sidelined by Trump, does not impress. I'm waiting for them next to rehabilitate the great leader of the anti-democratic neoconservative-Straussian conspiracy: Vice President Cheney.

The article does nothing to prove that Trump took the oath of office in bad faith except to make the usual charges that he's ignorant of various provisions of the Constitution (which, sadly, is hardly unique to Trump even if he's more ignorant than others) and that his character is so much worse than most politicians that he couldn't possibly take his oath seriously. Never mind the president (whose wife lost to Trump) who took his presidential oath so seriously that he lied under oath and was impeached (though not removed from office) and disbarred as a lawyer as a result, which they dismiss as merely an issue of "personal probity."

I do recall that it took her nearly 2 or 3 days to get the story straight about what was happening in the middle of a civil war 10,000 km away in a city that was in such disorder that the US embassy was done in.

So yeah, she basically lied about it the next morning. By which I mean, gave one story, which differed from the story that came out after there was more information and more time to think about the best way to portray it.

Y'know, I think she still underplays the idea that if she'd done something, anything, real fast, that it could have made a difference. years later, we still debate the same question, with no clear answers. But what does that matter when filled with dreams of prison attire worn by the enemy you've been programmed to hate?

(She also failed to do a perp walk on minute 1 of a sequence of events that got more time of Congress than 9-11, but which led to nothing whatsoever. An updated IT policy might be useful though.)

Would you have posted this if the result was he opposite?

Nobody much would have posted it - this has been floating around for a few days at this point.

Though considering how Trump apparently hates the idea of a man being portrayed by a woman, it still would have been spread by those looking to get under his skin to see the reaction. Which is probably the majority of the American public at this point, because a twittering president is entertaining to watch in action.

I've been hoping that Saturday Night Live would stop using Alec Baldwin to play Trump (even though he does a solid job) and switch to Kate McKinnon. Trump would go apeshit.

Hillary had eight years, from her loss to B. H. Obama, to undergo gender reassignment and, ergo, enjoy better odds to win debates and become POTUS.

Tenured toddlers tragically attempting to rationalize the November 8, 2016 catastrophe when America rejected one, Obama's ruinous policies; and two, a completely corrupt, incompetent candidate, who btw is a female.

Did this economist really believe that a liberal New York academic audience, the priests of sex and skin color based morality, would disapprove of an aggressive female?

In other news, Creepy Tim Kaine's violent loser son was arreated for felony rioting after he was throwing fireworks at the heads of Trump supporters. Democrats are violent scumbags all the way up. By the way, his son was released without charges. Now I understand gun control and white privilege: Democrats are would be murderers up to and including the VP candidates son, and they get off scott free from their privileged position, but want to deflect blame from themselves and their families.

Hmm. Never knew I was a murder and violent scumbag.

To be fair, you might only support BLM because you think cop killing rhetoric and thousands of black on black murders are less important than your feelings and you might only support violent protests because you think attacking Trump supporters is less important than your feelings. You may only be a psychopath.

I'm guessing you came on here to learn something and possibly change your mind?

Actually, yes. If you had a rebuttal, you might bring it. But you are incapable. The left is a collection of anti-white racists, anti-male sexists, communists/socialists, and pretenders. Which are you?

Lighten up, Thomas...

Sometimes it seems Thomas is a complete retard.

But rest assured, he is very smart, and intends for you to hate who he hates.

Hahaha - and you must disprove to me that you are Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. You can't because you are incapable of anything but being a murderous despot who builds large golden statues of yourself.

What if Gary Johnson were a woman and Jill Stein a man?

Their vote totals would each increase by 0.1%

Right. Also, they only one the debate because actors playing Johnson and Stein weren't allowed to participate. I refuse to watch for this reason.

Was very surprised to find this here, and then the surprise reduced considerably upon noticing that the post was by Alex and not Tyler.

This is why our colleges should be boarded up with the faculty inside.

I don't like Trump, and I don't like Brenda King. Personally, I don't find Jonathan Gordon as an effective revival of Clinton's speaking style, but tbh I didn't spend a lot of time evaluating how the candidates came off in person.

These results could just be that the female actor is more compelling than the male one. Or it could be that feminists are right, women are held to different standards than men--lower ones. This would suggest that Hillary's gender gained her more votes than it lost her.

>Hillary’s gender gained her more votes than it lost her.

There is no one on Earth who doubts this.

Heh, yes. Pretty much! Many claim Hillary was held to a higher standard, I'm not sure how many actually believe what they claim though:*

Actually there are many people on Earth who think that she lost because, and only because, she is a woman. It is hard to imagine a more ridiculous proposition, but ridiculous people believe ridiculous things.

In politics, women get criticized for things that no one would criticize a man for.

Remember when HRC was "accused" of wanting power? The NERVE!!! Running for president AND wanting power.

I do think she actually wanted the power to make those decisions. But I don't think it was power lust. Some combination of wanting to do stuff she thought would be good and ... something to the effect of "what now, after this life I've had already?", something that perhaps both candidates shared.

Americans are used to politics as entertainment, with a lot of talk shows on Fox News/MSNBC etc. resembling game shows.

The opposite is true in Germany. Talk shows are very slow and mannered. Shouting your opponent down is a big no-no.
Thus, Americans get Trump while Germany has Merkel.

Exciting political content is a luxury of get when you crushed Nazism rather than enthusiastically supported it. Moreover I would argue American political shows actually require more skill because their require you to alternate between flashes of anger and calmness. If you completely lose your temper on an American political show it is a big no-no. It's all part of the fact that Americans can lose their temper without invading Poland- while Germans can't.

And no American political shows do not in any way resemble game show.

"It’s all part of the fact that Americans can lose their temper without invading Poland- while Germans can’t."

Interesting for thought.

Part of it might have to do with already being number 1, and genuine (and logical fear) of what happens if you try to go further from there.

'Exciting political content is a luxury of get when you' is what you get when you successfully revolt against a king. America's politics as entertainment is as old as the U.S., after all.

Alex, please file this post under "Rorschach Test". That's the big bucket.

I feel like whenever trump is mentioned, comments take a turn for the worst.......

"Turn for the worst" is a good Freudian slip.

Is this about sausage?

Is that the werst you can do?

And when Trump is elected, countries do.

Exactly, the last ten years were definitely Trump's fault too.

Only the centrists like us get that.

Why is this an uncomfortable lesson?

It's uncomfortable to those who are emotionally invested in the Hillary lost because of sexism narrative.

Not just emotionally. It's their everything.

Don't we need "politics isn't about policy" or similar Hansonian nostrum?

Other than the finger wagging of the actress - which bothered me - I found the two actors to be a good representation of the 3rd debate (not sure which debate the text comes from). I found HRC to be a gonad free wimp in that one, while most of the op-eds were saying either she won or it was a draw. No, her presence was *terrible*. She reminded me of a little girl reciting a poem in a summer dress and white gloves (figuratively), and the male actor came across pretty much the same way. No fire in the belly. At the time there was quite a bit of hand-wringing about the problem of how a woman can be forceful on stage without being perceived as shrewish or hysterical. She failed to find the sweet spot, but as she herself said, she's no politician. I wonder how many of us grew up in an environment where the biggest kids on the playground weren't deferred to? Size matters.

A commenter at Althouse summed it up perfectly by writing it was amusing in how it made Democrats smell their own shit.

Ha. I gave up reading her for a while, but I've gone back lately.

So the upshot would be that men are more constrained by expected gender roles than women, and a woman can more easily get away with behavior that would be considered weak/creepy/weird in a man? Seems about right. The peacock has more at stake in how he looks and acts than the peahen.

"There was a guy two rows in front of me who was literally holding his head in his hands, and the person with him was rubbing his back. "

So many men these days have no problem being girls in public.

She's far more articulate and coherent than Trump. Her prep has imposed order on his disordered speech.

Yeah, memorizing and repeating the exact same things makes her more articulate.

The average voter can hardly be expected to be an expert on any particular policy issue. So voters are reduced to judging a candidate by how confident he looks. The more defensive a candidate is, and the higher pitched his voice, the less confident he looks.

This is why elections are usually won by the most overconfident person available.

It just shows that the actual words and the truth of them don't count for much in elections. My theory is that is why we get the enormously crappy government that we do. Because we are shallow and dumb.

"Everything Hillary said was true," Seriously? Someone actually thinks that?

Well if you were a real #centrist like some of us here in the comment section, you would definitely know that Hillary is trustworthy.

Hillary would not have abused her power as President and she would have judiciously used the taxpayer's money at every chance possible.

The actors weren't particularly interesting, in fact I responded to each as I respond to the real ones; both are annoying in their mannerisms.

What is interesting about the article is how the audience reacted. With different faces what was annoying about Clinton became obvious, what is attractive about Trump also became obvious. I think what shocked them was how they responded emotionally to the Trump character.

I suspect a large proportion of the audience had similar attraction to Sanders.

I think there is an obvious need for somebody to do a study separating effects based on gender from effects based on the details of the personal style of the particular actors or politicians involved. Looking at the clip, it seemed to me that much of my gut reaction came not from the genders of the actors, but from their timing and tone when one was interrupting another.

That being said, I note that a remarkable number of women have risen to positions of political prominence from Margaret Thatcher on, even - sometimes especially - within cultures and political parties which are held to discriminate against women. Does, for example, Marine Le Pen get away with saying things that her father would be more heavily criticized for?

Fun watching the video and even more fun reading the comments. Trump has succeeded even though he has been outmanned, outspent, and "out-media'd" at every turn. My advice to all you Trump haters: Don't change. Don't learn from your mistakes. He will hand you your asses [almost] every time.

So we learned that we hate women and we especially hate men that behave like women.

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