Domination Culture is What the GOP is Selling
We’re up against a deadly dangerous enemy, and we’re still asking the wrong questions.
As the Republican Party leans more and more into what seem to be impossibly contradictory positions, we need to understand Trump’s base isn’t about what’s rational. It’s about the visceral pleasure of domination.
It was repellent to me, when, during the 2016 primary, Trump created nasty little nick names for every other GOP candidate. Back then, the first time I heard him call Marco Rubio “Little Marco” I was disgusted. This was straight up playground bully talk.
One simple act would have changed everything in the 2016 primary. If Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz, who’s wife Trump openly insulted, had walked over and punched Trump in the face on national television Trump would have failed. But they did not. They took the bullying, were cowed, and Trump became president. What we saw was how basic domination culture bullying determines status in that hierarchy.
The GOP flipped fully to domination-based political culture. Every existing understanding of political decorum, however frayed it may have already been by decades of Fox News disinformation, went out the window when Trump went full playground bully on national TV.
Trump’s domination-based MAGA supporters live by a simple set of rules. One punch in the face, and Trump would have been seen as vulnerable, weak, as a clown or a fool who can’t back up his words. Instead, something very different happened.
Instead MAGA got what they hunger for. Not leadership. Not consistency. They got bullying dominance, in whatever form it arrives in. Dominance is what MAGA authoritarians love about men like Trump and DeSantis. The national debt is bad? Or is it good? It actually doesn’t matter. Which argument gives authoritarians like Abbott or DeSantis the advantage today? That’s the argument they’ll use. If they say the opposite tomorrow, all the better.
Jerry Fallwell, Jr. gets caught in a compromising sexual situation? He will be back. It is hypocritical for evangelicals to have him return? Domination culture thrives on hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy as the core expression of domination culture is spelled out in this thread by A.R. Moxon. Until we understand that domination in all its forms is now the defining Republican Party “value” we will not fully understand the threat we face.
Moxon writes: “So: attacking the very form of voting they themselves enjoy and utilize is indeed hypocrisy, but it’s entirely consistent with the only true fascist value, which is domination. Without the hypocrisy, how can you tell you’re truly dominating others?”
My work is about our domination-based culture of masculinity. I write about the links between masculinity extremism and white nationalism, Christian nationalists, racism, sexism, religious intolerance, and more. It all comes down to an appetite for dominance bred into us via trauma inflicted by this very same culture.
The path that got us here has been incremental, rooted in the Southern Strategy when Republican’s began to build a base among disaffected Southern racists. It was dramatically accelerated when Republican strategist Roger Alles took over Fox News 1996.
People pose the question, why do working class Republicans consistently vote against their own interests? That’s the wrong question. The question is, how do we fight a culture based entirely on dominating others? Because that’s MAGA culture. And we are at the end game.
MAGA voters don’t care about what’s rational or what’s coming next. They don’t care about anything but supporting “strong man” authoritarianism, creating chaos and brutalizing others. Domination culture has traumatized them. Only by traumatizing others can they feel validated.
MAGA is not a political movement. It is raw authoritarianism. The GOP’s purpose is now to foster a constant cycle of domination-based violence aligned with white nationalist terrorism driven by vast far right wing media reach. The end game is here.
The constant acceleration of the downward spiral of authoritarianism means MAGA must keep finding new populations to subject to political, legal and physical violence. Which means all of us will sooner or later be the next target, even MAGA.
This won’t end until we vote the GOP out of every Federal, state local office. #BlueWave2022.
This article is a single chapter from Mark Greene’s new book Remaking Manhood in the Age of Trump: Collected writings in the battle against dominance-based masculinity 2017–2021. Pick up your copy today. Available at Amazon.