Photo by Ninian Reid

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. 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.

This is domination-based culture in a nutshell. 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.

It’s time we understood what MAGA authoritarians love about Trump. The national debt is bad? Or is it good? It actually doesn’t matter. Which argument gives an authoritarian like Trump the advantage today? That’s the argument he’ll use. If it changes 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, on chaos, on creating rage in those who oppose it. It’s primary goal is to be destructive.

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 it’s 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, racism, sexism, religious intolerance, and more. It all comes down to an appetite for dominance bred into us via trauma inflicted by a culture of disconnection.

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, what would make 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 this is the end game.

MAGA voters don’t care about what’s rational. They don’t care about what’s coming next. They don’t care about anything but supporting Trump’s “strong man” authoritarianism, creating chaos and brutalizing others. Domination culture has traumatized them and only by traumatizing others can they feel validated.

Trump’s MAGA is not a political movement. The GOP’s purpose has morphed into fostering a constant cycle of domination-based violence aligned with white nationalist domestic terrorism, compromised frightened Republican politicians, and vast far right wing media reach. The end game is here.

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.




Working toward a culture of healthy masculinity. Links to our books, podcasts, Youtube and more:

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Mark Greene

Mark Greene

Working toward a culture of healthy masculinity. Links to our books, podcasts, Youtube and more:

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