The precincts that swung hardest for Trump in 2016 and for the GOP in 2018 also had the highest incidence of Google searches for "erectile dysfunction," "hair loss," "how to get girls," "penis enlargement," "penis size," "steroids," "testosterone" and "Viagra."
This is new: votes for John McCain and Mitt Romney did not correlate strongly with these searches.
The search terms are a proxy for "fragile masculinity," a secret insecurity about one's manhood. Men who boast about their testosterone levels (like Donald Trump) or the size of their hands (like Donald Trump) are thought to be suffering from fragile masculinity.
The research was carried out by the Washington Post's Monkey Cage, which focuses on statistics as a means of understanding the news.
Our data suggests that fragile masculinity is a critical feature of our current politics. Nonetheless, points of caution are in order.
First, the research reported here is correlational. We can't be entirely sure that fragile masculinity is causing people to vote in a certain way. However, given that experimental work has identified a causal connection between masculinity concerns and political beliefs, we think the correlations we've identified are important.
Second, it remains to be seen whether any link between fragile masculinity and voting will persist after Trump exits the national stage. We suspect, however, that Trump's re-engineering of the GOP as a party inextricably tied to many Americans' identity concerns — whether based on race, religion or gender — will ensure that fragile masculinity remains a force in politics.
How Donald Trump appeals to men secretly insecure about their manhood [Eric Knowles and Sarah DiMuccio/Washington Post]
(Image: Bulls Balls, Washington Post)