Ed West

Does size matter for US presidential candidates?

Does size matter for US presidential candidates?
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I don't know whether men blessed with enormous manhoods are more likely to make effective leaders; social scientists probably lack the necessary data to draw any correlations between length and girth, and things like GDP per capita or the underlying rate of inflation. A few newspaper articles recently suggested that Hitler had a micropenis, but for all we know he may have been an outlier. Based on my own prejudices, I would imagine that men with quite authoritarian, right-wing political views aren't especially blessed in that department, nor do they probably make the most satisfactory lovers, but that's just one of thousands of possibly irrational beliefs I hold.

Size does seem to have become a huge issue between Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, after the Florida senator implied that The Donald was less than well-endowed in this department. The billionaire has since 'defended the size of his penis', as the CNN headline put it. Do we believe him? Since Trump previously demanded that Barack Obama show us his birth certificate to prove he wasn't a Kenyan, shouldn't Trump do the same here?

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm sure that when I was younger, American presidential elections weren't this moronic, or rude. As a child I was aware that men like Ronald Reagan, George Bush and James Baker had the same impeccable manners and grace as the old Hollywood heroes my dad liked. That was Americans for you; British society has coarsened at a faster rate than probably any other, but in recent months, American politics seems to have caught up.

It suddenly hit me the other day that conservatism in general - and American conservatism in particular - is heading towards an unmitigated disaster, and that soon we'll all have that haunted Chris Christie look.

It's not Trump's political views that should worry us though, since nationalism makes total sense to 21st-century middle-class voters, but rather his character. Michael Brendan Dougherty, who strikes me as a sound judge of political issues, pointed it all out here: Trump is laughing at his supporters.

There used to be a theory that the New York mogul, a friend of the Clintons, was actually taking over the Republican Party as an enemy mole; but maybe he's a reactionary agent provocateur setting out to show it's time to end the disastrous democratic experiment. Or maybe it's all just showmanship; an interesting idea was suggested the other day: that Trump was hugely influenced by WWE. As with wrestling, he has learned to 'break the fourth wall' by giving little hints to the audience/voters that the whole thing is a bit of a joke.

He's a natural showman from a hugely privileged background who, by getting the people onside, has taken delight in humiliating the political class of an empire with declining republican virtue. People should stop making cheap and stupid comparisons between Trump and Hitler, when the most obvious historical template is the Emperor Nero.

But don't worry; that all ended well for everyone involved.

Written byEd West

Ed West is the author of The Diversity Illusion, 1215 and All That and is writing a series of books on medieval history

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