Last week, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey told NBC late-night host Seth Meyers that his “testosterone sometimes makes me want to feel like punching [Donald Trump].”
Booker quickly followed up to say that he of course wouldn’t hit Trump, because it would be dangerous to punch a “physically weak … elderly, out of shape man” like Trump. Moreover, the senator added, “you don’t beat a bully like him fighting him on his tactics, on his terms, on his turf.”
For the record, this is not how testosterone works, but the exchange was troubling beyond the dubious science. By talking about punching the president, Booker was projecting his own masculinity, then belittling Trump’s, and at the same time trying to soar above the fray.
It’s not the first time, unfortunately, that toxic forms of masculinity have been on display during the Democratic presidential primary. I wish I thought it would be the last. In an election that will be at least in part about gender and manliness, as Democrats seek to unseat an admitted adulterer accused of serial sexual harassment, assault, and even rape by at least 17 women (accusations the President denies), Democratic men are going to have to do better.
To read more of David Perry’s op-ed, click here.
David M. Perry is a journalist and historian. He’s the senior academic adviser to the history department at the University of Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter: @Lollardfish.