SEX is ruling the populists like never before. By definition, populists appeal to “the people.” But that begs the question, which is, “What in the people are the populists appealing to?” The answer is usually emotions. The implication is that “the people” are more ruled by emotions than, than, well, who? Who is everyone else being appealed to, other than the people? Whatever the answer is demographically, in reality the others are those people who are less motivated — inspired — by emotions. This might include the educated, the socio-economically successful, and the Republicans. However, the dirty little secret is that they also have emotions, they are also motivated by emotions, they are also inspirable by emotions.
And the emotions are, in 2016? SEXUAL ONES!
No, I’m not talking about sex-Y emotions. I’m talking about sexual ones. Here’s how it works:
The essential functions of life, survival and reproduction, are played out differently in different species. In humans, males are biologically, including psychologically, focused on survival. That is their biological job. In humans, females are biologically, including psychologically, focused on reproduction. However, it is only part of their biological job. After the offspring do not need mother to be around all of the time, females join males in the survival function of acquiring resources for the nest. The age at which human offspring can survive without their mothers varies from infancy, when daycare or family help is available, to kindergarten, when school contributes to their care.
Now, carrying out survival and reproductive functions is fueled by pleasure — an emotion. Support for them arouses pleasure. When these basic functions are moved away from, there is anxiety — also an emotion. When individuals actually fail to perform survival and reproduction, there is pain — also an emotion. Pleasure, anxiety, pain.
Further, males feel these three emotions in relation to their basic biological job of survival, which includes acquiring resources for the nest and protecting it. Females feel them in relation to their basic biological function of reproduction, which includes receiving resources from their mate and feeding/nurturing the offspring. When females venture into the world outside the nest to engage in survival functions, there is not as much pleasure, anxiety, or pain. Females are more rational and less emotional, when it comes to survival functions than are men. If females do not make as much money as men, they are not as anxious or pained. If they do not protect the nest from intruders, also a survival function, they are not as pained as men. After all, their fundamental biological job is reproduction.
With this as a preamble, let’s take a look at the populists of today: Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.
Sanders focuses on reproduction issues, such as preparing the young for the real world. This is primarily a female function, biologically, and thus he arouses pleasure in them. He supports education. He wants to forgive educational debt, focusing on the preparation function. In doing so, he focuses inside the nest, on those who are not yet ready to contribute to society, the offspring themselves. Pleasure for them. He also focuses on healthcare for all, also an in the nest, female function. Pleasure for them. He focuses on equal pay of the sexes, arousing pleasure in those females, who do not have a male acquiring resources for them. He decries income inequality. This is an in the nest, female reproductive value. In the nest, each child is given an equal chance to survive and survive well. This gives pleasure to females, for it promotes the reproductive function of making the most copies of ones genes. Last, he focuses on those dirty old men, who are acquiring and hoarding resources very successfully. This touches the biological reproductive function of women to receive resources from men and disburse them to their offspring. Men who cannot or do not bring resources into the nest for their family are devalued and even scorned by women. Basically, successful women, in environments until today, were those who attracted a male, who could protect and provide for them. This still does exist, deep down for some and right on the surface for others. By denouncing men who do not share with those less able to adapt to the environment, he touches another pleasurable emotion in women. By the way, at the same time, he arouses anxiety in those engaging in male survival functions, such as acquiring resources and protecting the nest/country.
Now for Donald Trump, the other populist. He clearly touches emotions, mostly of survival, not reproductive, functions. He favors protecting our nest/country from intruders. Pleasure for men. He focuses on the economy, an issue shared between men and women, but one that generates more emotion — pleasure at success, anxiety at possible failure — for men. His notion is not to take from American men, but to take from other men, those foreigners, whom we gave jobs to. That is, to support the ability of our men to be successful at their survival function of acquiring resources for their mate, offspring, and nest. He arouses pleasure in them, when he does so. He also arouses pleasure, when he supports protecting our nest/country from would-be intruders, such as dependent immigrants, who would siphon off the resources our own offspring/families would have, and terrorists. Pleasure is aroused.
Both Sanders and Trump are inspiring. That is, they stimulate people to action, via stimulating their very basic emotions. As one, Sanders, focuses on reproductive emotions and the other, Trump, on survival emotions, and as reproduction and survival are carried out fundamentally by females and males, respectively, sex has certainly ruled populist politics this election cycle.