With Carly Fiorina long gone, the Republican primary is now an increasingly nasty battle between four male candidates, and tonight’s debate is a startling example of masculinity gone rancid. Donald Trump actually boasted about the size of his penis, rebutting Marco Rubio’s not so subtle suggestions about his allegedly small hands. And Trump repeatedly referred to his rival as “Little Marco.” Short of an actual pissing match, it’s hard to imagine how the debate could more resemble the most vicious locker-room argument ever.
All of this has profound implications for the general election, with Hillary Clinton as the likely Democratic standard-bearer. The Republicans have vied for the title of who is most likely to “beat” Hillary. But in their cartoon version of manhood, they’ve left themselves vulnerable to her mockery. There are few things more emasculating than the laughter of a confident woman.