Donald Trump’s worldview is primal. It’s all about wielding power and authority. It’s about dominating others. In this paradigm, forcing a man to endure attacks on his wife is more humiliating and emasculating than forcing a man to endure attacks on himself. So it’s probably no surprise that this is one of his “go-to” moves.
We’ve seen it before. Remember when Donald Trump attacked Jeb Bush’s wife? Bush made the mistake of demanding an apology—which never came. Bush then basically had to move on, which was not a good look for him.
From where I sit, [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] is handling the Trump-ian attacks on Heidi Cruz much more wisely. He’s not asking for an apology—and he’s not pulling any punches, either.
“Donald, you’re a sniveling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone,” Cruz said. “Real men don’t try to bully women. That’s not an action of strength. That’s an action of weakness. It’s an action of fear. It’s an action of a small and petty man who is intimidated by strong women.”
In a year when the political rules have changed, one thing seems to be constant: You’ve got to defend your wife. Vigorously.
Let’s compare how Michael Dukakis botched his response to the question about whether he would support the death penalty if his wife were raped and murdered to how Bill Clinton forcefully handled Jerry Brown’s attacks on Hillary Clinton during the 1992 Democratic primary (Brown suggested that Bill was funneling state money to Hillary’s law firm).
“You ought to be ashamed of yourself for jumping on my wife. You’re not worth being on the same platform as my wife,” Clinton sneered.
Ted Cruz is strenuously responding the way Bill Clinton, not Michael Dukakis, did. And, I suspect, we will see similar results …
Note: The author’s wife previously advised Ted Cruz’s campaign for U.S. Senate.