With his complete disregard for political correctness, outrageous comments, and unending promises for a better America, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump has tapped into something truly powerful and equally destructive: an emboldened vocal base of young, discouraged, and angry men.
While it may seem ludicrous that a group of men, at a time when men are largely still in power, are feeling voiceless and disenfranchised, Trump is embracing them with open arms and taking advantage of their frustrations for campaign momentum.
Sadly, the press is eating it up, bringing Trump and his angry male supporters, young and old, into the spotlight. Even as political pundits and news media continually debunk Trump's viability as president, they have contributed to his impact by activating a mostly male voter constituency that has previously lacked any political news value.
On the surface, this may seem to be a good thing for America. Young men have become a hot topic in media after decades of being completely ignored in political campaigns. As usual, though, political coverage has been largely sensationalist, focusing on the controversy, instead of offering balance and perspective. If Hillary Clinton, as the likely Democratic nominee, hopes to capture a sizable majority of the male vote -- overcoming low favorability ratings among men -- and set herself apart from this destructive group, she needs to activate the still-ignored majority of men.
Her first step must be to launch her own attack on the press and point out the biased coverage of Trump's male supporters, which has focused on violence and hostility, instead of unearthing the real issues confronting American men today. Because she has little hope of gaining the support of Trump's main constituency, it is time to call these angry men out, identify them for who and what they are, and instead shift focus to positive male role models, who represent that vast majority of American men today, including those who are out-of-work and economically struggling.
Here are five steps for Clinton to regain her momentum and generate the vocal and active support of men, and especially young men.
1. Speak directly to men who are struggling economically. With manufacturing jobs rapidly declining and women capturing 60 percent of the college degrees required to succeed in today's economy, many of today's young men are feeling displaced, ignored, and disadvantaged. Twenty-five percent of white men without a college degree, and a higher percentage of non-white men, who could once make a decent wage in labor-related fields, are now unemployed, fueling the frustration and resentment that Trump has effectively exploited. Clinton needs to openly acknowledge these men and the new realities they're confronting as legitimate and important issues. She must assure potential voters that job creation for men and women, educational opportunities, and educational loan relief will be a top priority of the Clinton administration. Just as Clinton often speaks to groups that are primarily women, she must renew focus on men who are struggling economically, speaking directly to them with authenticity and clarity and demonstrating a genuine understanding of their challenges.
2. Empower men who support women. When Trump declares, "You know what? The women get it better than we do, folks," it's clear that the "folks" he's referring to are angry men, who are still clinging onto an outdated masculine ideal. Clinton must identify and empower men who already support her and who are more likely to vote for her than Trump in the general election. Standard political rhetoric around jobs, education, and economic growth will not work. Instead, Clinton's campaign requires a call-to-action that embraces men who support women's rights, pay equality, LGBT rights -- but who also care about job creation, education opportunities and educational loan relief. The Clinton campaign needs to create advertising and social campaigns that highlight a diverse group of young male Hillary supporters with whom other young men can identify.
3. Create a Better Men for Clinton organization that empowers a political base of positive male role models, stay-at-home dads, men who are primary caregivers, and men who care about being better dads, better husbands, better boyfriends, better co-workers, and better Americans. Call them "Better Men" with intentions of casting angry, male Trump supporters in a negative light. In order for this to work, Clinton must own the differentiation between her male supporters and Trump's.
4. Attack the press for their obsession with Trump and his base of angry male supporters and their failure to fairly present America's "better men" who reflect the best qualities of modern masculinity compared to those, personified by Trump's most vocal advocates, who would prefer a return to outdated -- and even immoral -- social and political policies. A "real man" today is not defined by his control and authority; he's defined by his support for human equality and positive humanistic advances. These men are in the majority, and the press is tacitly advancing Trump's campaign through a failure to equally cover and honor them.
5. Don't debate. As a final recommendation, Clinton should dismiss Trump's viability as president and announce that she will not be disrespected or disgrace the presidency by being subjected to his demeaning, derogatory, defamatory, and incendiary politics. Clinton should refuse to participate in debates, which will be no-win events for her and will only increase Trump's standing as a viable presidential option because of the mere fact that he is on stage. Instead, she should dismiss Trump entirely and invest heavily in direct and authentic communications with voters through social media platforms.
Jack Myers is the author of the new book, 'The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century,' available at Amazon and all bookstores. For information on the emerging masculinity crisis, visit www.futureofmen.com.