President-Elect Donald J. Trump has been pegged by some as a bully, pathological liar, sociopath, narcissist, sexual predator and demagogue. Even children whose social and emotional intelligence is not fully realized can recognize him as a man with great psychological flaws or “crazy” as my 9-year-old daughter found a word to make sense of his behavior.
There is another moniker for the President-elect that ties all of Trump’s political and business shenanigans into a coherent image. Donald Trump is a Tournament Male, and his political rise signifies a return of the tournament male in American society.
Tournament Species and Pair Bonding Species
Within the geeky corridors of evolutionary biology, a tournament male finds power and reproductive opportunity through competition. Mating is proceeded by winning the blood-sport, more or less. Tournament Females have to endure the power of the tournament males whose bodies tend to be significantly larger and stronger, yet they benefit by having more competent offspring. When it comes to rearing the young, they are left to it on their own. These are the social realities of life as a Tournament Species.
Pair Bonding is the other genetically wired mating approach in species. Pair Bonding Species court, mate, and rear their young as relative equals. The journey is much more a cooperative venture that involves the time and energy contribution of both sexes. Though it is always noted that cuckoldry is part and parcel of pair bonding relationships.
As it has turned out, human genes carry a mix of both tournament and pair bonding behaviors. This simple biological truth is at the core of humanity’s long history to survive and sort out how we should live. It doesn’t take much to see that the history of the world has been an immense elaboration on the reproductive pros and cons of being a species of power or a species of reciprocity.
A Tournament Male is not a “Cuck(old)”
If we view our American infatuation with Donald Trump through the lens of behavioral genetics, suddenly the pattern becomes clear. His constant effort to expose the weaknesses of others and fabricate his own imagined prowess- tournament male. His shameless act of grabbing “pussy”- tournament male. The use of the term “cuck” by the hardcore “Red Hats” to denigrate Hillary supporters- tournament male.
Even Trump’s campaign promise to “Make America Great Again” is an argument for the power of the tournament male. While Hillary Clinton’s “Stronger Together” on the other hand is a clear invocation of pair bonding values. In the end, each campaign was essentially acting as a voice for this ancient dilemna of how to live out our genetic instincts.
We can see that Trump’s appeal has been his total commitment to embody the principles of the tournament male, which heretofore wasn’t acceptable in presidential politics. The tournament male engaged American Politics like an overt blood-sport. Display, threats, social-humiliation, deception, sexual conquest worked together to create an appearance not of recklessness but of strength.
Being a powerful man or having a powerful man is still highly attractive to the ancient forces within us. Trump’s brashness won enough votes to secure the fertile womb of Lady Liberty. Let it be a lesson to all who have denied the relevancy of tournament energies. If they don’t have a healthy place to express themselves, they can always reappear in places we never would have imagined...places like the Oval Office.