Clinton will have so many different paths to attack Trump on issues of concern to women that she may not know where to start. But don’t be surprised if she baits him into insulting her in ways that every woman voter will recognize. A barbed comment about his age here, a joke about his hair there, an implication about his virility over there — and Trump will respond with a sexist tirade the minute he hears about it.
Just the fact that the critique is coming from a woman — and even worse, one with her own power — will send Trump into a rage. I promise you that at some point Trump will call Clinton ugly (even if he doesn’t use that word), because he plainly believes that proclaiming his lack of sexual interest in a woman is the most cutting insult he can offer.
Few candidates have ever appealed more directly to anxious masculinity than Trump, and every time he gets in a new flame war with someone like Megyn Kelly, many of his supporters are overjoyed. Trump voters pine for a return to the familiar social hierarchies of the past — one part of Making America Great Again is a return to an imagined time when everything was perfect and certain kinds of people knew their place. Yet for every voter who thinks that, there are more who could not want to go back any less.