Most Trump supporters I talk to say they wouldn’t say the things Trump says about women, and some would like him to apologize. But his brand of masculinity has a powerful appeal to his male supporters—and also to many women. They firmly agree with Trump that Hillary is “playing the woman’s card”—using baseless accusations of sexism to silence her critics, or playing the victim to distract from her own missteps. This is largely the view of Machado, too, in whose career they see a double standard: She was fine with being judged for her looks when it benefited her, then cried foul when the judgment turned negative.
“I think it’s wrong the way he talks about women, but there are more important things,” says Ethan Stroh, an 18-year-old student looking forward to casting his first vote for Trump. “Plus it was in her contract to stay looking like that. She’s just using his mistakes to punish him.”
This is what women do—they manipulate, they punish—and their influence is turning society soft and weak. “Trump is just an alpha male, a macho guy,” says Steve Musselman, a 30-year-old truck driver with a chinstrap beard. “Our problem today is the squashing of the ego. The male ego is what has allowed our species to survive. But today everybody’s ultra-sensitive.”
Anyway, it’s clear Trump doesn’t hate women—just look at him. “He obviously loves his wife and children,” says Richard Hershey, an 86-year-old retired manufacturing supervisor. Of Machado, he says, “If you listen to what Trump said, he was trying to help her. He wanted to work with her and put her on a diet. So what if he jokingly said ‘little piggy’ or something? That has nothing to do with anything.”