When President Trump was released from the hospital after being treated for COVID-19, he had a prescription for how Americans could handle the coronavirus.
"Don't let it dominate you. Don't be afraid of it," he said in a video from the White House. The apparent idea: that the coronavirus, which has killed at least 225,000 people in the U.S., could be wrestled into submission.
Aggressive masculine politics can fuel political dysfunction, says Kristin Kobes Du Mez, author of Jesus and John Wayne, a book about white evangelicals and masculinity.
"Militancy is at the heart of [Trump's] identity, and militancy requires enemies, and so his enemies are both foreign and domestic," she said.
Beyond picking fights with foreign leaders, Trump does so with domestic politicians and the news media. The clear idea that comes across, Du Mez says, is that "compromise is a sign of weakness."
"What we lose here is a sense of a larger common good," she said. "And this militant masculine identity really does drive our political polarization."