Culture

New Research Reveals Why American Men Are Having a Trump Moment

(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Donald Trump drew some snickers a while back with this response to a question posed on MSNBC:

Who gives you guidance on foreign policy matters?

“I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things … I know what I’m doing and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people and at the appropriate time I’ll tell you who the people are … but my primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff.”

Funny stuff, right?

Not so fast.

A new study shows that men often buttress their arguments with a very similar source: themselves.

What they found, first of all, is that self-citation represents a significant chunk of all academic citations. There were 8.2 million citations contained in the 1.5 million papers they studied. Nearly 775,000 of those citations, or about 10 percent of them, were of authors citing their own work…

But more strikingly, [researcher Molly M.] King and her colleagues found a huge difference in self-citation patterns between men and women. “Over the years between 1779-2011, men cite their own papers 56% more than women do,” they found. And in recent decades, men have stepped up their self-citation game relative to women: “In the last two decades of our data, men self-cite 70 percent more than women.”

Trump would be proud.

Is this a new phenomena? Does this highlight a true gender divide or is it a statistical anomaly? Is it just true of male academics or does it apply to men in general? And, more importantly, is this one of the various reasons why Trump is connecting with voters?

The reality show star’s popularity defies nearly all conventional wisdom. We want leaders who are humble, self-deprecating and willing to listen. They must show patience, caution and wisdom.

Trump offers none of the above.

He wants us to know he’s got the problems licked before he even takes the oath of office. Why? He has a very good brain, remember.

Sure, he may hire the best, but he’s smart enough to handle virtually any contingency if needed. When trouble strikes, he’s his own best counsel.

We always want our leaders to have our back, to be ready in a crisis. Part of Trump’s appeal is the image that he’s ready for the job on Day 1, no matter that he hasn’t served in office in any capacity.

That clearly matters to some voters. Trump may not have realized it, but his campaign could be catching a cultural wave few people could have predicted. And he has only himself to thank for it.