Gender-Swapping Trump and Clinton Debate Experiment Gives a Whole New Perspective On Why Trump Won [VIDEO]
In a remarkable and revealing experiment about the impact of gender in the 2016 election, two self-described "liberal" professors joined forces to put on an "ethnodrama" based on key moments of the presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, in which actors of the opposite sex played the roles of the two candidates, exactly mimicking their every move and intonation. The results of the gender swapping experiment stunned both professors and the mostly liberal audiences who attended the performances.
NYU reports that while both professors say they "began the project assuming that the gender inversion would confirm what they’d each suspected watching the real-life debates: that Trump’s aggression—his tendency to interrupt and attack—would never be tolerated in a woman, and that Clinton’s competence and preparedness would seem even more convincing coming from a man," the result of the gender reversal was almost exactly the opposite.
Many in the audience were "shocked" to find the male version of Hillary to actually be harder to admire than the real Hillary, while the female Trump seemed to "shine" in moments they'd remembered the real Trump "flailing or lashing out." The overall experience for many Hillary voters was both "bewildering and instructive."
Maria Guadalupe, an economics and political science associate professor at INSEAD, first had the idea for the project after watching the second debate between Trump and Clinton. For help, she approached educational theater professor Joe Salvatore, who specializes in plays called "ethnodramas," which are theatrical adaptations of real life events documented in media artifacts, interviews, transcripts, journal entries, etc.
In an interview with NYU published Feb. 28, Salvatore explained how surprised he and his colleague were by their reactions to the female Trump (renamed "Brenda King," played by Rachel Whorton) and the male Hillary ("Jonathan Gordon"/Daryl Embry).
"We both thought that the inversion would confirm our liberal assumption—that no one would have accepted Trump’s behavior from a woman, and that the male Clinton would seem like the much stronger candidate," said Salvatore. "But we kept checking in with each other and realized that this disruption—a major change in perception—was happening. I had an unsettled feeling the whole way through."
Salvatore noted that at one point he turned to Guadalupe and, in reference to the female Trump, said, "I kind of want to have a beer with her!"