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‘The Female Trump’

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during Republican National Convention in Washington, D.C., August 26, 2020. (RNC via Reuters)

Unlike most of us, mainstream outlets and pundits just aren’t ready to stop talking about Donald Trump. For instance, as of this writing, I count no fewer than five items on the CNN homepage related to our ex-president — which would be too many even if any of them also had to do with something even tangentially related to current events.

Despite no longer wielding his social-media accounts, Trump still manages to draw quite a bit of attention in our daily news cycle, thanks to opinion writers and reporters who appear not to have much to say anymore without him around.

Case in point: CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza, who even when not talking about Trump at all somehow winds up still talking about Trump. His article from yesterday evening is, ostensibly, an opinion piece on the political future of South Dakota governor Kristi Noem, but it bears the curious title “Kristi Noem emerges as the female Donald Trump.”

I find it hard to believe that such a headline or article would ever be written about a man in either party — just try to imagine a piece calling a Democratic politician “the male Kamala Harris.” And, for that matter, would CNN or its pundits ever consider publishing a piece with such a demeaning title and angle on the subject of Gretchen Whitmer as “the female Gavin Newsom”?

More often than not, it is conservative women who are subjected to this sort of commentary:

And then there is Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota and someone making quite clear that when if she runs for president in 2024, she will do so as the female incarnation of the 45th President.

Cillizza’s evidence for this contention is — what else — a tweet from Noem, joking about the difference between a July 4 fireworks celebration in “Trump’s America” vs. those this summer under President Biden.

With this audacious social-media post, Noem apparently has launched her bid to brand herself “as the spitting image of the former President.” Cillizza concludes with this:

The Point: For all the talk of Trump running again and the rise of DeSantis, Noem may be doing the most to raise her profile — and cast herself as the (female) heir to the former President.

The entire story here, then, is that a politician who might run for president is attempting to garner the support a) of the former president, who is a member of her party and b) of voters who supported said president. To this entirely unexciting phenomenon, CNN’s editor has dedicated a full 700 words, premised on the real kicker: Noem has the audacity to do these entirely unremarkable things while being a woman.

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