Malcolm Gladwell probes sexism and elitism in the U.S. presidential election

Canadian writer and journalist Malcolm Gladwell talks about sexism, elitism and email scandals in the U.S. election with The National's Wendy Mesley.

Canadian writer talks about sexism, elitism and email scandals with The National's Wendy Mesley

On the unpopularity of Donald Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell thinks the cause is sexism, pure and simple. (CBC)

As a journalist for the New Yorker, English-born Canadian writer Malcolm Gladwell doesn't need to be encouraged to speak up.

Ask him about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, however, and you'll be hard-pressed to get him to stop.

"I think he will be in jail within a year," he told The National's Wendy Mesley in an interview.

Gladwell believes the candidate's charitable donations and Trump University fraud case will be sources for legal headaches. 

"I mean, he's got so many legal problems, I suspect he will spend the next few years huddled with his lawyers," he said.

'Who is the elite in this battle?'

Gladwell says some of Trump's appeal comes from a sense of "unfiltered" authenticity with voters, but points to Trump's privileged upbringing as evidence that he is a bona fide member of the elite.

"One guy is the child of privilege who grew up in a multi-million-dollar household, and has every advantage handed to him on a silver platter," he said. "The other is a woman who came from the most ordinary of circumstances."

"Who is the elite in this battle?"

U.S. presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shake hands after the first debate. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Along with that privilege, Gladwell believes Trump's standing in the polls is bolstered by strong resentment for his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. 

"Trump caught 10 different breaks. This is not going to happen again," he said.

So what's the cause of Clinton's deep unpopularity? Gladwell says it's sexism, pure and simple.

"She is being penalized for having a series of traits that people find unacceptable in a woman," he said, noting the negative perception of Clinton predates her email and Benghazi scandals. "This goes back two decades now."

"To me, the most disturbing lesson about this election is that the United States is a good deal less open to women in positions of power than it would like to pretend that it is."

Watch The National's full interview with Malcolm Gladwell below:

Malcolm Gladwell on the U.S. elections

7 years ago
Duration 12:17
Malcolm Gladwell talks about sexism, elitism and email scandals in the U.S. presidential election