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‘Trumping’ America’s Liberal Elite: The Failure of Political Correctness

Thursday, November 17, 2016 2:23
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Kirsten Powers
USA Today

Over the past 18 months, whether in Midwestern airports or New Hampshire and Iowa hotels, I learned the best way to spot a Donald Trump supporter was to note who was remaining silent.

As Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz or John Kasich voters enthusiastically shared their reasons for supporting their candidate, a family member or friend would often stand by quietly.

When pressed, if they came clean, it was often with downcast eyes or an apologetic smile: “I’m voting for Trump,” they’d almost whisper.

A few months ago, an Uber driver told me he was voting third party, then tepidly announced he was voting Trump as I exited the car. Why didn’t he just tell me this in the first place, I asked. “Because I thought you would judge me,” he said.

Here we can see why Donald Trump’s constant inveighing against political correctness was so ingenious. It forged an unlikely but unshakable bond between a Manhattan billionaire who had manifestly lived a life of “New York values” with conservative white Americans who feel under constant assault by a cultural elite that treats them with contempt.

 Perhaps more importantly, it ultimately inoculated Trump against allegations that many believed would be his undoing: that he was a racist and misogynist who bragged of sexually assaulting women.

Trump’s success among women was in part a reaction against enforced political correctness (Image Source:

After all, these same voters have watched as every Republican candidate in recent memory has been accused of waging a “War on Women.” If Democrats are going to claim that Mitt Romney and John McCain hate women (and they did), then they shouldn’t be surprised when voters ignore them when they say Donald Trump hates women. If every Republican is a misogynist, then no Republican is.

While many liberals have dismissed the idea of political correctness as a right-wing manufactured hysteria, it is in fact a real thing. That Trump has stretched its meaning to encompass pretty much any horrible thing he wants to say makes its existence no less real.

Conservative white Americans have watched (often fearfully) as liberal cultural elites demand that everyone fall in line with their agenda or risk being called a homophobe, racist or misogynist. The concept of persuasion and debate has been overridden by a quest for immediate and forced cultural conformity. My friend Sally Kohn, the liberal commentator, summed up the left wing view fairly honestly when she told me in a recent debate over free speech that, “If [conservatives on campus] feel like they can no longer speak against positive social change, good.”

This is a paradigm where honest disagreement about abortion makes one a woman-hater, holding orthodox religious views on marriage equates to gay-bashing, and refusing to cop to white privilege — even if you are a working class white person struggling economically — defines you as a racist.

A recent Slate article explaining why a slight majority of white women voted for Trump asserted that these female Trump supporters were “self-loathing” racists who were doing the bidding of their husbands and fathers. This is the omnipresent lefty trope Republican women have lived with for a long time, yet people are actually shocked that they wouldn’t throw their support behind a party that too often casts them as gender-traitors.

It’s not hard to see how accusations against Trump as a racist and misogynist would be met with eye rolls and knowing murmurs of “political correctness” by people who have had their worldview constantly caricatured and demonized by the cultural elites in academia, media and politics…

Continue this story at USA Today

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