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Hullabaloo


Thursday, December 24, 2015

 
*This post will stay at the top of the page for a while.  Please scroll down for newer material.


No, political correctness is not going to cost Democrats the election

by digby




As we ponder the phenomenon of Donald Trump the insult dog of this election, Thomas Edsall wonders in the the New York Times today whether there might be some electoral danger for Democrats because of their alleged embrace of "Political Correctness."

Regardless of the outcome next November, Trump’s success in raising the issue of political correctness creates uncertainty in the 2016 election.

How many Democratic and independent voters share Trump’s implicit racial antipathy to the Black Lives Matter movement? How many worry that the police have backed off law enforcement in response to the so-called Ferguson effect, with a resulting increase in crime? And how many are offended by the concessions of university administrators to demands for speech codes, trigger warnings, “safe spaces” and even resignations?

Is the number of Democrats and independents who feel strongly about such issues large enough to alter the course of the election?


Black Lives Matter is a protest movement against police violence toward African Americans. The Ferguson Effect is what many surmise is the reaction to that protest movement. Neither have anything to do with political correctness. Putting that in the same basket as campus "trigger warnings", which the vast majority of Americans are completely clueless even exist, exposes the fallacy of this proposition.

What Donald Trump and his followers call "political correctness" is not political correctness. They've never heard of "safe spaces". They are non-college educated blue collar workers for the most part and could not care less about college campus mores. They do, however, know about Black Lives Matter or perhaps less specifically about Ferguson and about unrest in places like Baltimore They know about immigrants. And they know about Muslims. And they know about feminists. And they don't like any of it.

More importantly, they know that white men are losing their total dominance. Their world is changing. And Donald Trump is making it ok to be mad about all that. He's giving them a way to feel less alone, to find others who are upset. Sure they resent the fact that society doesn't see the world their way anymore and that it's no longer considered acceptable to openly talk about black people or  immigrants women in a derogatory fashion.  But I think it's important acknowledge the true source of this resentment is not the alleged suppression of their right to say racist and sexist things and have everyone agree with them --- it's the racial minorities and the women having equal rights. The anti-PC issue is a smoke screen.

Here, I know someone will step in and tell me that this is all about economics and false consciousness among people who are falling behind and don't know who to blame. If it were this would be easy to solve. Democrats could offer things like old age pensions and access to health care and free schooling and training programs. Oh wait, they do all that, don't they? And yet this bloc of voters prefer a man who openly tells them that their wages are too high and they'll have to work harder to get into the "upper stratum" he was born into. It's not about economics, at least not entirely.

There is a demographic tidal wave in motion in this country. White people will remain the largest racial group for a long time to come. But soon they will not be a majority. This does not matter to most people and why should it? People are people and we've always had to compete with somebody. Why should having to compete with a Latino be any less of a challenge than competing with a white person? But for some of our fellow humans, it makes a difference.

Donald Trump voters are not reacting to "political correctness" they're reacting to real, fundamental, social change. And there is not a thing that Democrats can do to make them feel better about that. Indeed, there's nothing Donald Trump can do to make them feel better about that either other than tell them, erroneously, that it can be stopped. It can't.

I'm sorry people feel their right to be racist and sexist is being infringed upon. But that's what happens when people get equal rights. Public expression of irrational bigotry in American society will not go unaddressed anymore. You can say it if you want to, there's no law against it,  but somebody's going to call you on it. That the new normal. And it's a sign of progress.



*I plan to continue writing about this. I hope you'll consider dropping a little something into the kitty to help keep this blog going for another year.


Happy Hollandaise everyone.