Saturday, October 13, 2018

A Problem Not Going Away

There is a lot to unpack here- so as Chris Cuomo would say, "let's get after it."

On Friday night's Real Time, Bill Maher (beginning at 17:14 of the videobelow) hearkened back to his ABC program "Politically Incorrect" and argued

Political correctness- I believed it would destroy us then and I believe that now. I think people vote not so much on policy anymore. I don't think they follow it closely. I think they vote on who's strong. They know Trump's an idiot but he looks strong- and political correctness, weak. 80% in this new Atlantic story that published this poll, 80% of Americans see political correctness as a problem and I think it's our problem.

I don't know why more mainstream liberals don't denounce the political correctness that they must know in private conversations is insane.

While Maher contends that individuals don't vote on policy anymore, they actually do- indirectly. The political parties are a proxy for ideology, and voting on a partisan basis is routine.

Nonetheless, Maher realizes that voters recognize considerable political correctness, are drawn to candidates who appear "strong," and that Democrats appear weak as they pander to political correctness. (Trump: "President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today..")

Maher states (most) "mainstream liberals don't denounce the political correctness that they must know in private conversations is insane." However, it is not only "mainstream liberals" who avoid criticizing political correctness. It is also the far left of the party- and the centrists in the party. (An elected official must secure and maintain his/her base.)

There are several reasons for this. One is a failure- even by the uniquely politically incorrect and bold Maher himself- to acknowledge the role that discomfort with minorities plays in revulsion at political correctness.. (This is not Maher's motivation, but few people exorcised by "political correctness' give $1,000,000 donations to Democratic causes.)

Those minorities, depending upon the individual and the circumstance, may include blacks, Latinos, immigrants, gays, and women.  Opposition to these groups helped prompt Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy," and has only increased through the decades.  With the decline of organized labor, these demographic groups have become the cornerstone of the Democratic Party, which has engendered opposition from other Americans.

Few people on the right or in the mainstream media will admit it, of course. It is so gauche to acknowledge not only bigotry but even discomfort with the aspiration of ethnic, gender, or sexual minorities. (Even Trump won't admit that he resents any minorities.) But it is there, nonetheless, often exploited by the GOP subtly, and by Donald Trump, crudely.

It is additionally difficult to combat the perception of being "politically correct" because it has become a catchall among many conservatives for what they oppose, and what they oppose is the Democratic Party and the left which dominates it, not the Republican Party. It typically goes unnoticed that Republicans also are politically correct, in the Trump era convinced they are victims, as Rebecca Traister points out (starting at 18:40). The Trump Administration itself is far fromimmune:

President Donald Trump’s aides are urging him to replace departing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley with another woman, hoping the move would help shore up support among female voters before the midterms, three people familiar with the matter told POLITICO.

Trump aides are fleshing out a list of women as possible candidates with experience in the foreign policy arena after top pick Dina Powell, a Goldman Sachs executive and Trump administration alumna, withdrew her name from contention, citing her desire to remain close to her young children, according to two people familiar with Powell’s decision.

The number of males being considered to replace Mrs. Haley: zero (0).

That will not be cited as an example of political correctness for a few reasons, however. In the public's mind, only Democrats and liberals can be "politically correct."  Further, the Administration is limiting its search to women not because of ideology or commitment to pluralism, but because of political expedience. In a bizarre twist, that probably makes the "no men need apply" approach less vulnerable to charges of p.c.

Moreover, there is no one to call the GOP out on it. Republicans won't do so because they won't seriously question anything Trump. Democrats won't do it because it would cause friction with their base.

And so Maher is correct: it a problem and it is the Democratic Party's problem. And it is a problem with a solution presently beyond our grasp.

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