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Frustration with Political Correctness Was a Huge Predictor of Whether You Voted for Trump

After party affiliation, nothing pegged Trump voters as well as opposition to P.C. culture.

TrumpMolly Riley / POOL/EPA/NewscomWas Donald Trump elected to the presidency in part because of a backlash against political-correctness-run-amok? Survey says yes.

I have previously suggested that anger about P.C.-sensitivity and perceived liberal overreach was a strong motivating factor among Trump voters—many of them have told me so, in fact. And survey data from ClearThinking.org clearly supports this conclusion.

According to the website—the project of mathematician Spencer Greenberg—believing "there is too much political correctness in this country" was the second most reliable predictor of whether a given person intended to vote for Trump. The only better predictor was party affiliation: despite an abnormal campaign featuring an abnormal candidate, it remained the case that the overwhelming majority of Republicans voted for the Republican candidate, and the overwhelming majority of Democrats voted for the Democratic candidate.

But being anti-P.C. correlated more strongly with being pro-Trump than just about anything else: it beat out social conservatism, protectionism, and anti-immigration as predictive tendencies.

"Nowadays, as the right sees it, the left has won the culture war and controls the media, the universities, Hollywood and the education of everyone's children," Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist at New York University, told Politico in the recent article that made me aware of Greenberg's survey data. "Many of them think that they are the victims, they are fighting back against powerful and oppressive forces, and their animosities are related to that worldview."

It's always tempting to make too much of this information, and the truth remains that the election was so close—just 100,000 votes across three states made the difference—a number of factors could all share some responsibility for the outcome. Whenever anyone says this is why Trump won, they are often telling only part of the story. That's as true for P.C.-backlash as it is for the James Comey letter.

Nor does this data validate the claim that political correctness is a huge problem, or a problem unique to the left. Just because Trump voters feel like they are being suffocated by liberal political correctness does not make it true.

But it does suggest that playing directly into white, working class America's persecution complex is a terrible strategy for the #Resistance. When progressives shout down conservative speakers and attack their defenders, when they launch social media witch hunts against dissenters, and when their advocacy organizations compromise basic liberal principles in order to punish members of the out-group, they give ammunition to people who believe—quite wrongly—that Trump is a brave truth-teller whose tell-it-like-it-is attitude maintains a sort of safe space for the un-woke.

For more on this subject, read my response to Jacob T. Levy, who is critical of the notion that anti-P.C. sentiments mattered a great deal in the 2016 election. Taking issue with my writings, Levy wrote in December, "A lot of butterflies flapped their wings to bring about the November 8 result, but we have particularly little reason to think [opposition to political correctness] was one of them." I leave it to the readers to decide whether that holds up.

Photo Credit: Molly Riley / POOL/EPA/Newscom

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    To be sure,

    that Trump is a brave truth-teller

    doesn't have to be true for

    tell-it-like-it-is attitude maintains a sort of safe space for the un-woke

    to be true. Any port in a storm, you know.

  • colorblindkid||

    Every 10th thing out of Trump's mouth is a hard-hitting truth that we're not supposed to talk about. The other 9 are idiotic, insane, conspiratorial nonsense, but every once in awhile he slams a hard truth, even if he doesn't even mean to. He is, in some ways, the most transparent president ever. We all know everything he's thinking at all times.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "Every 10th thing" might be a generous estimation, but aside from that, yes.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Somewhat OT, I've often wondered how society would be different if everyone had telepathy or some other means of knowing what anyone was thinking at any given time -- if none of us could hide our thoughts or emotions. So much of society depends on little white lies -- "Are you getting me a Red Ryder for Christmas?" + "Oh no, you could put your eye out." -- "What does this fine print mean?"

    I suppose Trump is an example of sorts.

  • Not a True MJG||

    Darwin would work his magic in record time.

  • Bill E||

    And "the Dems" all have their fingers in their ears yelling "la, la, la I can't hear you". They don't see it, don't believe it, won't change a thing. Because it feels so good to be so right.

    I'm convinced that many Trump voters didn't believe a word that he spoke. He was simply not-Hillary, and that was enough. But it didn't hurt to also be not-Bush or not-Cruz, or not-Christie, or not------

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I've said it before and i'll say it again - Trump was a big orange middle finger that angry, disillusioned people could wave in the face of Business As Usual. No more and no less.

  • Mickey Rat||

    And that Trump had no compunction against poking his fingers in the conventional wisdom's eyes. His voters appear to see the political class as hopelessly broken, and would rather put demolition charges to them than try to fix them.

  • Jima||

    Which seems like a reasonable strategy once all the usual things have failed...

  • damikesc||

    At a certain point, you stop beating your head against a wall and wield a sledgehammer instead.

  • aajax||

    Depends on what you consider the conventional wisdom. Given that he won the election, doesn't he represent conventional."wisdom"? Looks like it to me.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Much of Soave's beat covers the ridiculousness and injudtice of the application of Title IX in college, yet political correctness is an overblown concern.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Well, unless you're staring down the barrel of a lawsuit because of your un-woke business practices or personal habits.

  • SKR||

    Title IX is a gross violation of due process. Shaming some racist fucktard and calling them out on their bullshit is not.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's hard to believe that hating on white, blue collar, middle class, Christians because 1) they're racist for being white, 2) they're stupid for being blue collar, 3) they're selfish for being middle class, and 4) they're homophobic for being Christian? . . . it's hard for some people to believe that might be off-putting to white, blue collar, middle class, Christians!

    I mean, if they won't vote for progressives after the social justice warriors have called them racist, stupid, selfish, and homophobic, then I guess there's just no reaching some people!

    Hillary even called them "deplorables". If calling them names doesn't make them support Hillary, then what are progressives supposed to do? It's not like the progressives can abandon elitism. Using the coercive power of government to force deplorables to make sacrifices for the common good (of feminists, Muslims, illegal aliens, minorities, and environmentalists) is what being a progressive is all about.

    If the white, blue collar, middle class wants the Democratic party to care about them, then they're just going to have to stop being white, blue collar, and middle class.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    stop being white, blue collar, and middle class.

    Free college will fix that.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Remember when ObamaCare was going to cut the deficit and make America more competitive internationally?

  • damikesc||

    And make healthcare more affordable.

    Well, at least the GOP is doing what Obama demanded: Being honest (just as much as Obama was) over what their health policy does and does not do.

  • Brandybuck||

    It's hard to believe that hating on white, blue collar, middle class, Christians because 1) they're racist for being white, 2) they're stupid for being blue collar, 3) they're selfish for being middle class, and 4) they're homophobic for being Christian? . . . it's hard for some people to believe that might be off-putting to white, blue collar, middle class, Christians!


    Maybe if we keep screaming at them with vaginas on our heads they will finally get the message and meekly vote for Hillary in 2020.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, the healing can only begin when white, blue collar, middle class people learn to hate themselves for who they are--if that's not a winning campaign strategy for 2020, then I don't know what is.

    Democrat Campaign Plan 2020

    Step 1: Make the white, blue collar, middle class hate themselves as much as we hate them.

    Step 2: The White House

  • Hugh Akston||

    Trumplings aren't un-woke, they're just woke to a different set of injustices that the media ignores, such as liberal media bias, PC culture, and the war on cops. They also operate largely on their feelz about globalism and immigration rather than evidence. And they feel that being Americans makes them too special to have to compete, so they complain to Daddy to change the rules so they will #win.

    Trumplings and Millennials are the same thing but through a mirror darkly.

  • paranoid android||

    No no no, you see, it's only because the liberals are authoritarians and hypocrites, something that definitely cannot be said of people who want hate crime laws to protect cops and to get the government out of their Medicare.

  • Not a True MJG||

    And what are Trumpling Millennials?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    So unwoke they're woke.

  • ||

    They also operate largely on their feelz about globalism and immigration rather than evidence.

    Right! The rest of us enlightened ones stick to the hard science and empiricism of globalism and the firm belief that evidence strongly supports immigration being a noun.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They spent eight years demonizing the white, blue collar, middle class--chasing those "they took our jobs" people out of the Democratic party and into the arms of Trump.

    "Reagan Democrats" no longer saw the Democratic party as champions of their working class aspirations, but instead saw them as working primarily for the benefit of others: the very poor, feminists, the unemployed, African Americans, Latinos, and other groups."

    http://tinyurl.com/h3nqrwj

    That could have been written about "Trump Democrats" in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan in 2016, too.

    They no longer see the Democratic party as the champions of their their working class aspirations, but instead say them as working primarily for the benefit of others: the very poor, feminists, BLM, illegal aliens, LGBTQI, Muslims, and AGW alarmists.

    You can't denounce white, blue collar, middle class people as the ultimate cause of every mass shooting, every anti-police riot, every instance of rape, the hurt feelings of every LGBTQI, and, ultimately, the destruction of the planet by CO2--and then turn around and tell them that you're going to run the country in such a way that's going to benefit them.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Try the following with any progressive minded person--try talking to them about how the Democratic party needs to serve the interests of white, blue collar, middle class, Christians, and see how long it takes them to transform the discussion. Dollars to doughnuts--in less than a minute, the conversation will morph from a question of whether the Democrats care about white, blue collar, middle class, Christians to a question about whether the white, blue collar, middle class is fulling deserving of our hatred and contempt.

    One of the reasons average people think that the Democratic party hates them is because the Democratic party hates them. As that blurb above about "Reagan Democrats" shows, the Democrats go through these cycles, where they become so absorbed by various minority special interests, they lose sight of their bread and butter support--which was always blue collar labor going back to FDR. Somebody (like Bill Clinton) figures that out, and they get back on message for a while--and things are not different this time.

    Tell an elitist social justice warrior that they need to make themselves appealing to the white, blue collar, middle class in order to win--and they can't even understand what you're talking about. They'll think you're a stupid redneck or something. It's completely outside their whole conception of the world. If being a Democrat means you can't hate on the white, blue collar, middle class, then what's the point of being a Democrat?

  • Hugh Akston||

    The beauty of any Ken Schultz comment is that there is no way to tell from the text what post or comment he's responding to, or even what the original was about. They are free-floating spheres of self-contained nonsense without the least connection to anything else.

  • ||

    They are free-floating spheres of self-contained nonsense without the least connection to anything else.

    As opposed to Hugh Akston comments where everyone is just supposed to understand what the feelz of globalism and immigration are and that they're wrong because team politics, or just one team, is dumb.

    Sure Hugh, that's whatever it is you were talking about for you.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's a direct response to what you wrote:

    "Trumplings aren't un-woke, they're just woke to a different set of injustices that the media ignores, such as liberal media bias, PC culture, and the war on cops."

  • Ken Shultz||

    . . . It's a direct response to what you wrote--with citations, even.

    Still can't understand it?

    Wow, Hugh, that's some powerful willful obtuseness you got going there!

  • Hello Clarice||

    I thought you were the winner? You get to spend all day laying out such sick burns to the masses!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The pity party is for the Democrats because they have been unable to pull their heads out of their asses after months of losing battle after battle.

  • Not a True MJG||

    For more on this subject, read my response to Jacob T. Levy, who is critical of the notion that anti-P.C. sentiments mattered a great deal in the 2016 election. Taking issue with my writings, Levy wrote in December, "A lot of butterflies flapped their wings to bring about the November 8 result, but we have particularly little reason to think [opposition to political correctness] was one of them." I leave it to the readers to decide whether that holds up.

    Claws in, Robby.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Being a part of the Trump Resistance isn't really about trying to stop Trump's policies. Those things are seldom what the resistance characterizes, rarely get off the ground anyway and when they do will mostly be benign and if left alone ultimately his undoing. The Trump Resistance is about, like so much of what those types do, virtue signaling. I hope it's cathartic for them, because its value as a catalyst for shifting the country leftward is dubious.

    Political correctness is about changing society through stifling any dialogue. It made the man who wanted to use libel laws against his critics the Free Speech candidate.

  • GILMORE™||

    white, working class America's persecution complex

    wait, what?

    When progressives shout down conservative speakers and attack their defenders, when they launch social media witch hunts against dissenters, and when their advocacy organizations compromise basic liberal principles in order to punish members of the out-group, they give ammunition to people ....

    with a persecution complex.

    This is some sophisticated argumentation ="its all in their heads! which is why you need to stop hitting them!"

    When F.Scott Fitzgerald said "iintelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time", he didn't mean you were supposed to believe both of them.

  • GILMORE™||

    actually the sentence includes "and still retain the ability to function."

    iow, retain the capacity to discriminate

    its not an apologia for equivocation

  • Brandybuck||

    Doesn't matter if it's in their heads or not, it's the hitting them part that makes them not want to vote the way the hitters want them to.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It might be that Siace suffeds from cognitive dissonance, it might be that he does not know what the phrases he uses mean.

  • Brandybuck||

    Yes, anti-PC definitely helped Trump win. And the doubling down on the silliness by the left after the election only guarantees that Trump is going to get a second term.

    Do you want Trump to win in 2020? Then keep marching with vaginas on your head.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Frustration with Political Correctness Was a Huge Predictor of Whether You Voted for Trump

    I did bc 1) the Libertarian Party candidate was aweful, 2) the promise of preferable supreme court (and lower court) picks and 3) for the lulz.

  • Not a True MJG||

    I blame you personally for everything that happens.

  • TW||

    Number 2 was a huge consideration. President Trump will probably have one or two more Supreme Court pics during his first term which is enough to shift the balance of the Court. I may not like him personally but he agreed to (and so far as kept his agreement) pick from a list of judges he submitted in advance. With Hillary Clinton we know we were going to get another radical leftist on the Court.

  • GILMORE™||

    A little old, but a better take on the subject

  • Rhywun||

    Switch the names around and make the derogatory terms a little less colorful and that could have been written yesterday. Of course the white working class has almost entirely vanished from NYC so you might have to move the action to NJ or LI but still.

  • GILMORE™||

    Switch the names around and make the derogatory terms a little less colorful and that could have been written yesterday.

    pretty much. except that its far better writing that you'd find from contemporary scribblers.

  • GILMORE™||

    "than"

  • Mickey Rat||

    Nice to know that calling tge President an ape is once again not a hate crime.

  • Liberty, Truth and Honor||

    Those miserably persecuted right-wingers just can't catch a break. Maybe one day they'll win political power. It's so sad.

  • GILMORE™||

    its ridiculous how those racist nazi misogynists act as though they're being unfairly mischaracterized

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    The beatings will continue until their morale improves

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    Lois Lerner agrees.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Trump is like a sabot in the cogs; I think many voted for him just to stymie the noxious minions of the left [Lena Dunham being a poster woman-child of the woke gen] and to watch the shit show. They will not be disappointed.

    Actually, he has accomplished two major outcomes"

    1. He kept HRC out of the white house [and for that I am eternally greatful] and
    2. Appointed Neil Gorsuch to the USSC

    Now if Ginsberger lapses into a coma and has to be replaced, he will have about as much legacy as I need. Deregulation of any and all government bureaus will be icing on the cake.

  • Robert||

    See, Robby Soave can still do interesting, informative, provocative reporting.

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