Yes, “Political Correctness”* Did Help Trump Win Last Week
* I Prefer My Own Term “New Correctness” Because Conservatives Just Flog “PC” to Be Jerks.
APR 2017: I’m now posting a piece about Trump ending the Obama-era U.S. Justice police reforms, and fact-checking that, yeah, conservatives were mostly correct on this one issue. I originally didn’t post the words below with this anti-PC headline because I knew it would upset many of my friends, just as a Medium essay titled “How to Upset Liberal Friends & Alienate Allies” based on a Facebook post possibly lost me a few. But fuck it. Below the Trump cartoon are my direct thoughts after the election, much of it unpolished.
One thing I did learn over the past four months: No one’s changing their mind. Evidence doesn’t move people when they have “other” evidence. And this country is doubling down on identity politics and “political correctness” — defined broadly as anything that offends anyone, or more narrowly as avoiding discussing any subject on race or gender that could offend, even if factually correct or runs counter to a liberal narrative. Like the gender wage gap, which is more like 5.4% rather than the common refrain of 20–24%, which simply is an average of all jobs. So it’s not fully accurate when President Obama says, “Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns…in 2014, that’s an embarrassment. It is wrong.” Is saying that “mansplaining” or is it nuance?
Basically, I see this New Correctness as being intolerant of the slightest hint of criticism or perceived meanness (“micro-aggression”) of any gender, ethnicity or sexuality, or questioning any type of -ism. Unless, of course, the critique is directed at anything cis / white / male, and in that case, feel free to generalize all your want, or make up some false flag “hate crime” accusations to get your political point across. This trend has grown, and a backlash was inevitable and long predicted in some quarters. One shouldn’t be surprised Trump won by campaigning daily against political correctness, a smart tactic when nearly 60% of Americans believe “too many people are easily offended these days over the language that others use.” It’s no wonder Trump “won” the election when during the latter part of the Obama presidency blacks and whites believed racism is getting far worse — with many whites thinking it’s more of a problem against them than it is for blacks. Indeed, 6 in 10 Americans believed race relations were worsening in 2016 to a 25-year low point. The Black Lives Matter versus All Lives Matter exemplified this split. Even Reason.com, which favors criminal justice reforms, says the politically correct focus of Black Lives Matters on identity politics gave the election to Trump. What’s telling? There’s really no evidence racism and intolerance is more prevalent today than 10, 20 or 25 years ago — or even police violence in general. You just have single video case examples in a country of 320 million, which isn’t science. Or in the case of the debunked “hands up, don’t shoot,” no video or evidence at all. My opinion: Overreach by activist groups on the left lit the fuse of the Trump bomb exploding on the right. Basically, this shit infuriates conservatives and moderates, and loses Democratic votes. Good job!
It’s worth noting, as a progressive increasingly skeptical of reflexive thinking I spent a massive amount of time trying to have an understanding of the views of Black Lives Matter and police violence ever since Trayvon Martin and Ferguson a year later. My exhaustive evidence-based conclusion referencing dozens of studies and recontextualizing “standard media narrative” assumptions (reinforced here, here, here and here) concludes that when it comes to police use of force, both lethal and otherwise, it is: 1. rare for all Americans, and 2. when it occurs, race isn’t a determining factor, behavior is. This, of course, was the same thinking of many Trump voters. I knew which line I crossed regarding that single issue. But at least I thought critically about it. Did the progressive left? In my experience, I can say emphatically, “No. They did not.” From their viewpoint, 21st century America was hardly different than Alabama 1965. Since the election, they’ve doubled down. I know the American right-wing barely acknowledge the lingering hangover of slavery and Jim Crow in regards to social problems today. However, when conservatives take Martin Luther King as one of their own, and quote his anti-racism words against race-obsessed liberals, one should recognize that it’s a cogent rebuttal to the obstinate, counterproductive rhetoric on “the other side” rather than blatantly disingenuous or irrational thinking. Republicans and Trump voters are not overwhelmingly racists. Ironically, they think many Democrats are.
I WROTE THE FOLLOWING IN THE DAYS AFTER TRUMP’S NOV 2016 ELECTION “WIN” BUT DID NOT PUBLISH UNTIL APR 2017:
Look: I was wrong on FBI Comey and wrong on so much much this election. I thought facts, nuance, lack of direct evidence of Clinton corruption, and a progressive Democratic platform (thank you, Bernie Sanders) would win the day. I was wrong being so optimistic; but hey, I was optimistic with candidate Obama in 2008 when so many of my friends on the left said, “America will never elect a black man.” (They did.) And someday, we’ll elect a woman. Because I really don’t think most people give a shit about your color, gender or sexuality; they just don’t want to be told how to think.
For example, 87% of Americans favor marriage between blacks and whites, up from 4% in 1958. A majority evolved to approve gay marriage, and I don’t think that will change because Republicans run the show. (God, that hurts to write.) Yes, there’s going to be a lot more assholes saying stupid things and committing violence, perhaps, but they’re not going to be representative of a vast majority of non-deplorable Americans. Yes, Trump’s policies IF enacted WILL hurt minorities and we should fight that tooth and nail. But perhaps we should consider a dirty word: Tactics.
Yes, I was wrong before that Trump would surely lose and maybe I’m wrong now. But I DO think there’s a strong argument to be made that the “a feedback loop / echo chamber of knee-jerk horror” (© David Shuey 2016) is self-defeating. I’m a liberal, I think we need to allow expression that isn’t dangerous, BUT I don’t want that bar to go so low that the economic and class-based liberal argument gets “trumped” again and we end up with assholes like Donald J. Trump. I loathe double-standards, so I’m never personally offended when “straight white males” get vilified; I just think it’s pointless, hypocritical, and stupid. I think that if YOU don’t like being called negative things based on your race, sexual orientation or gender, than why do the same? Revenge? It’s certainly not persuasive, but just speaks to the choir. One can understand power structures — and recent history — enough to know they’re not a locked door for racial or gender progress forever. How many of you didn’t think this country would vote for a black man? No hands raised? Well, I heard it all the time. And I heard directly from white and black citizens alike Obama would be shot, too. Didn’t happen. And he left office relatively popular.
I don’t use the term “Political Correctness” if I can help it. That’s Trump’s phobic call-line and sometimes “dog whistle,” but it’s not all about -isms. Inside that term, he may also have a strong point about shutting down conversations in the modern age. That it’s simply taboo to talk about, for example, crime in Chicago and how really bad its actually gotten. (Though, I know, too, that he uses it to goad Obama and big city Democrats.) I call it “New Correctness.”
Yes, many bigots and jerks aren’t inclusive. So are many Republicans. But not every little word or lack of sensitivity makes you a racist/sexist/monster. I’ve posted this point before on my own Facebook page a week before the election with a Buckley Club argument blaming progressive ideologues (along with more than a dozen targets, including Mitt Romney, libertarians and the author himself) for Trump. It was met with a swift backlash among progressive friends. Frankly, I even lost close friends over it. Reading that thread post-election, I think I was spot-on, and almost all their arguments proved the author’s point concerning the hypersensitive nature of progressives and low-bar accusations of racism (at least two saw the word “Buckley” and immediately thought anything connected to that horrible racist who debated James Baldwin should be ignored, forgetting Buckley shunned the John Birch Society for being too extreme and is almost moderate by today’s standards). The “boy who cried wolf” effect was real, because a sizable chunk that pushed Trump over the top didn’t buy his race-baiting rhetoric — though some were clearly racist — but really loathed the culture wars, close-mindedness and hysteria pushed by the left even more. Bill Maher admitted it the week of the election when he said how stupid it was to call out every Republican candidate in a hyperbolic manner as racist, fascist and horrible in the past. I may be totally wrong, but when my liberal friends say, “Trump called all Mexicans rapists,” I know I heard his dog-whistle racist lies, too, BUT that’s not what he said. I’m not going to exaggerate his words, misinterpret it, and make it liberal propaganda. So I reply, “Well, actually he said ‘they’ [Mexico] are sending ‘rapists’ and ‘murderers’ as well as some pretty decent people. That’s what he said. It’s bullshit because there’s no evidence immigrants are more criminal than anyone else here already. Even the presumption that ‘Mexico’ is sending them is bullshit. But he didn’t call ‘all Mexicans rapists‘ so we may not want to oversell that.” I’m met with silence. Or get an argument that of course he said that. Friends never say, “Good point.” They bought and will sell their own left-leaning propaganda.
This is why many in the Red States of America calls liberals out-of-touch elites and say there’s a media bias. It’s why they say they’re not racist, nor their candidate as a whole. I even heard myself from an ex-felon black Trump voter who told me, “Well, maybe Trump is a little bit racist, but he is friends with Puff Daddy and I believe he can get businesses and McDonalds built in our neighborhoods.” An hour later he admitted voting for him that week. I’m not making this up. He also expressed regret after finding that Trump wanted to get rid of Obamacare and endorsed stop-and-frisk (this middle-aged man had an ankle monitor for his current parole). He didn’t know. Sigh.
By over-playing the -isms, perhaps it backfired with their cousin or uncle that may have considered voting for Clinton. They, too got annoyed with the virtue signaling and moral absolutism of the radical left on Facebook and Twitter. For the record, it’s the same with Hillary Clinton and “Superpredators” being 100% racist. It’s not, I argued before the election to the #NeverHillary crowd that wanted to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein or stay home. It never was.
APR 2017: OK, I partially edited the last two paragraphs above. But that’s pretty much what I was thinking and telling people in person post-election, as well as some stuff below. I think I do want to mention one more anecdote. After the election, a friend of mine who’s from India who’s fairly liberal and open-minded, mentioned some mistakes from Obama and Clinton. I think they’re worth repeating:
- They specifically called out ethnic groups and demographics, without acting like they wanted to represent all the people. It was like they were checking off demographic boxes. He was particularly displeased with Obama on this front. He said it “wasn’t presidential.”
- Trump only brought up Mexicans “one time.” It was everyone else who brought it up like he said it regularly. Thus, the argument of overselling that point may have come back to haunt them. Not every American agrees that everything Trump says is racist or sexist.
- Democrats argued more how Trump was bad, rather than how Clinton and Democrats were good. (I would say this is correct in places like Ohio, offering voters “broccoli” rather than “steak”.)
- NPR has gone off the rails in its lopsidedness in coverage that is demonstrably pro-Clinton— so maybe it lends credence to the argument that there is an “elite” media and that’s why the #1 news outlet is Fox News.
Basically, the Democrats and Clinton ran on identity politics, and that doesn’t work. I argued some points, such as when my friend conjured up a conspiracy as to why the “pussy grabbing” video came out late in the game. “Where were these women accusers before?” (This is where I put on my feminist hat, and replied, “Dude! Women are discouraged by society to attack powerful men. There’s no conspiracy.”) But otherwise, I think he had some good outside-the-box thinking.
I would add that Obama pushing back against people who call critics of police as “politically correct” may have looked nuanced, as he also defended police somewhat, but to far too many people he was playing into identity politics and throwing cops under the bus. I would’ve 100% agreed with Obama IF the facts backed up his “politically correct” evidence, which exaggerated campus rape, wage gaps, and mistreatment at hands from police by using media and academia’s cherry picked data. (I’m more or the mind of saying “We all know there’s a little implicit bias, racism and sexism out there; and we all know people behave differently that may affect outcomes. So let’s come together and be real.”) In the end, Trump won and the “anti-political correctness” crowd got an extremely “stupid” victory.
I’d add about NPR, too: It’s drenched in one-sided identity politics and a liberal left perspective hyper-focused on racism and misogyny. As I edit this, I hear White Nationalism / Supremacy and Neo Nazism mentioned twice on two consecutive programs, as well as on Democracy Now! when I flipped channels for a second (Cornell West was on). Yet, there’s not really a dramatic increase in that antiquated hatred. KKK membership is 3000 with three total rallies nationally in 2015, a grain of sand in a giant sandbox — and the Klan has rules stating they should be nonviolent. Has anyone heard of a KKK or white nationalist coordinated attack in recent months? The most I’ve heard is skirmishes with far-left, anti-racist protesters, where one sucker punch of a White Nationalist doing an interview is celebrated and the other sucker punch of a dread-locked white woman in the middle of a riot is rebuked. (Intellectual consistency is a rarity here, folks.) Is it healthy to invoke fear when so far in 2017 I’ve heard of 5 hate crime murders in the United States, 3 of them anti-White homicides, yet nearly every news outlet makes it sound like a anti-brown-people pandemic and plays down the anti-white or anti-Trump battery violence which arguably was worse in the days after the election. For the record, the average is 6–7 annual hate crime killings in a country of 15,809 homicides (2014, CDC), according to the U.S. Department of Justice, .04% of total homicides.
Oh, and homicides may have grown to nearly 20,000 in 2016 since 2014, possibly from a “Ferguson Effect,” but who’s paying attention to that? I am.
You’ll hear the updated homicide totals one of these months, and go, “But no one warned us it was getting this bad.” Trump did, even when getting it wrong and saying it is the worst period for homicides in 47 years. No, it’s just the largest one-year spike in homicides in 45 years, which Trump was correct in saying. But no one wants to discuss it because then we would have to talk about black-on-black violence and pockets of criminality, likely emboldened in today’s anti-cop environment, and that’s not politically correct.
[Update October 2018: That homicide calculation above I made early in 2017 is largely correct using CDC figures. Indeed, currently the CDC shows 17,793 deaths for 2015, and I imagine 2016 will be calculated … hopefully before 2019. They’re slower at the CDC on this figure than the FBI, which shows 14,164 murders in 2014, 15,696 murders in 2015, and 17,250 murders in 2016. Which brings me to this hard-hitting point: I’ve calculated the United States has 6500 MORE deaths by citizen vs. 30 LESS deaths by cop in the 4 years since Ferguson. Question to Black Lives Matter: How’s the reform movement helping to save lives? This is a fact: If we stayed at 2014 levels of homicides, 6500 less people would have died in the USA, and at least 500 less in Chicago. There’s been essentially no change in killings by police, despite an explosion of police body cameras being used in law enforcement. This is my opinion: The push-back against police helped spark that steep homicide spike that largely affects black and brown Americans. I've argued exhaustively that all evidence points to modern police racial bias to be negligible and “police violence” is a response to the violence they face, with ultra-rare moments of stepping over-the-line into “police brutality” territory.]
“Do you want to be right or do you want to fucking win”
I guess that quote by the “Liberal Redneck” Trae Crowder on the 11/11/16 episode of Bill Maher sums up my thoughts, too. (And reiterated in January.) I really wanted to get across what Maher and the Crowder said when they argued PC culture helped Trump win. Watch a portion of the show on YouTube, or read full excerpt from Meidiaite — a blog I kinda like for feeling nonpartisan. It includes their misleading clickbait headline (because, let’s be honest, neither of these are going to happen):
Even Bill Maher can find one good thing about a Donald Trump presidency (though to be fair, he’s found many more things he thinks are very, very bad).
He revealed on Real Time tonight that the good thing is that PC and Islam apologists are going to have to change their ways.
The “Liberal Redneck” Trae Crowder appeared on Maher’s show to point out that the election of Trump could be viewed as a backlash against liberal elites who choose not to understand what people in the middle of the country are feeling.
Maher agreed wholeheartedly, saying the Democratic Party lost the “white working man.” He continued railing against the way he sees liberalism invalidating the feelings of white men, asking, “What should I do? Cut my dick off and check my privilege?”
He said liberals are “outrageous with [their] political correct bullshit” and insistence on being kind to Muslims in the wake of Islamic terrorist attacks.
Ana Marie Cox fought back, asking if he was really suggesting that American politics doesn’t cater enough to white men. Crowder shot at her, “You’re right but do you want to be right or do you want to fucking win?”
Oh yeah, Clint Eastwood called people today a bunch of pussies, too. People got upset. Guess he proved his point.
Below = 4 Other Drafted Ideas (in bold) I Never Composed into Full Paragraphs Post-Election
(Parenthetical are fleshed out thoughts written 4/6/17)
And what about all our protesting? Did that work? Maybe not.
(A University of Toronto and Stanford Study proves this. I posted it. No one cared. The co-founder of Occupy Wall Street said in March on NPR that protest was counterproductive, and wrote a book about running for office in rural Oregon. A 2017 Princeton Study published February 2017 said the same thing, how the protest movement alienated swing voters and tipped 1968’s election in Nixon’s favor. I was saying this since the fall to whoever would listen: 1968 Anti-War Protests lead to Nixon; 1999 anti-Globalization protests went before Bush; and protest after protest, beautifully highlighted by Russian propaganda arm RT News, manipulated us, er, guided us to Trump as President.)
When Protesters in Chicago were polled in Florida and it helped Trump.
(And this sentence makes no sense, it should say, “When Protestors in Chicago pushed voters in Florida to vote for Trump (based on polls!)” Yeah, I eventually got to this idea. First as Facebook post that costed me at least two friends. Then as I copied and pasted that Facebook post later on another Medium post, with the same claim: “A pre-Florida primary poll showed twice as many Republicans said it made them more likely (22%) rather than less likely (11%) to support Trump after confrontations and protests shut down Trump’s Chicago rally.” Yup, Trump Won Florida Easily. Then America. Maybe protests that optically look like shutting down free speech don’t work.)
The Censorship of the page I use on medium
(Huh? No idea what I was saying here. Though I did just read in the bathroom a breaking story about Black Lives Matter meetings in Philly excluding whites. Not surprisingly, this is common. See paragraph two above on how that’s counterproductive. Don’t give Trump a Second Term!)
The Racist White woman meme — doing it again.
(Again, not sure what that was. But there does seem to be a “racist” meme fly by my social network daily, and many of them, I’m like, “Not so crazy racist,” and “Heard black folks say worse.” Or I just think it’s blatant hypocrisy that both preaches to the converted and pisses people off — thus, leading to outrage, web page clicks, and online advertising dollars. The end result is it eventually pushes people in the middle further to the right because the self-righteousness and arrogance of saying it’s OK to be vulgar against 63% of the population that’s non-Hispanic white. Mostly, I’m not sure who the hell is validating people being racist jerks in general. Racism is not cool, so people looking for racism have to dig out the smallest public transgressions — and since that happens so rarely, they just make fun of white people. All I can say is: Someone should start a page about “White Outrage” — and I’m not talking about white people being outraged over movies and TV shows like “Dear White People,” but about how “white” is the new punching bag. The racial double standards are clear when websites pop up called “What White People Like” and terms like #whitepeopling goes widespread like, er, manspreading. It’s clear it’s a lucrative online niche with websites like this verysmartbrothas.com where one can search “white people” or “white” and find 8 distinct posts on their page that don’t attack racists, but instead are simply prejudicial against whites. I’m not hurt myself. I’m just saying it’s a horrible tactic politically. How do I know that? All the aforementioned white-people-trashing spiked in the past few years. Then: Trump Won!)
Around JAN 2017 in this Medium post’s unpublished edit, I added the paragraph below and I wrote, “I’ve been updating an article for a couple months, but I never shared this more provocative line and CUT it from article.” It’s APR 2017 and all I can say again is: I warned of this bullshit would lead to the election of Trump.
I’m not Nostradamus because I really didn’t think it would happen! Also, Colin Kaepernick currently isn’t being signed because 1. He isn’t that great a quarterback; 2. His and others’ protests actually hurt NFL television ratings, so there’s really no upside to having him around. For far too many, football is what makes America great because they can forget about stupid politics! Though, it did make a great Southpark episode.
The following cut from my Medium article: How Roland Fryer’s Controversial Harvard Study on Racial Bias by Police Actually Shows Negligible Bias (or Brutality)
And evidence of prevalent police brutality? Arguably, it’s not there. Unless you believe that police placing handcuffs on both white and black persons they stop 3% of the time in 21st century New York City constitutes unequal and pervasive “rough” treatment. Because that’s what you get from recontextualizing Fryer’s data using basic math.
Though, NFL football players wearing socks depicting police as pigs will continue to protest the country’s “oppression of black people and and people of color,” joining the thousands of others marching in the streets over single-case examples of admittedly “bad shootings.” (Worth noting: One Chicago investigator, Lorenzo Davis, fired for not changing his rulings on police discipline to favor cops says, “As many as 5% of police shootings are problematic.”) Hillary Clinton, affected by black millennials’ “lingering distrust” on criminal justice issues, according to the New York Times September 4, 2016, will likely feel the political heat through November of “a new, confrontational wave of black activism that has arisen in response to police killings of unarmed African Americans.” But it’s looking at thousands of cases — and doing some division — where more people should maybe go, “Nope, not clear-cut, overwhelming systemic racism.” And move on.
It’s worth noting that Colin Kaepernick didn’t vote.
And it’s worth saying again: Kaepernick and so many others are wrong about the nature and prevalence of people of color’s treatment by police. Which I’ll keep writing about until mainstream media and academia wakes up.
It’s worth noting in late April 2017 ESPN dished out a “Wednesday Massacre”of 100 firings partly due to a recent focus of left-leaning politics in ESPN broadcasts that hurt ratings and the bottom line. SportsCenter anchor Linda Cohn argues that’s the case, and agrees that infusing left-leaning politics such as Caitlin Jenner winning the ESPY Arthur Ashe Award for Courage (which even Bob Costas questioned as a “crass exploitation play”) may have backfired: “If anyone wants to ignore that fact, they’re blind.” This isn’t surprising, as many see sports as a refuge from politics.
Thus, they turn to another channel. Just like in the election of Donald Trump.