Unless Trump wins or comes close, the lesson of Trump will not be learned. If he loses badly, people will simply say, “I’m glad to see that America can face down the fascists, racists, sexists, phobes and haters among us, and we better redouble our suppression of those things.” If he wins, people will actually have to think about what his popularity means and what it was that opened the road to him.
In a piece in New York Magazine Andrew Sullivan excoriates Trump, but seems at least to understand the source of this appeal. It has as much to do with cultural marginalization as economic:
“Much of the newly energized left has come to see the white working class not as allies but primarily as bigots, misogynists, racists, and homophobes, thereby condemning those often at the near-bottom rung of the economy to the bottom rung of the culture as well. A struggling white man in the heartland is now told to ‘check his privilege’ by students at Ivy League colleges…
“For the white working class, having had their morals roundly mocked, their religion deemed primitive, and their economic prospects decimated, now find their very gender and race, indeed the very way they talk about reality, described as a kind of problem for the nation to overcome. This is just one aspect of what Trump has masterfully signaled as ‘political correctness’ run amok…
“These working-class communities, already alienated, hear — how can they not? — the glib and easy dismissals of ‘white straight men’ as the ultimate source of all our woes. They smell the condescension and the broad generalizations about them — all of which would be repellent if directed at racial minorities.”
Enter Trump, a marvel who seems immune to the witch hunt for haters. This as much as anything explains his appeal.
So, if you want to stop Trump, stop formulating every issue as a contest between the enlightened and the ignorant.
Stop insisting that the reason the Senate will not consider the President’s pick to replace Justice Scalia is that the President is black.
Stop insisting that it is understandable that the transgendered would care greatly about with whom they share a bathroom, but the same concern in anybody else is hate.
Stop insisting that another letter added to LGBTTIQQ2S automatically creates another protected class and that any raised eyebrow is hate.
Stop meeting every concern about Islamic terrorism with lectures on Islamophobia.
Stop telling people to “say something if you see something” and then sic the Justice Department on the people who say something.
Stop labeling as bigots people who have simply internalized their society’s taboos.
Stop calling climate-change skeptics “deniers” in a not-so-veiled allusion to Holocaust denial.
Stop lamenting the backwardness of a society that “pays women 77 cents for every dollar paid to men” when factors that naturally and rightly affect earnings account for virtually all of the difference.
“Political correctness” is the brand of intellectual intimidation that, for decades now, has been employed to punish any questioning of the liberal worldview. Trump is the long-awaited backlash.