Quote note (#216)
How to understand Trump’s core constituency:
The white working class and evangelicals know that ‘political correctness’ is not just about ‘treating people with respect’ as some suppose, but is a whip to keep them in line, a calculated means of stigmatizing certain viewpoints, excluding challenges to liberal orthodoxies from public conversation, and imposing a set of tendentious ideological values upon the public in a manner that precludes serious contestation. Rather than appeal for a more respectful and open civil society, political correctness takes meddlesome, officious, and censorious measures to stigmatize or root out speech that it finds objectionable, often resorting to force and authority over persuasion where possible.
The working class and evangelicals know that political correctness is a powerful tool for dismissing their valid concerns. If they complain about the effect immigration is having on their communities they can be told that they are being xenophobic. If they honestly report the reality of crime in their neighbourhoods as something highly shaped by ethnicity and religion, such as the systemic sexual abuse of girls by Asian gangs in Rotherham in the UK, they can be told that they are being Islamophobic and racist. If they do not believe that an inner sense of one’s gender is sufficient to constitute you as a member of the other sex, they can be dismissed as transphobic, apart from any serious engagement. If they believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, they are homophobic, driven by hatred, their conscience deserving no protection. If they question various feminist orthodoxies they risk being labelled misogynists. Branded with such pathologizing labels, ideological lepers from society, they can be conveniently excluded from public discourse and its institutions, and their concerns will be unaddressed.
Trump’s discourse is frequently uncivil, crude, and morally objectionable. However, Trump has demonstrated his readiness to flout the illiberal and officious policing of discourse that evangelicals and the working class have suffered under in many quarters and by which they are slowly being frozen out of public life. Trump’s demonstration of his ability to resist the shaming and ostracization by which progressives police speech and determine those who are allowed to voice opinions publicly is a sign of hope to such people for the breaking open of an extremely narrow Overton Window.