Democrats have a PC problem. A new, nationally representative survey compiled with the help of YouGov finds that 80% of Americans consider “political correctness … a problem in our country.” Large majorities of Americans of all ages, socioeconomic status, and race oppose PC, with racial minorities and non-college graduates leading the charge. Political correctness enjoys strong support among a paltry 8% of the population, progressive activists who are overwhelmingly rich, academically credentialed, and white.
Why the sudden shift against PC? According to a CBS News/New York Times poll, just 59% of Americans opposed political correctness in 1993. That group grew to 73% nationally by 2016, according to Gallup and the University of Virginia. Now the Hidden Tribes report pegs that number at 90%. If I had to wager a guess, I suspect the Left’s adoption of transgender ideology, with its consequent policing of pronouns and official gender categories, has proved the final straw. The Left’s invention of euphemisms like “dreamer” for “illegal alien” and “justice-involved youth” for juvenile delinquent” may indict political correctness as frivolous, but its insistence on denying basic sexual facts of nature exposes it as a destructive lie. It’s one thing to wish your colleague “happy holidays” at Christmastime. It’s quite another to follow that man’s daughter into the women’s changing room at the public pool.
The unpopularity of political correctness puts Democrats in an electoral bind. The over-credentialed, highly paid, overwhelmingly white activists who donate, volunteer, and set the party’s agenda strongly support a cultural agenda opposed by the racial minorities on whose votes Democrats rely to get elected. This screechy minority of pro-PC Democrats imperils the party’s ability to cobble together an electoral majority, and Republicans are capitalizing on the Left’s internal division to assemble a conservative-led coalition of sane voters who may disagree on net neutrality but at least can agree that men are not women. President Trump has made opposition to PC a central tenet of his campaigns, and throughout the country public opinion polls continue to show gains for candidates who prefer solid rights like due process to faddish PC slogans that demand we “believe all women.”
Irving Kristol, explaining his political journey rightward, described himself as a liberal who had been “mugged by reality.” The Democrat Party’s increasing embrace of fantasy language seems to have left countless of its voters ideologically vulnerable. If the polls have it right, reality may be making another such mugging.