In 2016, Donald Trump’s message of busting political correctness won him the White House. Rejecting the Democratic Party’s identity politics run amok was a sneaky good strategy, working like a charm among working-class voters in America’s heartland. Trump, though he had just become a Republican five minutes ago, better sensed than the party’s established leaders the emotional needs of rank-and-file Republicans.
For all his faults, this is Trump’s superpower – sensing cultural undercurrents and reflecting the emotions of his target audience. He often says what regular folks are thinking but don’t feel they are allowed to verbalize.
Today, a great many Americans feel angst about their children inheriting a country that allows for the indiscriminate destruction of reputations via “cancel culture” and promotes narratives over truths in the name of political correctness. In 2020, Trump can rekindle his old strategy by giving voice to these concerns to overcome serious political headwinds.
Extreme uneasiness exists in middle America over cancel culture, the practice of journalists and woke activists unearthing old utterances of celebrities, athletes and even some regular people for the purpose of embarrassing them and ruining their lives.
Do some human beings say or tweet dumb things? Yes. Does it often happen when a person is younger, less experienced in the world and not enlightened enough to know that at some point in the future someone might find their thoughtless tweet offensive? You bet.
If there’s anyone in America who could rally the canceled to his cause, it’s Trump, who faces cancellation attempts every day. Heck, several Democrats have proposed taking his Twitter feed for violating the platform’s terms of service.
But that’s the point – why should we tolerate a society in which a group of Inquisitors is given carte blanche to silence people they don’t like, banish political thoughts that aren’t welcome in liberal enclaves and ruin people’s lives over things uttered years ago? Never one to eschew affiliation with the controversial, Trump is uniquely positioned to make this a voting issue in 2020.
In Washington, when a 12-year-old African American girl claimed that three white boys at her private Christian school pinned her down and shaved her dreadlocks, the media predictably fell for it hook, line and sinker, demanding answers of Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, who teaches at the school.
The account was too perfect for media types who crave stories confirming their own political biases: white-on-black violence, Christian school, connection to Trump. Instead of seeking the truth, however, the media – just as it did with the Covington Catholic and Jussie Smollett stories – was blinded by a narrative instead of approaching the fantastical claim with caution.
After a few days, the little girl confessed to making it up. I don’t blame her; in America these days, a good narrative is better than the truth when you want attention. Just ask the liberal politicians seeking the Democratic nomination for president.
U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, for instance, falsely tweeted a debunked allegation that Michael Brown was “murdered” by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., never mind that President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice disproved the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative long ago. In doing so, Warren and Harris cravenly served their political ends without regard for the societal damage done by spreading falsehoods on such tragic stories.
Warren’s use of false narratives extends to her own origin story, which now includes multiple fabrications including that she is Native American and was once fired from a teaching job for getting pregnant. Last week, she misled a voter about sending her children to private school (she did, but claimed she didn’t).
Warren is not a “woman of color,” despite allowing employers to describe her as such, nor was she fired in the 1970s for becoming pregnant, according to recently discovered school board documents. But being a plain old white woman who declines job offers and is wealthy enough to send her kids to private school doesn’t sell in today’s Democratic Party, so she conjured a put-upon alter ego and rocketed to the top of the primary field.
No wonder our kids are inventing plights of their very own.
Americans are rightly worried about their children inheriting a sick culture. Trump can jujitsu his political problems by relentlessly focusing on the need to defeat this cancer; he’ll get a lot of “amens” in flyover country (think Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin) if he does, and no Democratic contender has the wherewithal to stop him.