Time to talk turkey about the left's big problem. No, political correctness is not just some harmless and occasional excesses by well-meaning activists. And it not a myth ginned up by the right which therefore must be defended against attacks by all right-thinking progresses. It is a genuine and real political problem that could allow Trump to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in 2020.
Tom Edsall makes this case well in this latest piece in the New York Times, part of a series they are running on "How to Beat Trump in 2020"
"President Trump is unpopular, but that doesn’t mean defeating him is going to be easy. Democrats will have to tackle issues that may alienate — and even give offense to — progressives, women, Latinos and African-Americans.
Putting together a broad enough coalition to finish the job — to win 270 Electoral College votes — will require navigating fraught cultural arenas: race, immigration and women’s rights — while dodging the broadly loathed set of prohibitions that many voters, including many Democrats, file under the phrase “political correctness.”....
Last year, Matt Grossmann, a political scientist at Michigan State, “reviewed nearly every academic article containing the name ‘Donald Trump’,” and concluded that “attitudes about race, gender, and cultural change played outsized roles” in Trump’s victory. Trump’s adamant “aversion to political correctness,” Grossmann argued, was a crucial factor in the outcome in 2016:
"Many people dislike group-based claims of structural disadvantage and the norms obligating their public recognition. Those voters saw Trump as their champion. The 2016 election produced greater candidate and voter division around the celebration of diversity and accepted explanations for group disparities."....
Immigration is a particular trouble spot:
"Justin Gest, a professor of public policy at George Mason, in an email articulated a widely held view among Democratic strategists:
"In survey after survey, Americans favor immigration and immigrants but they also want to have the sense that their government regulates entry and exit at their borders and the various processes for acquiring visas and citizenship"
This compromise-oriented approach is reflected in....an Oct. 20 Public Religion Research Institute report showing that 56 percent of Americans support restrictive immigration policies but 89 percent have a positive view of immigrants.
Clearly, as Trump’s election demonstrated, some voters “want to severely truncate immigration and halt the diversification of the population,” Gest wrote, but “the vast majority just want the sense that the government is in control.”
But Democrats, Gest continued, are,
"loath to use the word “control.” The most effective position champions the virtue, value, and integrity of American immigrants while reassuring voters that the only way to attract the best and the brightest is to build a well-regulated system."
A Republican Trump critic, who asked to remain anonymous in order to offer advice to the other party, cautioned Democrats against appearing to support open borders by decriminalizing border crossing.
Instead, he argued, support for “a generous immigration policy” granting a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers, is best “made from a position of strength: We have control of the border, so let’s be generous and merciful about how we exercise that control. If we appear to cede control, it’s a lot harder to sell generosity and mercy.”
None of this is rocket science. Many, many voters will be looking for an excuse to vote against Trump but can definitely be put off the cluster of issues in and around political correctness. Democrats must be wiling to show a little courage and stand up to those who insist Democrats are not really progressive unless they embrace a certain nomenclature and set of priorities. The outcome of the 2020 election may well depend on that.