The term politically correct has become a flashpoint in the 2016 presidential campaign. Political correctness encompasses a variety of meanings depending on one’s political view. There is no doubt that political correctness has influenced our society over the past few decades and has caused changes in how we speak and think. The word ‘person’ has replaced ‘man’ as a descriptive term. A ‘policeman’ is now a ‘policeperson;’ a ‘mailman’ is now a ‘mailperson;’ a ‘mentally ill’ person is now ‘mentally challenge.’ This list is long and sometimes confusing.
Marked by or adhering to a typically progressive orthodoxy on issues involving especially ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or ecology.
— Dictionary.com definition of politically correct
Political correctness played a key role in Great Britain voting to exit the EU
The Fiscal Times was one of the few papers that correctly predicted the outcome of the recent Brexit vote. Its analysis was based on the outrage expressed by the average British citizen over an obscure EU law to outlaw the electric hot water pots that the English have relied upon for years to make their tea. The EU proposed new “eco-design” regulations in response to concerns over climate change. The problem was that the new ‘eco design’ teapots simply didn’t get the job done and the English wanted teapots that worked more than they cared about climate change.
Wresting power back from bureaucrats, putting common sense ahead of political correctness, revolting against regulation – Americans may hope to choose a similar path in November if they elect Donald Trump. Like the Brits, they would do so in utter defiance of “establishment" voices, and some say, at their peril.
— Liz Peek – The Fiscal Times
A Rasmussen poll taken last summer reported that 71% of Americans think that political correctness is a major problem in America. These results were in line with another survey done by Fairleigh Dickinson University that reported similar results with 68% of respondents saying that political correctness was a big problem. Moreover, it’s not just Republicans that are rebelling against political correctness. The poll showed that 62 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents share the belief that the country has gone overboard on political correctness.
I’m so tired of this politically correct crap. That’s called politicians’ speak.
— Donald J. Trump
Donald Trump has made America’s antipathy towards political correctness a cornerstone of his campaign and has struck a chord with the voters. Many of the issues that seem to occupy the political discussion do not rank high on the list of things that worry most voters. According to a Gallup poll taken in June 2016, voters cared most about issues that directly affected them. Thirty-eight percent are concerned about the economy, but only two percent are worried about the gap between the wealthy and poor. Just seven percent are worried about immigration, and only five percent feel that race relations are the number one problem facing America.
Seen as a problem for Democrats
Democrats are most closely identified as the political party pushing issues that are ‘politically correct.’ That is a natural outgrowth of the longstanding stance of the Democratic Party that the role of government is to address actively problems perceived to cause social and economic injustice. Republicans take a more hands-off approach to government intervention and don’t feel that the government should be engaged in helping people in deciding “what is best for them,” or telling people how they should think and act.
Republican and Democratic philosophies differ on controversial topics such as the role of the military, gun laws, gay and lesbian rights, health care, social welfare programs, tax policy, environmental and energy issues and free trade. Republicans also believe that the government should adopt a "less is more" approach when passing legislation whereas Democrats believe that a strong central government is important to maintaining a stable and inclusive society.
Some observers feel that the issue of political correctness could be the deciding factor in the 2016 campaign. It offers an explanation of Trump’s under the radar popularity and explains the phenomena that no matter how outrageous Donald Trump’s statements appear to mainstream media, the public seems responsive.
The odds still favor a Hillary Clinton victory, but the issue of political correctness is particularly treacherous for the Democratic Party and liberalism.
— Thomas B. Edsall – The New York Times
A health tax on soda
An example of government intervention that many see as overreach can be seen in the efforts of some communities to limit the size of soft drinks a person can buy. New York City attempted to ban the sale of large soft drinks several years ago, but the ordinance was struck down by the courts. Now, Philadelphia is trying to discourage soda consumption by instituting a soda tax. Many argue that the tax will disproportionately harm the poor and Philadelphians will simply drive outside the city limits to purchase their soda.
Those supporting such intervention cite studies that show that excess soda consumption can lead to a variety of medical problems that requires society to expend resources to treat. Opponents argue that people should be free to determine what is in their best interest and the government has no business regulating behavior that does not cause direct harm to anyone other than the individual.
Donald Trump is saying what a lot of Americans are thinking but are afraid to say because they don’t think that it’s politically correct. But we’re tired of just standing back and letting everyone else dictate what we’re supposed to think and do.
— Cathy Cuthbertson, Trump supporter in The Washington Post
Ms. Cuthbertson’s viewpoint is shared by many Americans. Whether it will be enough to propel Donald Trump to victory in November remains to be seen. However, there is little doubt that a majority of Americans share the viewpoint that political correctness has run amuck over the past few years.