Was 2016 Election A Rebellion Against ‘Political Correctness’?

Living outside the US, I don’t quite understand the debate over “political correctness.” It seems to me there are excesses on both the left and the right.

Robby Soave at Reason.com, a libertarian publication, claims Donald Trump sparked a counter-revolution against political correctness and that’s why he won the election. Yet he admits that “political correctness” is extremely hard to define and offers only a couple of meager examples, not something worthy of a counter-revolution.

Trump’s victory is easy to over-interpret. I would be careful if I were Soave to attribute it to his pet peeve.

Barton Swain, a conservative speechwriter, takes a different view:  Donald Trump Tries to End Political Correctness, and Saves It

That feeling of delegitimation, of not being able to state one’s beliefs without attracting accusations of bigotry and backwardness, isn’t something most Americans will put up with for long. Many of them felt gagged and irritated, and Trump shrewdly named the thing that troubled them: political correctness. A lot of people fell for it. And in falling for it, they made two disastrous mistakes. First, by promoting political incorrectness as a remedy to the taboos they rightly detest, they gave us a man so loathsome as to make those taboos seem almost sensible. In the saddest irony of this deeply strange election year, Trump’s supporters have managed to enhance the credibility of political correctness: Given the choice between political correctness and the bigoted tirades of a dirty old man, I’ll take political correctness.

Catherine Rampall, an editorial writer for The Washington Post, does offer an example of an over-reaction by administrators at Bowdoin College. Catherine Rampell: Political correctness devours yet another college, fighting over mini-sombreros

Eugene Robinson, a columnist for The Post, pointed out that the right has labeled any challenge to facts they find inconvenient as “not being politically correct.” Eugene Robinson: Republicans are the ones hiding behind ‘political correctness’

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