Trump Supporters Do Not Value Political Correctness


President Trump’s administration has sparked intense debates about political correctness. (Courtesy of Flickr)

Political correctness is an idea that has infiltrated the minds of so many Americans and piqued the curiosity of the nation as a whole. Under the Trump administration, it is perhaps more pervasive than ever. Strangely enough, this phrase has seemed to gain a negative connotation over time, though at first glance, it seems to constitute a rather simple idea that people shouldn’t intentionally insult others for their disadvantages. 

However, the danger of political correctness is the extremes that the phrase is taken to. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to protect the feelings of those around you, but there is something wrong with trying to limit other’s free speech and misrepresenting someone’s intent. This is certainly not to say that the world should just be a free-for-all where people can run wild, slandering others left and right. The solution is one that people have been employing for years. Teach children to be kind to others, and the problem is solved. Society should not have to worry about censoring their each and every word in fear of “cancel culture,” or public shaming that occurs online, usually in response to a statement that the masses on social media have deemed offensive. 

One of the instances in which individuals’ stances on political correctness seem to divide so heavily is when it comes to the presidency of Donald Trump. Regardless of whether you support Trump or not, it is plain to see that his taking office is one of the most divisive and controversial presidencies of our time. Most people who speak out about the president tend to hate or love him, and this is not surprising, seeing as a middle ground is so rare to find these days. One of President Trump’s most notorious qualities is his lack of political correctness. 

Trump tends to say whatever he wants whenever he wants. At the very least, it seems that way. He does not seem to be as easily controlled by advisers or speechwriters as past presidents. Whether you find that quality to be commendable or troublesome, it does provoke a question: Will Trump’s harsh rhetoric affect his voters in the upcoming election, and if so, how?

President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is sure to come up again near election time, especially within discussions of political correctness. Despite the controversy surrounding Trump’s actual handling of the outbreaks, with policies, speeches, etc., there is even more controversy over whether or not Trump is being offensive in referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.” The countless articles headlining Trump’s coronavirus-associated rhetoric proves that the topic of political correctness will always surround Trump’s presidency.

The 2020 election is sure to be an exciting one. With the animosity from Trump’s opponents growing and the admiration from his supporters remaining strong, many are intrigued to see how the course of the election will pan out. Trump’s speeches seem to have become more casual over time, portraying him as “the people’s man,” despite his not-so-common billionaire status. However, Trump’s dialect was always frank. In 2015, he even said, “political correctness is just absolutely killing us as a country.” From the beginning, Trump never sugarcoated what he wanted to say. It is for that very reason that he became the headline of so many articles analyzing his words and attacking his character when he said or did something offensive on stage. On the other hand, it is for that very reason that he won over the hearts (and votes) of so many Americans. Therefore, I do not believe President Trump’s lack of political correctness, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, will weaken his campaign for reelection. If anything, I think it will strengthen it. 

Let me clarify: I do not think that Trump’s verbal delivery will win over any individuals who are undecided on their vote, nor do I think that it will sway those who abhor him. I simply do not think that those who voted for Trump and stand by their vote will be turned off by his speech. Those who are die-hard Trump fans did not vote for him because of his eloquence. They did not want a picture-perfect president. Trump’s voters wanted someone “real” and honest. Sure, that honesty can come off quite frank and abrasive, but if anything, that only assures his supporters that he is always being up-front with them. 

I’m not saying that Trump’s rhetoric is flawless or even presidential. I’m saying that flawless and presidential is not what Trump’s supporters wanted when they voted for him. Proponents of his presidency liked Trump because he was different, not in spite of it. They liked that he was a businessman, and not a politician, because it gave him a relatable quality, despite his overwhelming wealth. They liked that he seemed to say whatever was on his mind on the spot because it proved that he was “for the American people,” despite the offensive comments that often slipped out. 

The concept of Trump’s rhetoric is not one that needs to analyze whether his words are good or bad. We know that his rhetoric is abrasive. We know that he doesn’t always have the polish of a politician. Ultimately, the election will come down to what the people truly value. I don’t believe that Trump’s voters value his etiquette. In fact, I think they value his lack of it.

Taylor Herzlich, FCRH ’23, is a journalism major from Mt. Sinai, N.Y.