With the midterm elections less than a week away, a handy, reliable, and vicious ally of Democrats has reared its head and is taking no prisoners. It seeks to roll through the opposition, ending debate before it can even begin and stigmatizing Republicans for even trying to make an argument.
Political correctness is on the march this October. President Trump, whose name is figuratively on every ballot next week, is defiantly resisting it, and he might just prevail. The very crudeness and unwillingness to apologize that even many Republicans abhor in Trump has value in that it gives them armor against the Left’s politically correct demands, which seek to disarm conservatives by demonizing them. Republicans find they can’t launch their arguments because their points are being destroyed in their silos by political correctness.
Trump is a new kind of defense against this.
Trump in recent days has been pummeled for proclaiming himself a nationalist. Nationalism, the core of Trump’s "America First" ideology, is right now a word that must not be spoken lest one be accused of surreptitiously saying “white nationalism” or harboring nostalgia for Nazis and other fascists. But Trump’s entire movement is populist-nationalist in character, a revolt of average Americans against their establishment “betters” on the East and West Coasts who have sought to impose their cosmopolitan values on the country.
The stakes are rather high, according to Yoram Hazony, Israeli-Jewish philosopher and author of “The Virtue of Nationalism,” who no doubt takes things like German nationalism circa the 1930s seriously. “There is no Anglo-American conservatism without nationalism,” he tweeted in response to the current uproar. “Nationalism,” he wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal, “was the engine that established modern political liberty, and it has been a spur to diversity among nations.”
But don’t criticize the Establishment’s “globalist” outlook, which nationalists believe leads to the tyranny of international organizations and governmental structures. That word is off-limits too. During the same Oct. 22 Texas rally in which he asserted his nationalism, Trump also decried “corrupt, power-hungry globalists.” Liberal commentators decided Trump must mean Jews and be referring to the slur that they control global finance or are running some other kind of international conspiracy. Conservatives can now forget about making any reference to internationalist power structures, like the United Nations, where true anti-Semitism is rampant.
With Trump being blamed by liberals for creating an anti-Semitic “climate,” George Soros, who has used his millions to fund a variety of leftist causes and candidates, is now also off-limits — because, you see, he’s Jewish and also an internationalist. Trump’s past criticism of Soros was widely cited by liberals as an example of alleged anti-Semitic presidential dog whistling that supposedly created the “atmosphere” conducive to the slaughter of Jewish worshipers Saturday in a Pittsburgh synagogue. See? Violating political correctness gets people killed.
Political correctness was rummaging about the Rose Garden on Oct. 1 when Trump was widely panned for telling two women reporters they should wait with their questions about the hearings for then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh and ask about trade since he was announcing a historic trade deal with Canada and Mexico to replace NAFTA. Thing was, he also told two men to hold their Kavanaugh questions. Not relevant, apparently.
The hearings into charges that Kavanaugh committed sexual assault more than three decades ago were little more than an orgy of political correctness, in which women making charges against a man were to be believed because, well, they were women making charges against a man — even though there was no evidence to support them and testimony by witnesses failed to support the allegations.
Nevertheless, many Democrats chose to set aside the sacred principle of “innocent until proven guilty” because in this case, it wasn’t socially acceptable. For the slaves of political correctness, nothing Kavanaugh would say could free him from culpability.
Trump stood by Kavanaugh where others might have caved, even mocking his accuser. Kavanaugh was confirmed on Oct. 6, and conservatives were newly energized to vote, outraged at his treatment. Trump was not turning himself in to the language police either, taking to Fox News to declare again that he was a nationalist and anti-globalist, even as the finger-wagging whirred around him.
Trump glories in controversy and criticism. It gives him some kind of peculiar satisfaction and plenty of publicity. Few conservatives can be Trump. But they should applaud and follow him as he disarms their enemies of one of their most fearsome weapons.
Keith Koffler (@keithkoffler) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is the editor of White House Dossier and the author of Bannon: Always the Rebel by Regnery.