Why Attacking ‘Cancel Culture’ And ‘Woke’ People Is Becoming The GOP’s New Political Strategy

This is the second in a two-part series on the ideas of race, status and equality that are influencing current political divisions in America Part 1 can be found here.

“Woke” was originally a term mainly used by black people in activist circles, especially after the rise of Black Lives Matter, to signify an awareness of racial issues in America. The term is still sometimes used in this context.

But in today’s culture and politics, Republicans are most often referred to as “derogatory” – Republicans Attack Democrats, more centrist democrats attack more liberal and supporters of the British monarchy with the term Criticizing people who are more sympathetic to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Those who criticize so-called woke ideas, and people often invoke the idea that it is them “annulled” or a victim of the “culture annulled”.

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As we explained in an article earlier this week, ideas that are thought to be awakened often come from progressives and involve identity and race (like the idea that white people in America should have privileges or that black Americans should receive redress). Breaking off culture is broadly the idea that people advocating more liberal ideas, especially those relating to identity and race, have too much power and can publicly shame those who disagree with them, sometimes leading to those who who do not share these ideas, are removed from their workplace or speak, invitations withdrawn (i.e. “canceled”)

However, there is no agreed definition of “woke up” or any formal political organization or movement related to it. There is also no precise definition of what constitutes “annulled” or a victim of the “annul culture”. “Despite their vagueness, you are now seeing Conservative activists and Republican politicians using these terms all the time. That’s because this vagueness is a characteristic, not a bug. It becomes an important strategy and tool on the right to have a really wide range of ideas and guidelines too awake and anyone who criticizes them for being undone by runaway liberals – in fact, this discourse could be over the lifting of culture / guards will become the organizational idea of ​​the Republican Party after Trump’s presidency.

There are at least five reasons Republicans are likely to keep their focus on waking up and breaking off the culture for the next few years:

First, and perhaps most importantly, focus on breaking the culture and waking people up A relatively straightforward strategy for the GOP as in many ways it is just a repackaging of the party’s longstanding backlash approach. For decades, Republicans have been using somewhat vague terms (“dog whistles”) to mean tap and stir up resentment against traditionally marginalized groups like black Americans who are pushing for more rights and freedoms. This resentment is then used to woo voters (mostly white) Beware of cultural, demographic and racist change.

In many ways, it’s just today’s equivalent of right-wing attacks on “External agitators“(Civil rights activist in the 1960s) who”politically correct“(Liberal students in the 1980s and 1990s) and”Activists judges”(Liberal judges in the 2000s). Liberals, for example, urging people to call for their preferred pronoun or redress for black Americans, are today’s analogies to aggressive school integration programs and positive action. These are ideas that the GOP can easily take action against as they offer few direct benefits (the vast majority of Americans are non-transgender and / or black) but some cost to the (white) majority of Americans. In many ways, we are just observing an old GOP strategy with new language and different themes.

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“If we compare the current situation with the PC debate of the 80s and 90s, I see not only parallels, but also very direct continuities and pretty much an identical conflict,” he said Thomas Zimmer, A historian at Georgetown University writing a book on political divisions in America. “Calling something ‘PC’ was an attempt to discredit traditionally marginalized groups’ claims to respect.”

How Seth CotlarAn American historian at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, said: “Anti-wokeism is not a reaction to anything new on the left, but a continuation of a very old policy of reactionary backlash, especially white backlash.”

It’s especially important right now for the GOP to talk vaguely about identity and racial issues like breaking culture and waking up. In an increasingly diverse country in different dimensions (Race, religion, sexual identityetc.) Republicans need to make their cultural appeals to the party’s more conservative voters subtext rather than text to avoid shedding too many Americans who do not want to vote for candidates or a party they perceive to be bigoted. Talking about race and identity in this way can help the GOP break away from some of the most controversial elements of former President Donald Trump’s approach, particularly his rhetoric Mexican and Muslims during his 2016 campaign, and therefore blunt the Presentation held by many Americans that the GOP is dominated by racists.

Republicans are already taking this step to talk about culture and vigilance rather than using rhetoric like Trump’s in 2016. Trump himself focused less in 2020 on attacking immigration in general, and Mexicans and Muslims in particular, and instead spoke more about culture and race in less controversial ways, as well attack critical race theory and Demand for “law and order.Other Republicans are also moving in this direction. The most recent conference of the Conservative Political Action Committee was called “America Uncancelled” by its organizers. And former Trump press officer Sarah Huckabee Sanders started their gubernatorial campaign in Arkansas last month with a promise to break off the culture.

“If you dare to think for yourself, call for constitutional compliance, or question a child who chooses their own gender, you will be mocked and canceled,” Senator Josh Hawley recently said in a fundraising message to his supporters.

Second, this Strategy unites the GOP and divides the DemocratsA very useful feature in a two-party system where the parties are in a zero-sum competition. As we wrote about this week, many ideas that are emerging on the left, like reducing funding for the police, divide the Democrats (more on that in a moment) but unite the Republicans. In addition, many of these ideas are rejected by the majority of the public.

Republicans band together to oppose gender-based positions

Proportion of people by party and collective who support each position according to the survey

position DEMS REPS ALL
Significant barriers for women compared to men 79% 26% 55%
There are more than two gender identities 52 24 40
A negative view of capitalism 44 20th 33
Agree that “every billionaire is a political failure” 29 20th 11
It is “a lot harder” to be black 74 9 44
Police funding should be reduced 41 8th 25th
Cash repairs for black Americans 49 5 29
White people benefit “a lot” from the advantages that blacks do not have 59 5 34

Sources: Pew Research Center, PRRI, Gallup, YouGov

That unity is especially important for Republicans right now. The divisions in the Republican Party are arguably exaggerated, however There are real divisions.

Third, this provides anti-wakefulness a kind of political infrastructure for the GOP that aligns with the party’s existing priorities and introduces some new ones.

Republicans have complete control over the government in many states, often focusing on issues such as tax cuts that the party’s core activists may not get going. But many state-level GOP officials are now implementing guidelines resulting from this culture war. These include limit values ​​for Public schools exploitation of the New York Times 1619 Project that documents the role of slavery in American history and the Teaching of critical racial theory at public universities; the Criminalization of the tactics of the protesters last year after George Floyd was killed in police custody; Provisions to make it easier to sue social media companies for removing people from their platforms and allowing suggestions State governments to cut funding from cities that are reducing their police budgets.

Fourth, this anti-vigilance stance provides a way for conservative activists and Republican officials to do so Excuse extreme past behavior and possibly rationalize this behavior in the future. Republicans are trying to rewrite the removal of Trump’s accounts from Facebook and Twitter as a narration by Silence liberal tech companies a prominent conservative, rather than those platforms punishing Trump for using them Incite violence and encourage overturning the election results. If Republicans suppress Democratic votes or try to overturn election results in future elections, as seems entirely possible, the party is likely to justify this behavior in part by suggesting that the Democrats are simply too extreme and woken up to control the government allowed to. The argument would be that if Democrats had more power, they would eliminate police departments and increase crime, so it must be stopped at all costs. According to polls, it is a huge block of GOP voters already open to such apocalyptic rhetoric.

“The term ‘woke up’ quickly encompasses everything that conservatives dislike – everything and everyone they want to discredit,” said Zimmer.

For example, here is the text from a recent donation email from Georgia Republican MP Marjorie Taylor Greene:

When I see the bills we’re voting on, I don’t understand why more “conservative” Republicans are NOT coming to me:

– Abolition of religious freedom through the so-called Equal Opportunities Act.
– Abolition of voting security in HR1,
– gender reversal,
– Abolition of our sovereignty,
– Cancellation of our 2ndnd Change rights and
– Defuse the police. “

Most of what I’ve described above is basically how this focus on the wake-up and break-off culture helps unite the GOP elites with one another and with the party’s core voters. However, this approach has a fifth value: IIt could help the GOP attract and / or attract some swing voters People who don’t normally vote.

Polls suggest that there are currently many voters I don’t know what to cancel is – and that is true among Republicans too, even though the party’s elites talk incessantly about breaking off the culture. However, fighting the culture of waking up and dropping out could become more familiar and important to voters outside of the GOP, especially if some Democrats share the same concerns. And that already partially happens. There is a real gap between democratic elites, with more centrist Democrats arguing that some ideas and behaviors regarding gender, identity and race come from the party’s left in particular go too far. This is nothing new either. Some centrist Democrats joined conservatives in earlier eras who were concerned about the Civil rights movement, Bus travel and Identity politics.

But this ideological split in the Democratic Party at the elite level could eventually trickle down on the voters. Think of the so-called Reagan Democrats, who began to vote for GOP presidential candidates in the 1980s, also because they perceived the Democratic Party as such at the time too tied to black causesor the bloc of Republicans who voted for Hillary Clinton and / or President Biden because they weren’t sure how Trump talked about racial issues. A perception that the Democratic Party is too woken up, reinforced by prominent Republicans and some prominent Democrats, could provide a rationale and permission structure for those Democrats to support GOP candidates, especially Republicans who don’t say racist things like Trump.

This could actually have happened in 2020. A tonne new voters turned out Support Trump and there was one Major swing on him among Latinos. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why this happened, but some Democrats welcome ideas like the defusion of the police and socialism probably played a role, combined with conservatives who use these estates as emblematic of the broader Democratic Party (also known as the Biden distanced himself from them).

I’m not trying to predict anything here. I’m not sure Republicans will stick with this message of attacking the wake up and breaking the culture. Why not? Well, Trump is still the party’s leader and he might not be interested in sticking to this or any consistent message.

Perhaps voters will see the attack on the awakening and dissolution of culture as the final round of partisan struggles over identity and race. Those struggles are not going so well for Republicans – Democrats won more votes in the last national election. Amid COVID-19 and other challenges, many voters, especially those who don’t pay much attention to politics, may never really break off the lively and cultural discourse.

However, there are many reasons to believe that Republicans would benefit from continuing this course – so it is likely that they will.

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