The World’s Greatest Illusionist

Many may not appreciate Kellyanne Conway’s rhetoric, but there should be no doubt that she is the greatest illusionist since Harry Houdini. Her ability to justify what many people consider Donald Trump’s most deplorable actions has resulted in more popularity for him. Furthermore, Conway’s ability to redirect the media, as well as her perceived missteps, seem to aid the administration more than hurt it.

Conway successfully ran a campaign for one of the least electable candidates in history. During the election cycle, Trump spouted bigoted language more often than any other candidate, yet Conway was able to mitigate damage by communicating with the American people via the media. In fact, she appeared on cable television more frequently than any campaign manager in U.S. history.

In addition, though Trump was among the least qualified candidates, Conway used her years of political experience to facilitate his campaign’s penetration of what many thought were Democratic strongholds. She is also the first female campaign manager of a winning presidential race in history. She added a much-needed dose of femininity to the Trump campaign’s misogynistic image and helped increase his appeal among conservative women.

Conway also has a certain ability to skirt around direct questions and leave listeners bewildered. She is particularly adept at shifting commentators’ focus from the personalities of members of the Trump administration to the issues at hand. Once she begins talking about tangible issues, Conway seems to sneak in references to the atrocious mistakes supposedly committed by the previous administration. When that appears to be a dead end, she seamlessly switches back to talking about how hard Trump is working. Conway also succeeds in portraying negative coverage of her as sexist, especially when questions seem too disparaging. Though interviewers call for her to ‘answer the question,’ she can effortlessly avoid doing so. Despite criticism, she continues to make public appearances.  

Even Conway’s missteps seem to be intelligently calculated. When she infamously referred to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s verifiably false information as ‘alternative facts,’ she clogged the news cycle, effectively drawing negative media attention away from Trump. Her reference to alternative facts was far less egregious than President Trump’s or Spicer’s unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud and inauguration attendance numbers, but with just two words she was able to avert the media’s attention from their lies. I suspect what some people may consider one of Conway’s greatest missteps was actually a calculated effort to help the administration.

Conway demonstrated this same evil genius of sorts when she mentioned the non-existent “Bowling Green Massacre” at about the same time that Trump was under fire for his unpopular and unconstitutional travel ban. It seems implausible that someone with political experience dating back 20 years would accidentally refer to an event that didn’t occur. It is much more likely that she intentionally redirected the media in order to draw attention away from Trump.  

Whether one thinks Kellyanne Conway is an evil genius or just plain evil, it is hard to ignore her effectiveness at making President Trump look better than he otherwise would. Economic algorithms suggest that Conway's popularity and exposure made her financial value to the campaign several times more than her $2 million salary. Future campaign managers can learn a thing or two from her.

Misguided Social Justice

Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) often choose to focus on invisible issues rather than on more egregious problems that impact the world as a whole. More specifically, many SJWs conflate the concepts of social justice and microaggression in an attempt to identify with those around the globe who actually suffer hardships.

Additionally, the actions that Social Justice Warriors often take are inherently selfish. They use their privileged positions in the media and academia as platforms to talk about issues that are more likely to affect them rather than marginalized groups. Muslim women living in Iran, for example, don’t care about “manspreading.” Instead, they're concerned about the possibility of being harassed or raped if and when they venture into public without their husbands.

Similarly, the Liberal media bring forth the issue of microaggression when describing the hardships of people of color. Journalists selfishly emphasize the perceived discrimination they have experienced, for example focusing on and perhaps twisting comments their opponents make, rather than tackling the more serious issues marginalized groups face on a daily basis. Mass incarceration is a huge issue among black communities. The average African American is in far greater danger from being questionably arrested for a petty crime than from a white person petting their afro.

When microaggressions are brought to the forefront of social justice issues, many Americans begin to view such issues as insignificant or petty. People are even beginning to dismiss real issues of racism and sexism because they are downplayed by the Liberal media. Additionally, paying too much attention to microaggressions further marginalizes, and in an indirect sense even mocks, those who experience true discrimination. Upon ascending to high positions in both the media and academia, it seems as though Social Justice Warriors fight to maintain their privilege rather than speak out about serious kinds of discrimination.         

One can argue that implicit discrimination, including microaggression, is at the forefront in academia because it is more fixable than explicit discrimination. Successfully eliminating implicit discrimination, however, would not fix any of the more significant problems. Assuming that all forms of implicit discrimination were eliminated, only a small segment of the population – those who learned about it in institutions of higher education – would even notice.

In addition, I think it is a far greater task to police people's words and behaviors through pretentious critique than it is to dismantle institutional barriers. Both tasks are difficult, but the former is effectively impossible. In contrast, the latter – changing laws to even the playing field for marginalized groups – has been one of the most positive developments of the last century.

Ironically, those who write about discrimination are unlikely to experience the brunt of it, thanks to their socioeconomic position. Instead of writing about the really serious issues, like mass incarceration or rape, SJWs somewhat selfishly use their safer, more privileged positions to address microaggressions, which are more likely to happen to them. This is a shameful phenomenon that should stop immediately. 

We Created Donald Trump

Donald Trump has a realistic chance of becoming president of the United States as a result of the politically correct culture that has disgusted a large share of the population. 59 percent of Americans say “people are too easily offended these days over language others use.” The strong shift toward liberalism, particularly by millennials, has frustrated older, more conservative citizens and elicited the extreme response of nominating Trump. Despite the exposure of his lewd actions in the national media, Mr. Trump still has strong support across the country, polling at 44 percent.

Over the past 20 years, the politically correct culture has arisen with an emphasis on being inclusive towards all groups and being extremely careful to avoid potentially offensive actions. While some words have always been blatantly marginalizing, in the past decade an entire lexicon of language alleged to contain implicit bias has been declared off-limits by the PC culture.

Politically Correct culture also focuses on identifying and mitigating institutional barriers, including institutional racism and socioeconomic “social reproduction.” that perpetuate injustices against historically marginalized groups by making it easier for those in power to stay in power. It’s no secret that this culture has been embraced by millennials, especially college students, while Baby Boomers often reject aspects of it as oversensitivity. This culture has positive intentions, but creates negative consequences.

When certain terms are off-limits, people become hesitant to discuss sensitive topics. Even if someone has politically correct thoughts, they may become discouraged from expressing them because they fear being accused of bigotry due to imperfect word choice. Additionally, the PC culture can be so encompassing in declaring injustices that it can cause people to dismiss legitimate social justice issues. When the average American hears about microaggressions — acts that can often be hard to see without an analytic social science scope —they extrapolate their distaste for the imperceptible problem to a distaste for tangible social justice concerns. Discussing implicit institutional discrimination is important, but when every negative in one’s life is attributed to an implicit cause, focus is diverted from tangible problems. In many ways, the current politically correct culture has turned people away from its original purpose, which was getting individuals to embrace equality and justice.

Donald Trump has said and done numerous things that any other presidential candidate in recent years would never have gotten away with, but he remains in decent shape in the polls because he “tells it like it is.” Trump is as much of a contradiction to politically correct culture as you can possibly find. He has mockingly imitated a reporter’s cerebral palsy, made blatantly xenophobic comments, and even bragged about sexually assaulting women, but none of these actions have dramatically changed his poll numbers. When Trump was heard suggesting that he “grab[s] [women] by the pussy,” his poll numbers fell by a negligible one percentage point.

According to Trump, political correctness is “the cancer that eats away at America.” Many Americans seem to agree, preferring his boisterous bloviating to the perceived malicious mendacity of Hillary Clinton, who will “say anything and do nothing”. The acceptance of Trump’s crude behavior represents a grand resistance to the politically correct culture.

Trump is the Republican nominee largely because many people prefer his behavior during the campaign to the excessive caution displayed by some of his primary opponents. Conservatives across the country are fed up with the coddling, especially that which often occurs on college campuses. Last year’s e-mail from a Yale professor on the issue of appropriate Halloween costumes sparked outrage on college campuses across the country: “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious … a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” While costumes can perpetuate stereotypes of marginalized groups, it is hard to perceive negative intent when a child dresses up as Sacagawea or decides to don a sombrero.

Many felt it was also extremely distasteful to hear privileged Yale students cry out about being discriminated against while they attend one of the most prestigious and accepting universities on the planet. How exactly do they expect to function outside a school where the majority of people are well educated and actively trying to be politically correct? Yale students are censoring relatively innocent actions to protect their own fragile emotional state. While this is an extreme example of political correctness, it was a highly publicized incident and undoubtedly turned off a good portion of the country.

Even President Barack Obama said that he felt students were being “coddled and protected from different points of view." People voting for Trump are effectively saying they would prefer a culture where people are dramatically less sensitive, and a candidate who bloviates about anything and everything that comes to mind irrespective of who is offended.

While the Trump campaign looks likely to lose, it is still quite troubling that a man with no political background and a porous campaign platform has managed to become a major party nominee and still has a chance to win. There are certainly many positives to political correctness, but it is clear that a large portion of the nation is dismayed at how far it has been taken. I would suggest that we shift more of our focus to dismantling institutional barriers that hurt marginalized groups, instead of worrying so much about implicit, and often very unclear, discriminatory action by individuals.