Ross Douthat’s recent column, “Clinton’s Samantha Bee Problem,” argues that the “rapid colonization” of late-night television, awards shows, higher education, and professional and college sports by the New New Left poses a problem for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Douthat’s trenchant analysis was widely hailed on the right and reviled on the left, but the heat surrounding the column obscured some of its simplifications.
Douthat is right that Hillary lags among millennials and minorities, who are generally considered to be key demographics of the New New Left. It’s also true that Trump owes much of his rise to a rebellion against this latest wave of hyper-aggressive political correctness.
It is telling, however, that while Hillary is not decisively in the lead, she remains a narrow favorite despite tepid support from the New New Left. Hillary’s negatives are roughly as bad as Trump’s, but she is still likely to win—largely by running against the rebellion Trump represents.
And if the Democratic Party could look past its visceral loathing of Trump, they might notice that he is not particularly Republican, let alone conservative. The GOP’s nomination of Trump thus reflects the degree to which even Republicans have accepted our cultural and political progressivism.