But does this mean that liberals rule the academy, fostering the type of oppressive environment that suppresses free expression? In my experience, liberal professors play far less of a role in these incidents than a group we might refer to as the “radical left.” This third camp is composed of a vast, and diverse array of quite serious scholars whose animus towards liberal ideas often exceeds its disdain for conservative ones.
If you want to conceptualize the differences between liberal and leftist professors in political terms—which, I repeat, is always hazardous—think of it this way. Liberal professors are the types that probably voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential elections. Radical left professors likely wrote her off as a dreaded “neo-liberal.” Their primary votes might have been cast for Bernie Sanders—as irritatingly “mainstream” as the social-democratic candidate might have been to them. In the general election they might have opted for Jill Stein, or sat it out altogether in protest of American capitalism, imperialism, hegemony, etc.