But what might work in a progressive primary may trigger backlash in a general election where a national electorate is still coming to grips with changing social norms. Progressive grammar is a matter of polite manners on the coasts; elsewhere, not so much. A voter in Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania may not even be familiar with gender-identity pronouns, while businesses in Washington, D.C., and New York City could face thousands of dollars in fines if they run afoul of new standards.
This makes some Democrats nervous, especially the ones who thought Hillary Clinton lost the Midwest — and therefore the last general election — because she allowed voters to think she cared more about transgender bathrooms than the Rust Belt economy.
This was the postmortem diagnosis of Youngstown, Ohio, Democrat David Betras.
“It doesn’t matter how much we scream and holler about jobs and the economy at the local level. Our national leaders still don’t get it,” the chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party said two months after Inauguration Day. “While Trump is talking about trade and jobs, they’re still obsessing about which bathrooms people should be allowed to go into.”