On Wednesday, writing for The New York Times, analyst Thomas Edsall warned that the cultural tension that gave rise to former President Donald Trump has not gone away — and is getting worse.
"Recent decades have witnessed what Dennis Chong, a political scientist at the University of Southern California, describes in an email as 'a demographic realignment of political tolerance in the U.S. that first became evident in the late 1980s-early 1990s,'" wrote Edsall. "Before that, Chong pointed out, 'the college educated, and younger generations, were among the most tolerant groups in the society of all forms of social and political nonconformity.' Since the 1990s, 'these groups have become significantly less tolerant of hate speech pertaining to race, gender and social identities.'"
This comes as the right experiments with outright state-sponsored censorship, wrote Edsall.
"Jeffrey Adam Sachs, a political scientist at Arcadia University, has written about a flood tide of Republican-sponsored bills in state legislatures designed to prohibit teaching of 'everything from feminism and racial equity to calls for decolonization,'" wrote Edsall. "In an article in February, 'The New War On Woke,' Sachs wrote: 'One of the principal criticisms of today's left-wing culture is that it suppresses unpopular speech. In response, these bills would make left-wing speech illegal. Conservatives (falsely) call universities 'brainwashing factories' and fret about the death of academic freedom. Their solution is to fire professors they don't like.'"
In particular, Republicans have declared war on "Big Tech," seeking to control how online social media platforms function — something that foreign authoritarians like the Taliban have even tried to emulate.
"It's not too much to say that the social and cultural changes of the past four decades have been cataclysmic," concluded Edsall. "The signs of it are everywhere. Donald Trump rode the coattails of these issues into office. Could he — or someone else who has been watching closely — do it again?"
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