“It’s gotten sick, and I don’t like the term woke, because I hear woke, woke, woke,” Trump said Thursday at a Westside Conservative Breakfast in Urbandale, Iowa.
“You know it’s like just a term they use half the people can’t even define it. They don’t know what it is.”
Trump’s assertion can easily be dismissed as a jab at his chief political rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has made his “war on woke” the focus of his agenda.
But MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem suggests that it may be a rare moment in which the former president is being insightful.
“It’s not exactly clear who was he referring to when he said “they,” but it’s likely he meant people on the right who use the term to discredit or fearmonger about any policy vaguely associated with the principle of social equality or inclusiveness. It could even be a jab at DeSantis, who has made opposing ‘wokeness’ one of the animating principles of his presidential campaign," Aleem writes for MSNBC in a column published under the headline “What Trump's claim that he's over the term 'woke' reveals.”
“It was also one of those rare moments in which Trump said something true, and maybe even slightly introspective.”
Recent polling data backs Trump’s assertion.
A USA Today/Ipsos poll, the findings of which were published in March, suggests that no broad consensus over the term’s meaning exists, and that Americans are divided over whether they view “wokeness” as a compliment or an insult.
The poll shows a split between those who view “woke” to mean being aware of social injustice, which is considered the Democratic party view of the term, and others who associate the term with political correctness taken to an extreme, which is how Republicans typically characterize “wokeness.”
According to the poll, 56 percent of Americans view the term to mean “to be informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices,” and 39 percent consider it to be “overly politically correct and police others’ words.”
Republicans, according to the poll, are not monolithic in their view of “wokeness,” with more than a third (37 percent) of respondents associating the term with being aware of social injustice, and 56 percent describing it to mean being overly politically correct.
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Aleem writes that, “The term 'woke' dates back to at least the early 20th century, and was originally used by people who positively affiliated with the term as a shorthand for awareness of social injustice and bigotry. But in recent years, the right has appropriated the term and rendered it unintelligible.”
“DeSantis’ 2024 campaign launch last week was so packed with jargon tied to the anti-woke crusade that it was hard to understand what he was really saying. Trump is right: The term doesn’t mean much anymore when used by the right.”