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Political Correctness in Modern Politics Essay

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Language Culture Society and Politics during the Trump Administration

Political Correctness (PC) in Modern Politics: An Assessment of the Trump Presidency


When Donald Trump launched his campaign for the highest seat in the land, most people – including most political analysts – did not believe he stood a chance. Here was a reality TV show host and real estate billionaire known for his brash language and liking for controversy. He simply did not fit the political mold, which, due to the constant need to balance the interests of various stakeholders and ensure that no constituency feels aggrieved, was created to enable politicians to be politically correct (PC). Yet voters seemed to like that Trump had a non-PC, no-holds-barred approach: it endeared him to millions of viewers of his TV show around the world. Perhaps most surprisingly, this inexperienced, political new-entrant ended up beating seasoned politicians – with the first surprise coming in the primaries, where he managed to clobber a total of 16 seasoned GOP candidates. Later on, he outmaneuver the Hillary Clinton political machinery and clinched the presidency. Today, he continues to confound both friend and foe. Trump’s ascent to the presidency presents a complex phenomenon that encompasses the disciplines of political science, sociology, cultural studies, media and language—for by weaving his way through these fields one can see more clearly how Trump managed to beat the odds by resisting the traditional candidate’s application of political correctness in language and using fiery, combative speech to win over the hearts and minds of his base. The Trump Presidency ultimately gives rise to the question: are we in the middle of a cultural revolt against a concept that has all along defined the world of politics –that is, political correctness? If the answer to this question is indeed yes, how did we find ourselves here and what are the consequences?


From the onset, it is important to note that according to Mooney and Evans (2015), political correctness could be defined as the utilization of language in a way that is neither demeaning, nor discriminatory (p. 38). However, political correct language is not valued by all Americans to the same degree, for, as NPR (2016) observes, political correctness pits the concepts of inclusion as well as civility against free choice and free speech. Political correctness is essentially a liberal authoritarian approach to language and concepts that individuals on the Right view as an unconstitutional form of social control. Certain words that in the past were part of the common parlance have been deemed offensive in the new era of political correctness. Today, words like “fag” or “retard” that carried negative or insulting connotations if not literal, denotative meaning, are virtually banned in popular discourse and media. Yet in the 1980s, in…

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…could be advanced in support of political incorrectness. However, it is often unclear where political incorrectness ends and where hate speech starts. This discussion clearly points out that during the Trump Presidency we have seen increased instances of, and liking for (as per the Pew Research Center poll cited elsewhere in this text), political incorrectness. However, within this time, we have also witnessed increased instances of hate speech. This is a fact highlighted in a University of California San Bernardino’s Center for Hate and Extremism study. As per the findings of this particular study, there was a 12.5% increase in hate crimes reported to law enforcement officers in the year 2017 (Hart, 2010). However, it is important to note that as per the said study, the said crimes had been on an upward trend for four consecutive years prior to 2017.


It appears that in as far as language is concerned in political discourse, there is no holy grail. This is to say that there is no specific approach to language that will work all the time. Instead, language reflects the culture—and Trump’s language represents the culture that the Right wants to promote as opposed to the culture and politically correct language of the Left. The standards of political speech are clearly changing. As to whether this new trend in political, social, cultural and linguistic action will end in the eradication of…

Sample Source(s) Used


Conway, L.C. (2020). How a cultural revolt against “political correctness” helped launch Trump into the presidency. Retrieved from

Hart, R.P. (2020). Trump and us: What he says and why people listen. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Morini, M. (2020). Lessons from Trumps Political Communication: How to Dominate the Media Environment. Belmont, CA: Springer Nature.

Marron, M.B. (2019). Misogyny and media in the age of Trump. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield.

Mooney, A. & Evans, B. (2015). Language, society and power. New York, NY: Routledge.

NPR (2016). 'Politically correct': The phrase has gone from wisdom to weapon. Retrieved from

Travers, M. (2019). In new research, psychologists explore the upside of political incorrectness. Retrieved from

Woodhouse, L. (2018). Trump’s shithole countries remark is at the center of a lawsuit to reinstate protections for immigrants. Retrieved from

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