It’s the culture, stupid

Cultural attitudes have changed in the past few years. It began when the pandemic went from something we should be mindful of to a power that we should succumb to, making people who would not lean center-right lean in that direction when they began to question other power moves they never questioned before.

Because President Joe Biden won in 2020, many people missed how center-right the country moved in that election in every other race down-ballot. In 2021, when Virginia (as well as many other states across the country) went even further center-right in the election results, Democrats and those cultural curators in corporations, media, institutions and Hollywood remarkably responded by calling the voters racist.

And, of course, they said it was because of Trump; to them, I would say you all need to spend less time on Twitter measuring people.

It is important to note that the country moved center-right in both of those elections despite all of the pressure from these cultural curators to shame them not to — from the “hate has no home here” signs in neighbors’ windows to the stigmas about masks to the attempts to criminalize all parents (not just the handful that got out of hand) for expressing their concerns at school board meetings.

People grew weary of having everything they thought, did, bought and wore being called racist. That goes for black people, white people and Hispanics who are deeply frustrated that our politics and culture are constantly trying to pit them against each other — people are simply just done.

Ask any suburban parent (mother or father) who has spent hours driving back and forth to swim meets and soccer practices for their daughters how they feel about women’s sports today that have biological males crushing females in meets and tournaments.

If you think that hasn’t pushed them center-right, you haven’t listened to them.

If you think the violent crime epidemic in our cities hasn’t pushed people center-right, then you haven’t paid attention to the diversity of new gun owners who purchased their first guns in the past two years to protect their homes and their families — or have moved out of those cities.

By the way, this is not about Republicans getting things perfect or even semiperfect or even partially perfect — this is about Democrats overreaching so wide and so far that they can’t see the forest for the trees.

What makes it worse for the Democrats is that they have done it in unison with our cultural curators for so long. When corporations and the media amplify this overreach in their advertisements, tweets or social justice positions or opinions, they just push people even further away.

Many Democrats will claim all of this culture stuff is ridiculous, an attempt to “astroturf” by the Right to make something that’s not there. Their response will be that there is nothing to see here — just a bit of gaslighting, if you will.

While Republicans would love to take credit for it (they deserve none), there was no master plan hatched by the Republican National Committee or former President Donald Trump. They did not create any of the backlash in the same way that Trump or the RNC did not create this conservative populist coalition that formed before he ever stepped on that escalator in 2015.

People will calculate that the midterm elections this year will be about a lot of things: Trump, racism and not getting Build Back Better passed. They will be wrong. It is the culture, and had they just spent some time listening to people, they would have known.

Salena Zito is a staff reporter and columnist for the Washington Examiner.