Fewer self-identify as ‘conservatives’ amid ‘cancel culture’ hostility


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President Donald Trump, shown here at the Conservative Political Action Conference, faces re-election in just over three months, at a time when fewer people are self-identifying as conservative. (Screen capture, YouTube, ABC News)

Fewer Americans are self-identifying as “conservatives,” according to an alarming new Gallup survey that shows the number of people claiming to be conservative has declined to about 34 percent as the COVID-19 pandemic panic has continued.

This is a drop from the 40- percent of Americans who identified as politically conservative in January and February, Gallup reported. That was up from an average of 37 percent in 2019, and is apparently attributable to President Donald Trump’s acquittal in the long drawn out impeachment process, which has now been replaced by the coronavirus crisis and months of turmoil and protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

At the same time people were declining to identify as conservatives, Gallup found an increase in the number of people identifying as liberal, from 22 percent in January and February to 26 percent in May and June.

Could there be another factor in this shift?

A new Cato Institute survey found a disturbing increase in self-censorship in which 62 percent of Americans “say the political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive.”

That fear is apparently greatest among Republicans, according to Cato.

“Majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share,” Cato reported.

Meanwhile, “Strong liberals stand out, however, as the only political group who feel they can express themselves,” Cato said.

“Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of staunch liberals feel they can say what they believe,” according to the Cato report. “However, centrist liberals feel differently. A slim majority (52%) of liberals feel they have to self‐censor, as do 64% of moderates, and 77% of conservatives. This demonstrates that political expression is an issue that divides the Democratic coalition between centrist Democrats and their left flank.”

Have Republicans lost their backbone?

As explained by White House aide Stephen Miller, while speaking on the Larry O’Connor radio show and reported by Breitbart News, “Cancel culture is a very grave threat to American freedom,” White House aide Stephen Miller told the Larry O’Connor radio show shortly after a Cato Institute survey showed that most Americans are silencing themselves amid online hostility.

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The Breitbart narrative continues, “This ‘cancel culture’ is intended to silence ordinary Americans, Miller told O’Connor July 24: ‘It is an effort at making people so afraid to speak their minds that a minority of radicals can effectively intimidate a majority of common-sense Americans, and that’s often how totalitarianism functions…”

Perhaps the most alarming revelation in the Cato report was this:

“Nearly a quarter (22%) of Americans would support firing a business executive who personally donates to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign. Even more, 31% support firing a business executive who donates to Donald Trump’s re‐election campaign.

“Support increases to 50% of strong liberals who support firing executives who personally donate to Trump,” Cato reported. “And more than a third (36%) of strong conservatives support firing an executive for donating to Biden’s presidential campaign.

“Young Americans are also more likely than older Americans to support punishing people at work for personal donations to Trump,” Cato added. “Forty‐four percent (44%) of Americans under 30 support firing executives if they donate to Trump. This share declines to 22% among those over 55 years old—a 20‐point difference. An age gap also exists for Biden donors, but is less pronounced. Twenty‐seven percent (27%) of Americans under 30 support firing executives who donate to Biden compared to 20% of those over 55—a 7‐point difference.”

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