Or at least that’s the implication of an analysis that made the rounds shortly after the first announcement of “Woke CIA”, in which Richard Hanania, who heads the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, attempted explain why “everything” – that is, institutions that were once considered neutral or conservative, from American companies to the intelligence bureaucracy – have recently become much more progressive in their stance and rhetoric.
Hanania argues that it’s not just that Gen Y and Gen Z are more liberal, or that Democrats are the party of the professional class and therefore liberalism dominates the professional spheres. These leanings are real, but there are still enough conservative-minded consumers, enough young, wealthy, and well-educated Republicans, to make institutions be apolitical or politically neutral.
The main difference, he says, is not just the numbers, but the commitment, intensity and zeal. Lately, the liberals seem to care a lot more about politics: they give more, they protest more, they agitate more, so as to change the incentives for public institutions. Some of these gaps are old, but others only opened recently, with 2016 being the crucial turning point. It was the year that the “mobilization gap exploded”, creating irresistible pressure “both inside and outside of companies to take a stand on almost every issue of the day. “.
Why 2016? Well, probably because of Donald Trump: In Hanania’s data, his nomination and election looks like the big accelerator, with an anti-Trump backlash that has taken liberal hyperinvestment in politics to new heights, allowing to the progressives to carry out “a real mass mobilization in the manner of the conservatives.” never in the modern era. This mobilization solidified progressive norms in nearly every institution likely to come under pressure from activists (or employee activists), and it pulled the entire American establishment to the left, so that the conservatives are suddenly at war with Major League Baseball and Coca-Cola instead of just Harvard. and the Ford Foundation, and state security guards are eager to prove their enlightenment by speaking in the slang of the academic left.
To some extent, this is an obvious point to anyone who has watched the unfolding of the Trump era, but, as a conservative skeptical of Trump, I like the emphasis in Hanania’s analysis because it seems to justify a point I made to myself: that the many conservatives who hoped to find in Trump a bulwark against progressivism have been fundamentally deceived.