Only rarely do I quote Kajagoogoo.
OK, I’ve never quoted Kajagoogoo, and if you have to Google this band, you are clearly not Gen X.
In any case, this one-hit wonder from the 1980s had a big hit with their song “Too Shy.”
It’s possible that this British synth band was so prescient that they were actually flash-forwarding to 2020 and singing about Trump voters.
OK, it’s impossible. So forget everything I’ve said so far.
The point is that political scientists and pollsters both insist that there is a very real phenomenon known as the “shy Trump voter.”
The theory is that our president is so, shall we say, controversial that many of his fans are reluctant to just come out and admit that he has their vote. In fact, “there is evidence that … there are a lot of people out there who are still afraid of saying to a pollster that they support this president.”
I can’t imagine why someone would be reluctant to say, “Yes, I’m all for a racist misogynist who indulges in overt corruption, fawns over dictators, stuffs kids into cages, rewards appalling incompetence, babbles incoherently, and given enough time, will kill us all.”
But that’s just me.
Pollsters often account for social desirability bias when they gauge people’s opinions. That’s why surveys seldom include questions like “Are you a bigot?” That’s way too much of a shock to the psyche, and even people responding anonymously are likely to say, “What? Me a bigot? No way!”
So pollsters are more likely to ask vague questions about bias and preferences, then crunch it all together to siphon out how much actual bigotry is out there (spoiler: it’s a lot).
But you can’t really do that when you ask citizens who they are voting for. And so, the theory goes, the shy Trump voter will display an “unwillingness to express support for Trump when asked by another human being.”
If true, it means that Trump’s support is chronically underestimated, and Democrats who take comfort in Joe Biden’s theoretical lead are fooling themselves.
However, there are three problems with this thesis.
First, there is the fact that many political experts believe that the whole theory is bullshit.
Second, there is a vast amount of anecdotal evidence that Trump supporters are the least shy people on Earth. We’re talking about whole arenas full of screaming fanatics who wave Q signs, dress in right-wing regalia, bellow idiotic catchphrases, and shriek at anyone who disagrees with them. And as someone who has been harassed online, I can vouch for the ferocity of Trump’s followers.
Really, these are timid people?
Third, even if there are individuals who remain reluctant to express support for Trump, we shouldn’t refer to them as “shy.” Giving them this inoffensive moniker is conservative PC nonsense that spares their feelings. So let’s be clear.
They are not shy. They are ashamed.
They know, on some level at least, that they have sided with ignorance, hatred, and fear. They know that they have caused enormous damage to the country, and possibly the world, in exchange for a tiny, temporary uptick in their 401(k), or for a slight feeling of comfort that the dreaded “other” isn’t moving in next door tomorrow.
They know that they are endorsing a vile philosophy, and that their principles collapsed when subjected to the slightest bit of pressure. They know all this.
They just don’t want to say it out loud.
So don’t call them “shy.”
In closing, there is one more crucial concept that you should know, one additional vital fact that you have to acknowledge.
And it is this:
Kajagoogoo was not the greatest one-hit wonder of the 1980s.
That would be Dexy’s Midnight Runners.