To cleanse the palate. Every identity movement engages the majority in two phases. First comes “we’re just like you,” which minimizes differences to gain mainstream acceptance, and once that acceptance has been gained, phase two — “we’re different and it’s time you made adjustments for that” — begins. Judging from this BuzzFeed clip and the fact that colleges are now abandoning LGBT theme housing for, um, LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM housing, I’d say we’re firmly in phase two of “trans” awareness, at least among the mainstream left.

What about the other 75 percent of the country, though? Let me use this opportunity to steal Ace’s idea and insist that Hillary Clinton, as the future national standard bearer of progressivism (giggle), tell us at the first available opportunity how many different genders she thinks there are.

[M]ost Democrats are not batsh*t crazy Gender Warriors who believe the answer is three or seven or 3 pi some number greater than 2. Most Democrats, and all independents, think the answer is “2,” and would think anyone thinking the answer is anything but 2 is a crazyperson.

But the incredibly militant sexual left is insistent that there are many genders.

So such a question is difficult for a Democrat to answer. It’s a politically relevant question, given the changes in the law and the claims (probably right) that the “Trans” sexuality issue is going to be “the next civil rights issue,” as many on the left predict, but the media will not ask the question, precisely because no answer is a good answer for a Democrat, and any answer will tend to alienate either the extreme militant sexual-left base, or the moderates needed to win elections.

They love asking exactly that sort of question of Republicans — the evolution question is designed to force Republicans to choose between their Biblical literalist supporters and their less literalist supporters — but they absolutely refuse to ask Democrats designed to produce the same sort of cleavage in their fragile coalition.

They’ll ask Chris Christie and Rand Paul about vaccines but they don’t dare ask the Smartest Woman in the World to count on her fingers and toes (if necessary) how many different variations of “man” and “woman” she recognizes. My only quibble with Ace on this is his assumption that if they did ask and she gave the expected answer — “two,” which would cover her among moderates — that she’d pay a price among the left. Obama ran in 2008 as a supporter of traditional marriage and the left shrugged because they knew, wisely, that they had more to gain from a winning lie than from holding his feet to the fire and risking a schism among Democrats before the election. Why wouldn’t they also look the other way if Hillary gave the conventional gender answer? They’ll have no trans-awareness leverage over President Walker but plenty over President Clinton.

Watch the first two minutes of the second clip below after you’re done with BuzzFeed’s video for Portlandia’s riff on the endless splintering of LGBT identities. It’s affectionate but trenchant in showing how phase two can reach a degree of silly self-absorption that makes it mock-worthy even to allies.