Fire up the Democratic war room. It’s time to get serious about the game plan for both the midterms and the 2020 POTUS race. And if they need any help, Julian Zelizer, a history and public affairs professor at Princeton, is offering up a general strategy guide for them. He doesn’t want the left to fall into the “trap” of wondering why they lost so badly in 2016. Everyone is telling them that they veered too far to the left and lost middle America. But Zelizer argues the opposite. It’s time to go all in on identity politics. Surely that will work this time! (CNN)
The big myth about the 2016 presidential election was that economic suffering drove most of Donald Trump’s “base” directly into his hands in states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. The story goes that while Democrats were tied in knots about identity politics, Trump’s attacks on China, free trade and open-ended immigration appealed to struggling workers who believed he could bring back their jobs.
The problem with the narrative is that we keep learning it is not true…
While the President keeps talking about the common man and woman, most of his economic policies, such as his tax overhaul or financial deregulations, have aimed to provide relief to corporations, investors, and families in the upper income brackets. But it is key to understand that his legislative actions are happening simultaneously with his continued rhetoric — attacks on immigrants, civil rights, gender equality, and anyone who dares to stand up for the ideas that he likes to deride as “political correctness” — that secured the support of his base to begin with.
First of all, I’d just like to congratulate Mr. Zelizer on his incredible perspicacity and encourage the entire Democratic Party to read that article. It’s a wonderful idea and you should all pursue it to the fullest. Forget about things like lower taxes, jobs and defeating ISIS. What people really want to hear about is Social Justice Warrior topics 24/7. This is your golden ticket and you should fully embrace it.
Having gotten the requisite sarcasm out of the way, I do seriously have to wonder what these people are thinking. Clearly I hope that they follow the course that Zelizer is charting, but that’s only because there’s a common theme in conservative social media circles which crops up every time one of these identity politics campaigns hits the news cycle. “That’s How You Got Trump. That’s How You’ll Get More Trump.”
What makes this all the more hilarious is that so many liberals seem to be completely, or even willfully blind to the inherent hypocrisy in these campaigns. It’s currently very much in vogue on the left to refer to Republicans and conservatives as “tribalist.” It’s a thinly veiled reference to their belief that Trump wants to divide the nation in some racist fashion or something. But the reality is that identity politics is designed from the ground up to separate everyone off into their own easily recognizable pigeonholes and band together to express outrage whenever anything supposedly offends one of these warring groups.
Granted, the GOP fails on this score in many ways also, but shouldn’t the ultimate goal of equality be the lack of any need for “diversity” because everyone is being treated equally? While we still have a ways to go before it’s achieved, I thought the original idea was that the melting pot would eventually produce a colorblind society where nobody cares which demographic group you fit into. With true equality that’s no longer an issue.
But instead, modern liberals seek to split everyone up into potentially warring camps rather than working to solve the challenges which face all Americans. If that’s their plan for 2020 they may once again be in for an unpleasant surprise.