During the 2016 primaries the U.S electorate’s obvious, consistent, attempt to affirm its identity in contrast with those of the ruling class set aside concerns about particular policies. It produced Donald Trump as the Republican candidate because his campaign was all about identifying himself with those Americans who had felt most keenly the abuse coming from above. Socialist Bernie Sanders almost became the Democratic candidate (but for his party machinery’s interference) by showing that he was even more in tune than Clinton with his constituency’s arrogation of moral supremacy over the rest of the country. In sum, the 2016 elections were won and lost on the ground of this new kind of identity politics.
The ruling class and its Democratic Party had been practicing identity politics with increasing intensity for more than a generation. The elections’ outcome convinced them that they needed to engage in it just about exclusively, and in a warlike manner. Possessed of the modern administrative state’s manifold levers of power, they expect to win that war. That is unlikely, if only because its components’ notions of their respective identities’ demands are ever expanding. Hence they preclude imposing any extended peace among themselves, never mind with the rest of America. This impossibility of socio-political peace is the reason why the revolution in which we are living is just getting started.