What is Identity Politics?
Identity Politics has been a topic of political conversation for some time now. But when you get down to the bare bones – what does it really mean? According to Merriam Webster – Identity politics is “Politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group”. Sounds to me a bit like “special interest groups”, to which political parties have been pandering to forever; -making explicit/specific promises in order to obtain votes. But these days there is more to Identity Politics than Webster’s definition.
Beginning about two decades ago, the Democrat party made the decision to make Identity Politics a centerpiece of its voter outreach efforts. Instead of voters belonging to self-defined special interest groups (as in the past), the Democrat party began to purposefully create “victim” groups that would align to its own self-interests. Today we see the fruits of these efforts. Nearly every group that the Democrats now cater to is designated as a “victim group” in some way. The goal of Identity politics now, is to obtain and keep political power; a means to furthering the liberal agenda.
The assigned victims in identity politics are told that life is inherently unfair to them and that they are the targets of bias, bigotry, misogyny, and countless phobias – and only the Democrat party can help them out of their situation. According to the left, the causes of victim-hood are many. And it will never end, because that would mean the end of Identity Politics and the political power that goes along with it. Certainly, the left will continue invent new phobias and grievances as necessary in order to keep their grasp on people (especially their votes – which is the point). If a person or group fits into a victim category, according to progressives, there is no alternative but to depend on government to solve their problems, and only government can prevent further mistreatment from the detested abusers (i.e. conservatives). Identity politics does not argue points or ideas when challenged; it responds by name calling as a way to shut down all discussion. Sneering, pejorative terms such as “racist, nazi, bigot”, etc. are used freely by the left, to the point where these words have lost their true meaning.
A built in problem with identity politics is that it purposefully, by design, is not inclusive. In order suit its objectives, designated “abusers” must be identified and then savagely attacked. The weakness in this strategy is that the so-called “abusers” may make up a larger percentage of the voter base. An example of this paradox was the election of 2016, where, in my opinion, a tipping point of identity politics was reached. Hillary Clinton, in her famous “Deplorables” speech, described Trump voters as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — a basket of deplorables”. The problem with this type of attack is that once you disparage 10’s of millions of the electorate as “deplorable, and unredeemable”, all in the name of identity politics, those same voters will never cast a vote in your favor; decidedly weakening the chances of winning the election. The other sad irony of identity politics is that the victims must remain victims (an essential component to the strategy). There is no way out. For once a person is no longer in a victim category the chances that he or she will vote Democrat are vastly reduced.
Quote of the month - Persistence
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Calvin Coolidge – US President, Governor of Massachusetts
Steve Nickerson is a 26 year resident of Mansfield, former US Marine, and is the Vice Chairman of the Mansfield Republican Town Committee – www.mansfieldgop.com. The opinions he expresses are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the committee members.