Monday, November 21, 2016

Identity Politics and Its Defenders //David Leonhardt

As Hillary Clinton's plurality marched toward 2 million what to do?  The short answer is we're stuck because rural areas with thin population are strongly favored by the Constitution (which so many revere while I agree with William Lloyd Garrison that it is a pact with the devil).
Many - like Bernie Sanders- believe that he or a class warrior like elizabeth Warren would have won.  But to accept that you have to assume that economic inequality and insecurity drove white rural voters choices.  But Sanders renunciation of "the billionaire class" makes it hard to say he would have succeeded when the political majority voted for a vulgar `billionaire'.
I'm afraid that white nationalist identity is a much stronger force than calls for a higher minimum wage, to bring back the factories, etc.  - gwc
Identity Politics and Its Defenders //David Leonhardt

Mark Lilla’s much-discussed piece in yesterday’s Times tapped into a debate about “identity politics.” Lilla argued that Democrats had lost the election by focusing on ethnicity, gender and sexuality rather than “appealing to Americans as Americans and emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority of them.”
His view fits with the post-election conventional wisdom: that Democrats must do better appealing to the white working class to regain power. I largely agree, but I also think that Democrats need to be careful about alienating their current constituencies — particularly since many of those constituencies are growing.
****The core criticism was that Lilla was wrong to suggest the political left deserves blame for initiating the focus on racial (and other) groups. “The label of ‘identity politics’ is mostly ridiculous whenever used, because American politics historically was based on white male identity,” Vann R. Newkirk II of The Atlantic wrote on Twitter. “Trump’s entire candidacy & now presidency was based on one of the most effective campaigns of identity politics in history.”
Likewise, Ira Madison III, at, wrote: “Trump is confirming racists and white nationalists for his cabinet, but it’s the liberals focusing on identity politics that are getting us into trouble?” You’ll find similar points in the comments section of Lilla’s article, including one from Sara, one of the first comments under “Readers’ Picks.”
All of these arguments make a vital historical point: This country’s deep racial problems stem from discrimination, not from oversensitivity about discrimination. And it would be a terrible mistake for anyone to shy away from criticizing Donald Trump’s alarming choices for attorney general and chief White House strategist.***

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