The End of Identity Liberalism (1 Viewer)

Dave

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It is a truism that America has become a more diverse country. It is also a beautiful thing to watch. Visitors from other countries, particularly those having trouble incorporating different ethnic groups and faiths, are amazed that we manage to pull it off. Not perfectly, of course, but certainly better than any European or Asian nation today. It’s an extraordinary success story.

But how should this diversity shape our politics? The standard liberal answer for nearly a generation now has been that we should become aware of and “celebrate” our differences. Which is a splendid principle of moral pedagogy — but disastrous as a foundation for democratic politics in our ideological age. In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.

One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals.

....The media’s newfound, almost anthropological, interest in the angry white male reveals as much about the state of our liberalism as it does about this much maligned, and previously ignored, figure. A convenient liberal interpretation of the recent presidential election would have it that Mr. Trump won in large part because he managed to transform economic disadvantage into racial rage — the “whitelash” thesis. This is convenient because it sanctions a conviction of moral superiority and allows liberals to ignore what those voters said were their overriding concerns. It also encourages the fantasy that the Republican right is doomed to demographic extinction in the long run — which means liberals have only to wait for the country to fall into their laps. The surprisingly high percentage of the Latino vote that went to Mr. Trump should remind us that the longer ethnic groups are here in this country, the more politically diverse they become.

Finally, the whitelash thesis is convenient because it absolves liberals of not recognizing how their own obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored. Such people are not actually reacting against the reality of our diverse America (they tend, after all, to live in homogeneous areas of the country). But they are reacting against the omnipresent rhetoric of identity, which is what they mean by “political correctness.” Liberals should bear in mind that the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan, which still exists. Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/opinion/sunday/the-end-of-identity-liberalism.html?_r=0

This article was a good post-election analysis about how Clinton, the media, and many liberals lost to such a horrible candidate like Trump.
 

JimEverett

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There should be some degree of fear for Democrats, even though Clinton got more votes.

The racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation social issue talk is geared too heavily for so-called elites, imo. If Republicans put together a decent jobs program and sell it (I doubt they are capable of doing it, but still . . .) then you are looking at siphoning off a decent amount of the monority base of the Democratic coalition. This is the danger of ignoring and talking down to working class whites - they are probably the largest plurality in the electorate.

Further, it just feels like the Democratic coalition is made up of a substantial number of people that are really voting anti-Republican, particularly now that Obama is gone. That is fine for particular elections, but it is not sustainable going forward and will vanish if and when the Republican Party makes a change.
 
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Dave

Dave

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There should be some degree of fear for Democrats, even though Clinton got more votes.
Clinton got more votes, but it doesn't matter since obviously we don't elect a President based off of the popular vote. Trump campaigned based on the electoral college and not the popular vote. If we did elect our President based on the popular vote the Trump would have campaigned in blue states like New York and California. Who knows if he would have won the popular vote in that circumstance, but it just seems like a weak way to try to cast doubt on someone winning the Presidency the same way we have done it since 1788. Bill Clinton won only 43% of the popular vote in 1992. I'm not directing this post at you Jim, but just in general.
 

JimEverett

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Clinton got more votes, but it doesn't matter since obviously we don't elect a President based off of the popular vote. Trump campaigned based on the electoral college and not the popular vote. If we did elect our President based on the popular vote the Trump would have campaigned in blue states like New York and California. Who knows if he would have won the popular vote in that circumstance, but it just seems like a weak way to try to cast doubt on someone winning the Presidency the same way we have done it since 1788. Bill Clinton won only 43% of the popular vote in 1992. I'm not directing this post at you Jim, but just in general.
No doubt.
I am just saying she got more votes as a way of saying its not like Democrats were soundly defeated and need to go back to the drawing board or something like that.
Both parties have work to do in terms of the electorate.
 

porculator

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There should be some degree of fear for Democrats, even though Clinton got more votes.

The racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation social issue talk is geared too heavily for so-called elites, imo. If Republicans put together a decent jobs program and sell it (I doubt they are capable of doing it, but still . . .) then you are looking at siphoning off a decent amount of the monority base of the Democratic coalition. This is the danger of ignoring and talking down to working class whites - they are probably the largest plurality in the electorate.

Further, it just feels like the Democratic coalition is made up of a substantial number of people that are really voting anti-Republican, particularly now that Obama is gone. That is fine for particular elections, but it is not sustainable going forward and will vanish if and when the Republican Party makes a change.
Good post. I think the Republicans have a lot to gain from offering more to the working class. Granted it clashes with the whole small government thing, but I think after the recession and "recovery" people finally realized that trickle down economics is BS.

The republican base has always been an odd marriage of the ultra rich and the working class people that they screw over. I think Trump proved that you can alienate the rich folk and gain a lot more by appeasing the working class. I mean just think if someone like Trump ran with his message without having all of the horrible gaffes and glaring personality flaws. They would have won in a landslide.
 

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It seems pretty obvious. If you're going with a message of including everyone, make sure you remember that white people are part of "everyone".

The color that really binds us all together is green. Dems can make a lot of hay with an unapologetic "We're for the little guy" message.
 

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Good post. I think the Republicans have a lot to gain from offering more to the working class. Granted it clashes with the whole small government thing, but I think after the recession and "recovery" people finally realized that trickle down economics is BS.

The republican base has always been an odd marriage of the ultra rich and the working class people that they screw over. I think Trump proved that you can alienate the rich folk and gain a lot more by appeasing the working class. I mean just think if someone like Trump ran with his message without having all of the horrible gaffes and glaring personality flaws. They would have won in a landslide.
That guy got beat in the primaries because he couldn't connect with minorities.
 

porculator

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That guy got beat in the primaries because he couldn't connect with minorities.
Who, Bernie?

Democrats have to connect to minorities, republicans don't apparently.
 

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Looking at Trumps tax policies, and a lot of his promises, I can't believe he will fool this group twice. He got a lot of people who voted against their self interest and in 4 years where there are some brown people still in the country, gays aren't jumping up and down for conversion therapy, 30 buck an hour factory jobs not raining from the sky and they realize the 1% is getting an 18-20 percent tax cut and they are getting a .8% break he won't stay so popular.

If it wasn't for the head of the FBI and his last little preelection stunt he wouldn't have won.


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Goatman Saint

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No the republicans don't. I also believe Trump is a reality star and a lot of people (sitting here with my father in law who is thrilled that Trump is going to make America great again smh) fell for his popularity and his image. He tapped into some resentment from a certain population. Also Hillary, even amongst democrats was as popular as a dog who just rolled in ****.


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Saint by the Bay

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The Democrats may have learned it may not work for them anymore. Republicans have learned their brand of it is the golden goose that will keep laying eggs.
 

V Chip

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It's odd hearing this laid at the feet of liberals, since save for the BLM movement, all the rest are simply responses to conservtive measures to restrict the rights or the groups in question. Gay Marriage didn't gain as much traction until conservatives tried specifically to outlaw it in many states. The "Bathroom Bill" and LGBTQ rights issues were in direct response to conservative laws being passed banning any locality from enacting anything that goes against a state mandate. Gender issues are the result of conservatives trying to defund Planned Parenthood and legislate what women can do with their bodies AND denying them birth control or other pregnancy options in the ACA. Latino issues are a direct response to the hardline anti-immigration stance most conservatives have taken, the language Donald Trump himself used on the campaign trail, and the recent spate of anti-immigrant laws that have been passed in conservative states (with disastrous economic results for those industries dependent upon immigrant labor). Heck even BLM can be tied back to black people feeling their voices are not being heard in the (mostly conservative) realm of law enforcement.

The article read more like "quit trying to ensure everyone has equal rights, because that gets those with the most rights upset." It states some complete falsehoods as well: "The surprisingly high percentage of the Latino vote that went to Mr. Trump should remind us that the longer ethnic groups are here in this country, the more politically diverse they become." Really? The Latino vote for Trump was WAY down from what it was for Romney (23% for Romney; 18% for Trump: that means 22% of Latinos who voted Republican last time decided they could not do it again this time), and that is even further down from what McCain got in 2008 (31%). Then he claims the first "identity" political group in America was the KKK... :jpshakehead: He claims the "whitelash" idea is wrongheaded, but then argues for it throughout the piece that those not a part of the identity feel left out and forgotten, thus they voted for Trump: "[Liberals] not recognizing how their own obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored" or how Trump played up that exact identity politics to get them to vote for him.
 

Saint by the Bay

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Interesting - exit polls show Trump got 29% of the Latino vote, which was 2% more than Romney.

But I see where capturing the Latino vote is somewhat problematic and election eve poll give the 18% number.

Trump Probably Did Better With Latino Voters Than Romney Did | FiveThirtyEight
Honestly, this is the only thing about the election that still bothers me. I was really confused election night, but after days of pouring over numbers I feel like I understand what occurred.

Except this. I really don't get this. How does a man who was outwardly hostile to Hispanics (not just illegals) and had a long history of anti-latino statements do better than a guy who genuinely made an attempt at outreach?
 

Galbreath34

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Gender of the candidates may have more than a small part in the variance.
 

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