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Democrats in Thrall to Identity Politics

by | Jan 16, 2019 | Articles, Politics, Race

Leading Democrats have already made it clear that they expect a progressive standard bearer in 2020. As we get closer to the next presidential election, the leftist baggage that accompanies such a worldview whittles away at any wriggle room for would-be candidates.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”24″]…also rattle the hopes of pragmatic Dems who simply want to beat President Trump…[/perfectpullquote] Since the 2018 midterm elections, there has been an odd emphasis on the firm grip the party holds on black female voters. Indeed, black women do vote Democrat to a startlingly uniform degree. “In Tuesday’s midterms, 94 percent of black women voters supported Beto O’Rourke, [GOP Texas Sen. Ted] Cruz’s opponent; in Georgia, 97 percent of African-American women backed Democrat Stacey Abrams,” wrote black female columnist Renee Graham in the leftist Boston Globe in November.

“Black women generally don’t vote against their self-interests,” Graham pronounced with the leaden and self-marginalizing tone of groupthink. “We vote as if our lives depend on it, because they do.”

Narrowing Their Reach

Of course, blacks have been reliably voting Democrat in elections for decades. But for whatever reason, prospective 2020 aspirants are being told that they must focus intensely on issues of unique importance to a sub-category of voters that Dems already have in the bag and who are not likely to change decisively an electoral college outcome.

“Any candidate who is going to win a Democratic primary needs to engage young people and women, African American women in particular,’’ Amanda Litman, founder of a progressive group called Run for Something, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s hard for me to imagine many of the older white men being able to engage those groups.”

“Black women are a pivotal group to get on your side, and it’s hard to be successful in a Democratic primary without them,” Stefanie Brown James, who served as national African-American vote director for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012, told Real Clear Politics. “It will be problematic for the party if there’s not a person of color on the ticket when there are extremely qualified people running who could be president or vice president.”

Unsound Strategy

Here we are, barely into 2019, and already the pool of “qualified” candidates will shrink dramatically if such strict adherence to Dem identity politics dogma is truly applied. Quotes such as these surely must cause quivers of fear to run down the spines of Old Guard establishment Dems like Vice President Joe Biden, veteran leftists like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and well-heeled billionaires like Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer.

This mindset must also rattle the hopes of pragmatic Dems who simply want to beat President Trump and would dearly love to see a candidate with national appeal take the reins in 2020. Focusing on the female portion of a racial group that makes up only 12% of the population and is not a demographic factor in the flyover country that turned out overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016 most certainly does not seem a path to victory.

Yet reporter Adele Malpass at Real Clear Politics writes as if it is just that in the minds of progressives:

“Democrats eyeing the 2020 race are strategizing on how to stitch back together the Obama-era coalition, with special emphasis on galvanizing African-American voters once again. In 2016 Hillary Clinton received 88 percent of the black vote whereas Obama got 93 percent — with a higher overall turnout. Some analysts believe she’d have won battleground states such as Michigan if she had better results with black voters.”

So let me get this straight. Turning the 88% monolithic support from a minority voting bloc that the party’s losing presidential candidate received in 2016 back into the 93% that a winning candidate garnered is the secret recipe to defeating a sitting president still wildly popular with his base who claimed 30 states when he won office? That extra 5% from this one specific set of voters is really going to push you over the cliff? This is the progressive plan?

It’s been said before and – why not? – I’ll say it again. Come up with real policy programs that can appeal to all Americans on vital issues such as jobs and the economy, Democrats, and you just may be able to compete across America and not remain confined in your narrow blue box by the coasts and the big cities.

Yet the party seems adamantly determined not to do this. The progressive demand to tailor the 2020 presidential campaign to one particular class of voters, be it black women or one-legged piano tuners in Oklahoma, will continue to stunt the intellectual development of this increasingly juvenile party and to ensure that once again it will have no message of substance to offer the whole of the American people.

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