How often have you seen a talking head on the news media wailing about how Republicans are raging bigots and thought to yourself “this is how you got Trump?” If you’re like many other conservatives, this probably happens multiple times every week.
There is a reason for that.
Republicans won big in the 2016 election for a variety of reasons. Voters were tired of Obama’s policies. Hillary Clinton was a horrible candidate. Americans wanted positive change. But one of the reasons Republicans came out on top is because of the conservative revolt that is taking place against the left’s hold on our culture.
Trump can claim some credit, but the resistance to identity politics was one of the primary factors that drove the result of the election. Indeed, Trump’s election was seen by many as a decisive repudiation of identity politics.
Silence The Opposition
For decades, leftist professors, activists, and politicians have used identity and victimhood to attract supporters. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, they used this approach to convince minorities, women, and members of the LGBTQ community that they needed to be rescued from the evil bigotry of conservatives. However, in the last couple decades, they began using identity politics in a far more nefarious manner.
Now, identity politics is used to shame, silence, and discredit those who disagree with the left. On college campuses, left-leaning students bully conservative students into silence by calling them bigots. Media personalities routinely smear right-leaning politicians as hateful individuals.
Identity politics has become a weapon the left uses against those with whom they disagree. If you don’t believe blacks need the government to pull them out of poverty, you are a racist. If you think men and women are inherently different, you are a sexist. If you believe that radical Islamic terrorism is a serious threat, you are an Islamophobe.
The left’s tendency to wield identity politics as a rhetorical cudgel began to backfire during the years of the Obama administration. People got tired of being unfairly labeled as bigots. They grew weary of being told to be silent. The tension built until conservatives decided they just didn’t care anymore.
Previously, being accused of racism was one of the worst things that could happen — especially to whites. The person on the receiving end of the indictment would lash out angrily, proving their level of tolerance. When whites believed someone else was engaging in racist behavior, they would be quick to correct them. Unfortunately, the left has used the word so often and so freely that it no longer packs the same punch. After all, if you call everyone racist, why would they continue to keep trying to convince you that they aren’t?
Conservatives from all backgrounds decided that enough was enough. We didn’t want to be stifled by asinine and restrictive forms of political correctness. We got sick and tired of the left avoiding debates over policy by calling us bigots — and now we are fighting back. By doubling down on identity politics, the left did not just shoot themselves in the foot — they set it on fire, ran it over with a bus, and then dipped it in battery acid. Unfortunately for them, they still haven’t learned.
The Left Isn’t Learning
It appears that the left has not learned from their trouncing in 2016. Not only are they still relying on the politics of identity, but they are also intensifying their efforts. Hardly a few days can go by without us seeing a news report designed to make Trump supporters look like bigots. Recently, CNN contributor Michaela Angela Davis claimed that all Trump voters are racists. Left-wing activists like Tariq Nasheed routinely accuse right-wingers of being motivated by racial animus.
The far left’s zeal for identity politics has blinded them to the fact that their tactics are not working as they have in the past. Left-leaning publications like Vox and The Washington Post have actually put out pieces defending identity politics. What’s the definition of insanity again?
The conservative revolt is rooted in many different factors, but identity politics remains one of the most egregious evils we are opposing. Fortunately, more and more Americans are beginning to reject the far left’s message of victimhood and oppression. However, if the left’s current behavior is any indication, they don’t mind giving Trump another term in 2020. After all, this is how they got Trump, right?
A self-confessed news and political junkie, Jeff’s writing has been featured in Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post. Born in Southern California and having experienced the 1992 L.A. Riots up close and personal, Jeff's insights are informed by his experiences as a black man and a conservative.
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