Describing the Democratic Party as one built on "identity politics" used to be a pejorative. But Georgia's failed 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, recently defended this description of her party. "I would argue that identity politics is exactly who we are," said Abrams, "and it's exactly how we won. ... When we refuse to engage in the conversation of identity politics, when we refuse to acknowledge that we see you and we understand you and we understand the barriers that you face, then what we are met with is a lack of trust."
Fellow Democrat and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg apparently failed to get the memo. A week before Abrams embraced and even expressed pride in Democrats' identity politics, Buttigieg was blasting President Donald Trump for his "racist" use of it. Trump, said Buttigieg, engages in "peak white identity politics" that creates a "crisis of belonging" in America "designed to drive apart people with common interests." Buttigieg added, "When you do not belong, it doesn't just put you in a bad mood; it puts you in a different country."
By "identity" politics, Democrats really mean grievances. The party leaders push the narrative that blacks, Hispanics, gays, etc. are victims, whether due "inequality" or "sexism" or "racism" or "otherism."
Take 2020 Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris, who announced plans to end the alleged grievance of "unequal pay." Harris claims women working full time make 80 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men. She insists it's worse for minorities: Black women are only paid 61 cents on the dollar, Hispanic women 53 cents. Never mind that the Labor Department long ago debunked this myth.
In 2009, the Labor Department, after controlling for education, job differences, number of hours worked and other factors, found that the wage gap between genders shrank to 5%: "A greater percentage of women than men tend to work part-time. Part-time work tends to pay less than full-time work. A greater percentage of women than men tend to leave the labor force for childbirth, childcare and elder care. Some of the wage gap is explained by the percentage of women who were not in the labor force during previous years, the age of women, and the number of children in the home. Women, especially working mothers, tend to value 'family friendly' workplace policies more than men. Some of the wage gap is explained by industry and occupation, particularly, the percentage of women who work in the industry and occupation." As to the remaining 5% difference, the report said even that could be explained by reasons other than sexism.
Harris' proposed "equal pay" law mandates that companies obtain federal certification to demonstrate women are not being underpaid. Failure to certify could cost billions in fines. Companies also incur fines of 1% of average daily profits for each 1% "gap" between the pay of male and female employees who perform the same job.
Harris might like to start with her own Senate office. Her average male Senate staff salary was 6 cents more on the dollar compared to that of a female staffer, the Washington Free Beacon found. Men earned more on the dollar compared to women during the first full month on Harris' presidential campaign. But this is par for the course. President Barack Obama repeatedly railed against the alleged "pay gap" between men and women. Never mind that during his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama paid his non-intern male Senate staffers more than he paid female staffers, $54,397 to $45,152, respectively. In the White House, President Obama continued his "sexist" tradition, paying male staffers more than female staffers, $71,000 to $60,000, respectively, according to a 2011 annual report. Sen. Hillary Clinton, from 2002 to 2008, also paid male staffers more than female staffers -- $15,708.38 more, with females getting 72 cents on the dollar compared to men, according to Senate expenditure reports.
Socialist Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders peddles another grievance: If some get paid a lot, why can't others get paid more? "If we are a nation that can provide contracts to baseball players for hundreds of millions of dollars," said Sanders, "don't tell me we cannot pay teachers in this country the kind of wages and salaries they deserve."
Sanders might be on to something. He implicitly suggests that under a privatized educational system, teachers would be compensated at the level of their expertise, as defined by the free market. Under such a private system, schools could bid for "top draft picks," the best students coming out of education colleges. Put the Annual Teacher Draft on cable TV. The best sign lucrative contracts, renewed based upon performance, with pay adjusted up or down accordingly. No tenure, no requirement of an act of God to fire someone for incompetence. Grievance solved.
Sanders for secretary of the Department of Education!
Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @LarryElder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.