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Let the Identity Politics Pageant Begin

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Tonight, the debates for the Democratic Nomination for president of the United States will begin. Not one, but two glorious nights of NBC’s new, not ‘Must See TV’, but ‘Well, If the Yankee Game Is Rained Out and There Isn’t A Three Stooges Marathon On, Kinda Sorta Gotta See TV!’


Presidential races and nominating contests are supposed to be about the presentation of new ideas. Means by which we can move beyond existing problems facing our country, both real and perceived. Instead we are to be treated to a contest of who can bring something superficial and meaningless, yet new to the political scene.

The current state of the Democratic Party is one committed not to the best interest of the country as a whole, but instead, a parade of identity politics. The differences we have been told repeatedly, and correctly, do not and should not matter. 

And when that sort of political approach takes hold, the true issues of substance become watered down into bland nothingness. True issues like rising student loan debt, Iranian aggression, government overreach, all become secondary or even tertiary concerns. Once these issues become merely a backdrop to the identity politics show they’re reduced to mere interchangeable pieces and often insignificant parts. The candidate with the popular superficial qualities simply appropriates the ideas of the more insightful but less “made for the stage candidate” rather than vice versa.


This problem becomes ever more compounded with the current state of the race to not only unseat but tear down President Trump. Virtually every mainstream media report on a candidate’s every move is qualified with a race, gender, age, or sexual orientation description. 

The current nomination fight is nothing more than a race to the left. Which candidate can get to the furthest extreme the fastest? Free college, free income, free health insurance (not to be confused with health care). Who can promise the most for nothing? And then each will simply parrot the other. Then judgment will be rated on the basis of the identity factors of the people who said the same thing.

The debates, assuming you can still call them “debates,” will be 15-second soundbites of tired and predictable rhetorical catchphrases. “Existential threat,” “No one is above the law, even the President,” and “Russia, Russia, Russia” will doubtlessly and countlessly be echoed by each “debater” until one is declared the winner based on how loud and how often they shout these tired talking points. And of course, their identity factor and victimhood score.


There exists no discernable difference of ideas or principles among the candidates, at least not since John Delaney and John Hickenlooper were both loudly booed off stage last week. Both had the audacity to denounce socialism at the California State Democratic Convention. The nerve of them!

If all the candidates are promising the same thing, what, really, is the difference between any of them substantively? One might as well judge the candidates based solely on the things, we, as Americans, should deem unimportant. All the identity factors they proudly tout. As a former presidential candidate once declared, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Perhaps used in a different context, but still quite relevant.

So, let the Identity Politics Pageant commence. And pray the baseball games aren’t rained out.

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