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Identity Politics and the Downfall of the Modern Left

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

As anyone paying attention to American politics for the past 50 years can attest, the left has abided by one basic principle from which they never waver. Such is, when you can’t make a rational argument for or against something, make a racist or sexist one. Identity politics and perceived victimhood are the preferred weapons of the modern Democrat party and they wield them in defense of their positions more viciously than a mama grizzly protecting her cubs. 


It’s hard to forget Joe Biden’s famous 2012 shot at the Republican Romney/Ryan ticket to a mostly black audience, “They're Going To Put Y'all Back In Chains!” Since the Obama ticket was in a virtual toss-up with Romney at the time, it was time for Biden invoke slavery rather than stand on his ticket’s economic policy. This past 4th of July celebration, a celebration of our national unity, saw Colin Kaepernick, the one-time NFL quarterback continue his assault on all things American that cost him his once truly mediocre career. After the public reaction to his hatred of this country (along with his QB rating and overdeveloped sense of self-worth) cost him his ability to publicly kneel for the anthem, Kaepernick determined the planned Nike “Betsy Ross Flag” shoe was just too racist to stand, or kneel, for. Yes, Betsy Ross, abolitionist, Quaker, and alleged designer of the flag, apparently, was a racist. Kaepernick couldn’t persuade with his kneeling argument, so he launched a racist attack on sneaker.

The current debate over the constitutionally mandated decennial U.S. Census has led to Democrats in Congress charging that the simple inclusion of the question, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” is fundamentally and inherently racist. That question has been asked in one form or another since 1820 save for 2010 under President Obama. Further, the very same question is asked annually by the American Community Survey, under, yes, the Census Bureau. Even the United Nations, in their Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, encourages asking the question. The “citizenship question” is necessary for the allocation of resources, fair allotment of Congressional seats, and to understand our immigration situation. 


Yet, since Congressional Democrats can’t refute these fundamental truths, they are compelled by both necessity and tradition to denounce the very question as racist. Nancy Pelosi recently, and absent any support, declared the question was part of President Trump’s effort to “make America white again.” Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, never one to sit out a fake race war, chimed in with, “It's about reducing the number of people of color being counted in the census. That's exactly what it's about.” No substantive arguments, again. No rational argument, so just a racist one. 

Amusingly enough, prominent Democrats have now turned their racist firing squad into a circular one. An assault typically reserved for Republicans and independents who might dare to disagree, has now become the attack of choice in the ongoing Democrat civil war. Last month’s Democratic Debates saw California Senator and identity politics warrior Kamala Harris attack frontrunner Joe Biden for his past associations with segregationists. She also attacked him for, believe it or not, having remarkably similar positions to herself on school busing. Substantive arguments be damned, let the racist missiles fly.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s very public, and rather entertaining, feud with Nancy Pelosi has seen the same deranged disintegration into racist attacks. AOC’s Chief of Staff Saikat Chakrabarti, in a since deleted tweet, denounced blue-dog moderate Democrats as, basically, segregationists, saying, “They certainly seem hell-bent to do black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s”. The Speaker reportedly fired back behind closed doors. That, coupled with Pelosi’s public dismissals of the extreme left of her party such as “that’s like five people” and, “They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”, has really got AOC’s racial fire raging.


Responding to Pelosi, AOC quickly declared, “But the persistent singling out ... it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful ... the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color”. Wait, what did anything Pelosi said of any of her even more left flank have to do with race or gender? Nothing, but it was the very first instinctive response from someone raised on identity politics.

The Democrat establishment relies on identity politics attacks for three simple reasons. They are accustomed to it, they believe that it works, and they have very little else with which to advance their agenda. It will also ultimately prove to be their downfall for three simple reasons. The American people are tired of it, it doesn’t work, and it is now destroying the left from the inside. This is a train wreck that one cannot look away from.

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