The War On Identity Politics
What did your family fight about this Thanksgiving?
by Chris Thomas
In one of Trump’s absurd rallies, the actual President of the actual United States said the following:
You know, some people want to change the name “Thanksgiving.” They don’t want to use the term “Thanksgiving.” And that was true also with Christmas, but now everybody’s using Christmas again.
As the official robotic hive-mind of the Vast, Liberal, Deep-State Conspiracy™, we here at Resistbot would like to formally note that this is not, and never has been, a thing. Really. There are just so many bigger things to care about that none of us can even bother putting together the list to work out how far down it this would be.
But it would be really, really far down it. Really far.
But if, like many of us, you just finished a carb-heavy, tryptophan-laced meal with a bunch of people who can name their third-favorite Fox News anchor, you may still be trying to work out how you, personally, are responsible for whatever-the-heck “identity politics” is.
We got you, fam, but first we’re going to do you a solid. The next couple paragraphs are pretty wonkish. You can read them if you like or just skip down to the three dots.
Identity Politics is a term coined back in the 1970s. Back then, it meant that members of minority groups were more likely to face oppression because they were minorities. This is, to most of us in the 21st century, a pretty uncontroversial statement. Sometime after that, however, the phrase came to refer to the tendency to preference forming political alliances on the basis of those minority identities rather than trying to form issue-based alliances.
An example might help.
When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, a lot of folks assumed that African Americans would vote for him because of the color of his skin. They ignored the fact that the policies he championed had broad appeal in African American communities.
When Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2016, a lot of folks just assumed that women would vote for her because she is a woman. This turned out not to be the case, largely because there are few issues with broad appeal to all women.
Obama’s run was criticized — falsely — as Democrats indulging identity politics. Clinton’s failed — in part — because Democrats counted on identity politics to save them.
So if identity politics are about counting on someone identifying as a member of some oppressed minority, what does that have to do with the imaginary war on Thanksgiving?
Trump’s run in 2016 and every bit of his politics since then has been centered around the identity politics of the rural, white, low-education voter. The strategy is to paint a caricature of an avocado-toast eating, soy-milk swilling, gender-non-conforming, pan-sexual, atheist, bicycle riding hipster and then tell blue-collar America that they’re coming for Christmas, Jesus, Guns, and apparently Thanksgiving. And that because of that, everyone else should vote for Republicans.
So why did you just spend Thanksgiving trying to explain to your MAGA-hat wearing uncle that, no, you really don’t want to turn it into Indigenous Peoples Day*? Because your Thanksgiving dinner is the latest collateral damage in the GOP’s ongoing identity politics offensive.
Buckle up; the War on Christmas is up next.
What Can I Do?
There are real problems which face much of middle America and those problems need to be solved. Rather than treating rural and blue-collar voters like frightened sheep, Congress and the President could try the radical tactic of actually helping to solve these problems.
You can hold them accountable. If you want your Representatives, Senators, State Government, etc. to stop pretending that the most pressing issue facing our country is what Starbucks prints on a coffee cup, send the word Resist to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text RESIST to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to demand better. 🦃👊🤖
* Columbus Day, for those of you keeping track.