Is the Democrats identity politics paradigm helping or hurting in the age of Trump?

From wikipedia ( section below) re the definition of identity politics it does seem that the idea of a “common basis” for culture is more fragmented that it has ever been and the focus of the Democratic Party often seems more oriented toward satisfying and celebrating groups that are based on “affirmations of difference” vs progressive common causes. The flipside of this is that larger demographics like the white working class feel disrespected, marginalized and ignored.

One is this “identity politics is a thing” with the Democrats an objectively true observation and (two) does it matter in effectively contending with Trump?

There’s a cottage industry of “thinkers” who’re “really progressives you guys” but insist they have to denounce the center-left for being “identitarian.” Some of them have a fair point that economics matters and that the professional pols of UK Labour and the USA Democrats have reverted to aristocratic type; but even they spend a lot of time demonizing the party leadership on the charge that “the party demonizes white working class people.” Sure.

I agree that the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have the wrong priorities to lead a center+left grand coalition. And of course Tony Blair is a monster and criminal in other, clear, and specific ways. But saying Democrats don’t even want votes from the majority of Americans, or that New Labour just despises regular Britons, that’s basically nonsense. Uh. My local Democratic Party has been full of white working class people for ages. I wanted them to reach out to young blacks more than they were. I guess I’ve been living in opposite land?

Unless someone can show me, facts on the ground, that the Democratic Party of Bubba and Hilly really doesn’t want the votes of middle-income middle-Americans, or whatever the UK equivalent of that is, I call bullshit. I fear that this is what happens when old commies and those they speak to get their news from Murdoch outlets. The right-wing owners of the mass-market press make fools of those who would be the left.

The black, latino and asian working class voted for Hillary. Only the white working class voted for Trump.

Also Trump ran on identity politics. He ran on dog whistles about America being a white, christian nation and wanting to keep the latinos and muslims out, and wanting to let the police suppress black people.

Also Hillary won the popular vote, she just won it in the wrong states.

I’m all for reaching out to the WWC, but dems aren’t going to win them. However if we lose them by smaller margins, then great. Dems lost them by 39 points in 2016, if dems can only lose them by 30 points in 2020, that’ll lead to an electoral victory.

The question is how do the dems gain ground with the WWC without losing their values? In 2008 Obama lost the WWC by 14 points, he lost them by about 28 points in 2012, Hillary lost them by 39 points in 2016. How do we go back to losing them by 28 points like in 2012? Not sure.

“Identity politics” helped Trump get the white vote, so I don’t see how it can be argued that it hurts “in the age of Trump.”

What Wesley Clark said. A Republican candidate winning the WWC by 39% is an unsustainable anomaly.

I don’t believe that identity politics uniquely hurt so much as you can’t run on them alone. I was a Clinton supporter/voter but don’t think she had much of an economic message to sell to those uninterested in women/black/gay/etc issues.

It has hurt already. The Democrats forgot that a lot of ‘white’ people feel like they have an identity that is being ignored. Voters are like children, remember that thing about being the only one not invited to the birthday party?

An interesting and pointed metaphor. I will swipe it for future use.

Yesterday, a Progressive friend of mine, Ron Nirenberg, was elected Mayor of the city, winning over the conservative incumbent, Ivy Taylor.

Ron opened his victory speech with kind words about his opponent and then started the meat of the speech with the following:

His message was one of inclusion, of fairness for all, precisely the opposite of what is being advised in this thread.

Now, admittedly, San Antonio is a city where this message resonates: Ivy Taylor, the conservative Republican supported by elements of the Trump campaign, is an African American woman who originally replaced Hispanic Julian Castro when he got tagged for the Obama cabinet. Ron is Filipino/Jewish while his wife is Hispanic.

Regardless, it’s not the wrong message, ever. Not in this society - many Trump voters, most of them I argue, were identity votes. He sure did not give them much else, did he?

Dems: Let’s have people of all races, faiths, and backgrounds get along.

Pubs: OMG identity politics! And there’s a Mexican, let’s get him!

Dems: “Except deplorables, you idiot Bernie Bros.,…”

I’m white working class. I used to vote democratic, but I sat out this election. I thought Trump had struck a pretty good chord early on in some of his speeches, I thought he was saying the right things to appeal to people in circumstances similar to mine.

The democrats are very intellectual, I can appreciate that, but I think there is just a very dismissive tone with their rhetoric. I guess I feel like the democrats have almost gotten into this self righteous tone that I used to only associate with religious right wing politics.

I did not vote for Trump either BTW, that’s just a bridge too far for me.

It isn’t that the Democratic Party doesn’t want the votes of middle-income Americans. It’s that they were complacent and figured they already had those votes.

One thing is clear: When you have that kind of race-based divergence in the votes of individuals within a single economic bloc it means that one party of the other, heck possibly both, is doing something wrong. Any policies that hurt the “white working class” actually hurt the black working class worse be they’re less able to cope with it. The Democrats should do better with the WWC because their programs are arguably better for them. Republicans could do better with minorities but don’t because one loose-lipped bigot, of which they have many, can undo in five minutes years of outreach work.

It’s worth noting that Trump did better with minorities than Romney did.

I’m glad to hear someone bring this up. I think part of what I see and experience that I think gets overlooked is that I have far more in common with a Black, Mexican, Muslim person, what have you, who is working class than I would with any one who is upper class.

A good example of this is a situation like when I was talking to an acquaintance I once had about a manger trying to skirt FMLA rules after I had surgery. To make a long story short she could not fathom the fact that some people need to work, and also need to do mundane, boring, degrading things because that is all that is available to them. Her questions were along the lines of "Why do you work there if it isn’t fulfilling". I told her I needed to work for the money - I got a blank stare. She then tries to tell me how horrible a person to the core of his being this manager was - I ended up actually defending the manager because I thought she was just sort of blowing it out of proportion and not seeing that he is just another small fish like me who has pressure from his higher ups to stay under budget.

I don’t really hang out with this person, but a lot of the democratic rhetoric reminds me of this conversation in one way or another.

Spice Weasel wrote: “It’s worth noting that Trump did better with minorities than Romney did.”

He wasn’t running against one.

Okay, valid point.

Trump won with the support of the white working class vote in the upper Midwest. Here’s what I don’t get. The traditional paradigm is that the Democrats are the party of the poor and working class and the Republicans the party of the rich. Last year it seems the split in the white vs. minority poor and working class vote was the largest we have seen in a long time. It might be a false dichotomy but I think one of those two groups has to be incorrect in why they voted the way they did. Here’s the options as I see them.

  1. Trump’s policies will help the working class and poor more than Clinton’s would have. If this is the case then the poor and working class minorities that supported Clinton voted against their own interests.

  2. Clinton’s policies would have helped the working class and poor more than Trump’s will. If this is the case then the white poor and working class people that voted against Trump voted against their own interests.

Obviously I think the second choice more accurately reflects reality. The only way I can explain this to myself is that somehow the white working class voters have come to believe that their interests are more closely aligned with rich white people than with working class minorities. What I don’t get is how Trump was able to exploit that belief. Take Wisconsin as an example. Even the less charismatic Democratic candidates in recent memory (Gore, Kerry, even Dukakis) were able to win there. Yet somehow Trump managed to do what both Bushes, McCain, Romney, etc. failed to do. Something changed that convinced those white working class voters to change their minds, but I’m not sure what. Yes, Hillary lacks charisma, but was she really worse than Gore, Kerry, and even Dukakis who beat the elder Bush in Wisconsin in 1988?

Because, of course, accepting racism, homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, islamophobia and various other bigotries is totally the same as accepting other races, genders, and religions. There’s no such thing as bad actions.