Thursday, February 1, 2018

Democrats Have Doubled Down In Identity Politics

So I was at a State Of The Union address watching party on Tuesday with a bunch of friends to see what Trump would say. Before his speech a disagreement broke out among the mostly Left-leaning audience about what the Democrats need to do in 2020 to win back the White House.

Several people were explaining to me their theory that the Dems have to run a non-white woman in order to secure the presidency. No white male or even (according to some) a white woman should be the Democratic nominee. Why? Because too many white people have gone on to be the nominee!

The entire time I was pushing back: what if we just focused on getting a really good, smart, and principled candidate who is naturally charismatic regardless of their race and gender? Wouldn't that make more sense than focusing entirely on their race and gender? My ideas weren't popular. A giant portion of Left-leaning people have doubled down and gone full speed into identity politics, and I'm afraid it could be the Left's demise and give Trump a 2nd term.

A really smart, qualified, white male candidate will get no respect from many people on the Left because he's white and male, and not because of anything he's for. The furthest away you are from being a white, heterosexual, cis-gendered male the better. So if you're a woman: check. If you're non-white: check. Gay? Check. Trans? Check. Disabled? Check. This means the perfect candidate for the identity extremist Left would be a black trans-female disabled lesbian. She'd get a certain number of votes merely for meeting every requirement in the non-white male oppression checklist.

I am all for non-white male candidates being president but first and foremost they have to have good positions on the issues. I will take a true progressive like Bernie Sanders despite his white-male-hetero-cis-genderedness, over the neo-liberalism of Hillary Clinton or Cory Booker. What matters to me is always competency and principles, not whether or not you pee sitting down or don't need sun screen lotion.

It seems unlikely that large numbers of liberals will discontinue thinking that the most important aspect of a presidential candidate is their race, gender, and sexuality, and not their views. Since the election of Trump it seems to be only getting worse. I have strong reservations that this is a winning formula for presidential success, given the large backlash against identity politics. So Trump might be president until 2024.

That said, there is a non-white female candidate on the horizon who I think has a potential future as president. It's Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Amazingly, she's still an unknown to many Democrats. I first came to know her when she resigned as the DNC vice chair to support Bernie Sanders for president in 2016, which was a very brave and risky move. She's thoroughly progressive on the issues, particularly economic ones. Not only that she's a practicing Hindu, and of Indian descent, so that might get her extra points among the identitarians.

She spoke at the Reason Rally in 2016, and was the only sitting politician to do so. Listening to her speech, you can see that she's a principled secularist. That to me is more important than her personal religious beliefs. What you believe about god is secondary to whether or not you recognize the principle of secularism. Gabbard is also actively serving in the military, so her patriotism cannot be questioned. In fact, she's one of only two women in Congress who have ever served in the military.

Her main weakness today is that she's a bit too young. She's only 36, which makes her just barely eligible for president (the minimum age is 35). But that means she's got years to run and I wouldn't be surprised if she ran at some point in the next 20 years. Perhaps she can be on the vice president ticket in 2020. All I can say is that I'd definitely vote for her as president. She's got the politics, the principle, and yes, she's got the right race and gender for the identitarians. Check.

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