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On the other hand, there may be a more relevant question facing us today: can the Democrat Party survive with identity politics?
Four years ago I wrote an article with the above title. I speculated about the inherent instability of a political movement that is based on identity politics. I suspected that once such a movement achieved power, that the smoldering internecine battles would turn ugly (and perhaps violent) and tear the power structure apart. This brief article asked a lot of questions, but I put the third paragraph in italics, as I think that is our primary concern here today – four years after I wrote this:
I read a fascinating article by Paul Mirengoff a few days ago on PowerLine, with a similar title. I made a quick post over breakfast to get the opinion of my esteemed Ricochet colleagues (…and the rest of you, too!). I have given this a great deal of thought since then, because it highlights a dichotomy I’ve never been able to resolve. The Democrat party has been the party of identity politics for as long as I can remember (I’m 48 years old). It has always reminded me of European governments, which are typically incredibly complex coalitions of many different groups who have little in common. These groups need each other in order to project power, but they don’t necessarily like each other all that much. The Democrat party includes trial lawyers, unionized factory workers who drive huge pickup trucks, environmental wackos who drive Priuses, teachers’ unions, and so on. They have nothing in common, other that their desire for power. I can understand that. I was an athlete for a long time, and I had to work with people that I didn’t necessarily like if I wanted to win. That’s the way the world works.
What I find confusing is the concept that the Democrat party, at its core, ultimately wants socialism. How is it that such a hyper-fragmented group has collectivism as its ultimate goal? How do they intend for that to work? If that is their goal, why would they take this approach? How do they see this working – if they’ve spent the last 50 years accentuating the divisions between people, how do they envision all of us living together as one, as if we were all Danish or something?
So, getting to Mr. Mirengoff’s question, “Can the Democrat Party Survive Without Identity Politics?” I think that without identity politics, the Democrat party ceases to exist tomorrow afternoon. On the other hand, even as the Democrat party rides this wave of identity politics to power, the inherent conflict from their predictable power struggle will become increasingly difficult to control as they gain more influence, and any real power they have will rapidly devolve into internecine infighting, which may become violent. We may be seeing the beginnings of this already.
The conservative movement (I hesitate to type “Republican party” here…) is based on ideology. This ideological cost of admission may limit the growth of the movement, but I think (hope?) that whatever is built will tend to be more stable and sustainable, because those involved have at least something in common.
Again, though, I just don’t understand the Democrat party. What is their goal, and how do they intend to attain it? Do those two things match? Am I missing something? A lot of my friends are liberals because media, teachers, peer pressure etc told them that liberals are nice, and they are nice, so they must be liberals. But somebody in the Democrat party must be giving more thought to strategy than to tactics. What are they thinking? How do they intend to achieve a collectivist society by intentionally dividing it into smaller and smaller pieces?
Am I missing something?
So here we are four years later. What do you think? Is the Democratic Party becoming more ruthless and intolerant because they’re in the process of cementing their control of the American political system for the foreseeable future?
Or is the Democrat party becoming more ruthless and intolerant because, after leveraging the divisions between various identity groups to gain power, they now need to enforce more conformity among these various groups to maintain a stable power structure?
I’m not sure. And I’ll bet you would get different answers if you asked Nancy Pelosi, or AOC, or Kamala Harris, or Joe Manchin, or Maxine Waters, or Pete Buttigieg, or Rashida Tlaib, or Chuck Schumer, or Mark Zuckerberg, or Al Gore, or any number of other leading Democrats. They probably all have different plans, I suppose.
But surely somebody at the top has a plan, somewhere.
On the other hand, perhaps not. The President is generally in charge of his political party. But Joe Biden is clearly not in charge of anything. So perhaps that creates a power vacuum at the top, that creates the instability we’re seeing in the Democratic Party today.
If that’s the case, then this is going to be a very interesting four years.
But one would think that there is a plan behind the increasing ruthlessness and intolerance we’re seeing from the Democrat party. There must be a plan, right?
I wonder what that plan is, exactly?
Because if they’re not careful, the Democrat party is going to destroy itself. This doesn’t seem to be sustainable long-term.
Leftists movements that seek to control their populations require a dominant leader: A Stalin, or a Castro, or a Mao, or a Hitler, or a Chavez, or someone like that to scare the opposition into compliance, and to keep their followers in line. Once that leader dies, then that political system becomes extremely unstable very quickly. Of course, by the time their leader dies, they’ve generally had several decades to establish bureaucracies and power structures to attempt to hold everything together after they’re gone. But it doesn’t generally work. Things get unstable quickly.
The leftist wing of the Democratic Party recently gained control of the most powerful country in the world, by using identity politics, which naturally creates conflict. And now that they’re in power, it’s hard to say who’s in control. This would seem to be extremely unstable.
And again, I just don’t see how this could be sustainable long-term.
And I suspect that the higher-ups in the party can see this fairly clearly, as they watch cities burn across the country they now rule.
Surely they have a plan to stabilize their control of the power they just won.
So what do you think? Can the Democratic Party survive with identity politics?
And more importantly, can America?Published in