Friday, June 03, 2022

For the Record: Identity Politics

 A sequence that got disjointed into a bunch of different threads, presented here in part just so I could organize it a little better.

Heh, I didn't know that.

And when I did look at the article it turned out the tweet wasn't a summary.

That was maybe quitting at an overhopeful spot. I haven't changed my mind at all about the skill with which Democrats conducted the 2020 presidential campaign, or the policy response to the the pandemic by the House Democrats before the election and the whole of the government afterwards, or the start of the new administration in general, but sweet Jesus, the gods have been treating us like the protagonist in a Thomas Hardy novel, just piling it on so that no matter how well it does management-wise it can never get any credit, not just because of the unremitting hostility of the press.

Who would have expected Republican governors all over the country, from South Dakota and Iowa to Mississippi and Alabama, would deliberately choose to see their citizens cut down with plague by the tens of thousands rather than allow Democrats to look good—not that I think they're nice or anything, but wouldn't their voters object? Apparently not. Could those stupid senators from West Virginia and Arizona really hold out against the gifts Biden was offering them? Not that I was expecting them to be nice either, but they might have understood voting for the Build Back Better would make them popular at home, like all those Republican congresscritters in their districts taking credit for the infrastructure provisions they voted against—Manchin supposedly reveres his great predecessor Robert C. Byrd, does he really not know how eagerly Byrd would have signed on for that pork? He doesn't seem to. Could Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin really be so stupid that an ignoramus like me could have a better sense of his military situation than he had himself? That's how it looks.

Could a country in an astounding state of recovery from pandemic disease and economic collapse—suffering from high levels of inflation because people are feeling so rich they can't stop throwing their money at everything they see no matter how high the prices go—really be plunged into panic mode by the gas price they keep willingly paying and demanding action so that we now seem to be heading into an election with unacceptable-looking inflation rates and a possible Fed-engineered recession looming on the horizon, driving the markets down because the state of the economy looks too good?

I can still imagine some kind of escape from this situation

but it's getting harder and harder to believe in.

Still, if there's any way to win, it has to be something other than purging the party rhetoric of references to identity, whether from the pseudo-Marxist left or the pusillanimous "moderates". Identity politics is a core element, as I believe I've said before, in how the Northern Democrats reconstructed themselves as an urban party after the Civil War, a party that welcomed Catholic and Jewish immigrants, and a party that now represents the substantial majority of the population that is either Black, female, or both, as well as white male union members (who include factory workers as well as teachers and Starbucks baristas) and members of identity groups of all sorts. It's who Democrats were during the New Deal and the civil rights movements were, and it isn't a good idea to stop.

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names

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