Identity Politics: A Cynical Electoral Tactic
August 17, 2018
No offense, my Democratic friends, but only in the modern Democratic Party could a Democratic icon such as Andrew Cuomo fearlessly and publicly claim that America “was never that great.” Just two decades ago, few Democrats would dare make that statement.
Lest you fall for the lie that this was merely a one-off hyperbole, notice the full range of Cuomo’s intentional remarks.
“We’re not going to make America great again,” said the New York governor. “It was never that great. We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women, 51 percent of our population, is gone and every woman’s full potential is realized and unleashed and every woman is making her full contribution.”
Later, realizing that Cuomo had stepped in it, his press secretary, Dani Lever, scrambled to salvage his disastrous utterance. “The Governor believes America is great and that her full greatness will be fully realized when every man, woman, and child has full equality,” she said in a statement. “America has not yet reached its maximum potential.” Lever continued: “When the President speaks about making America great again — going back in time — he ignores the pain so many endured and that we suffered from slavery, discrimination, segregation, sexism and marginalized women’s contributions. The Governor believes that when everyone is fully included and everyone is contributing to their maximum potential, that is when America will achieve maximum greatness.”
Notice that Lever admitted that Cuomo was responding directly to the Trump slogan, “Make America Great Again.” This slogan inherently recognizes that America has been great and Trump wants to restore all of its greatness. Cuomo intended to contradict that assumption, which is why he said America has never been that great. He didn’t say or mean, as Lever insisted, that America used to be great but has fallen and that we need to restore it. If that were the case, he wouldn’t have chosen Trump’s slogan as a point of attack, because he would have agreed with it. No, Cuomo was quite clear. In his view and that of so many on the left, America has never been that great.
Sadly, in the leftist worldview, it will never be that great. No matter how many reforms are implemented, no matter how much blood is spilled, no matter how many constitutional amendments are ratified to extend legal equality and equal opportunity to all Americans, it will never be enough for the left, because accusing conservatives of hatred, intolerance, bigotry and heartlessness is about all they have. But it’s not all they believe and all they stand for.
Yes, many conservative analysts are correct that over the past two decades, identity politics has become dominant in the Democratic Party, but identity politics is not what really animates its leftist leaders. Their divisive rhetoric is more a calculated electoral tactic to agitate minorities against Republicans than a deeply held belief.
You can’t convince me that Democratic Party leaders truly believe that half the nation — the half that disagrees with them politically — is racist, bigoted, sexist, homophobic and the rest of the poisonous adjectival litany with which they routinely smear us. But it certainly keeps them competitive when their policies don’t.
They say they champion women and African-Americans, but do they really respect them? Do they really treat them all with equal dignity? Just watch what happens when a member of either group dissents from their leftist orthodoxy. The person is treated, not just by black and female liberals but by preening white heterosexual liberals, as inauthentic — as an Uncle Tom or a traitors to his or her race or gender. They ostracize the person as a subhuman heretic whose race or gender counts for nothing if he or she defies the leftist cause.
It is easy for Cuomo to say America “was never that great,” because he and his leftist soul mates believe it. It rolls off their tongues because they reject so much of the American idea. That is why candidate Barack Obama could proudly declare his intention to fundamentally transform America. That is why Michelle Obama, witnessing her husband’s electoral success, could say, “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country.”
For Cuomo and the left, the discontentment about America isn’t just or even mostly about the plight of minorities. It is about America’s founding principles.
Liberals don’t embrace the Constitution and the rule of law in the same way conservatives do. They pay lip service to the separation of powers and pretend that Donald Trump is usurping authority when he makes derogatory comments about members of the media whose sole reason for existence is to attack him. But they cheered President Obama’s lawless executive power grabs, and they support appellate judges who arrogate to themselves the prerogatives of super-legislators. They treat the cherished principles of federalism and states’ rights as historical mistakes or fictions.
And despite their denials, the Democratic Party has come to fully embrace socialism. Unsurprisingly, a decisive majority of Democrats prefer socialism over capitalism, according to a recent Gallup Poll.
When Cuomo’s defenders claim he was only referring to gender discrimination and other forms of bigotry when he proudly denied America’s historical greatness, they’re dissembling. The Democratic Party and many of its grass-roots supporters reject the American idea itself; it’s not just that it was originally tainted by the sin and stain of slavery. That’s why they favor open borders and amnesty for the millions of immigrants who are here illegally. If they believed America is unique, they would believe its uniqueness is worth preserving and support legal and controlled immigration and assimilation of immigrants into the unique American fabric.
But even with the damaging revelation that the majority of Democratic voters heart socialism, the party honchos still won’t be able to openly embrace it — because this is anathema to a majority of Americans.
In view of its historical track record of abject failure, there is no way Democrats can defend socialism on the merits, which is why they will continue to defame their political opponents as being racist, sexist and multi-phobic. It’s what modern Democrats are; it’s what they do; it’s all they’ve got.