Identity Politics and the GOP Midterm Strategy

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in Janesville

Adam Serwer of The Atlantic argues that “Trumpism is ‘identity politics’ for white people.”  Here is a taste of his piece:

But the entire closing argument of the Republican Party in the 2018 midterm elections is a naked appeal to identity politics—a politics based in appeals to the loathing of, or membership in, a particular group. The GOP’s plan to slash the welfare state in order to make room for more high-income tax cuts is unpopular among the public at large. In order to preserve their congressional majority, Republicans have taken to misleading voters by insisting that they oppose cuts or changes to popular social insurance programs, while stoking fears about Latino immigrants, Muslim terrorists, and black criminality. In truth, without that deception, identity politics is all the Trump-era Republican Party has.

Trying to scare white people is an effective political strategy, but it is also an effective ratings and traffic strategy. Trump’s ability to manipulate the media through provocation and controversy has been effective precisely because covering those provocations and controversies provides news outlets with the ears and eyeballs they crave. Trump considers the media “the enemy of the people” only when it successfully undermines his falsehoods; at all other times, it is a force multiplier, obeying his attempts to shift topics of conversation from substantive policy matters to racial scaremongering. The tenets of objectivity by which American journalists largely abide hold that reporters may not pass judgment on the morality of certain political tactics, only on their effectiveness. It’s a principle that unintentionally rewards immorality by turning questions of right and wrong into debates over whether a particular tactic will help win an election.

Read the rest here.

So I wonder:  Is it possible that we will ever see a politics driven by the things that hold us together rather than the things that divide us? I don’t just see this kind of divisiveness in national politics, but I see it as well in many of our communities, professional associations, and churches.

True leaders, it seems, find way to bring us together amid our differences.

One thought on “Identity Politics and the GOP Midterm Strategy

  1. “The tenets of objectivity by which American journalists largely abide …”

    Now that’s funny. Mr. Serwer is reporting on observed phenomena from Opposite World. Anyone who can write that line with a straight face is not even trying to be taken seriously.

    Like

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