Kylie Cheung (@kyliecheung on Twtter) put it well: “To be clear, Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign relied on “identity politics”—specifically, the rage and insecurities of white men. In fact, he relied on “identity politics” substantially more than Clinton’s campaign, which offered in-depth economic proposals for affordable and accessible health care, housing, and job growth that would benefit wide swaths of the population. The reason we call Trump’s utilization of identity politics a “unifying message,” while addressing existential human rights issues like criminal justice reform, mass incarceration, immigration rights, and reproductive rights is considered “identity politics” is simple: White men remain regarded and respected as the default, standard identity in the United States—often, even by progressive leaders like Bernie Sanders.”
Another way to be clear: While it’s really common to see people criticize people who vote for a candidate for being Black, a woman, or whatever other minority a candidate might be, just for being that identity:
1. It’s not that common. Usually there’s a more substantial reason to suspect another white man won’t have everyone else’s interests at heart, at least not when there are white men’s interests at stake. But I’ve said this a lot. Cheung makes the point that goes very ignored but is infuriating upon realization:
2. Everyone who “Isn’t ready to vote for a woman” is voting for a man just because he’s a man. Everyone who “isn’t comfortable yet” voting for someone who isn’t white is just voting for the white person.
So here’s a thought. While anytime a person who isn’t a white man runs, her/their voter base is assumed to just be voting based on identity, let’s make the more reasonable assumption, and lets make it out loud. A _lot_ of Americans need to learn to start voting on policy instead of just voting for someone because he’s white and a man.
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