While many on the left have brought up evangelicals supporting Huckabee as merely being a “he’s one of us” phenomenon, the Democrats have their own candidates basing much of their appeal on their identity and not ideology. When that happens it can turn bad – quickly. For one it has already.
While Obama has supporters claiming “I admit it: I’m voting for Barack Obama because he’s black.”, most of his backers are not (publicly at least) claiming this. It seems that Obama has worked at moving beyond being simply “the black candidate.” I am appreciative of that.
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton has went full-blown into the realm of identity politics. From the beginning, her campaign has been centralized around the fact she would be the first woman president. She tried to place herself on both sides of the issue. One minute she would claim that her being a woman had nothing to do with it, the next she would complain about “the men” ganging up on her at the debates.
It has now become the theatre of the absurd as Hillary has fully embraced the identity politics mantle. First she cried on cue in the lead up to the New Hampshire primary. Now in her final chance to slow Obama’s momentum, she opens it with whining about unfair media treatment.
For a Clinton to complain about media favoritism is irony to the extreme, but the real striking thing to me is her abandoning of any feminism principles and falling back on “I’m just a girl.” She is engaged in all the negative stereotypes of women in leadership position. Feminists should be outraged, but they won’t be because identity conquers all.
If I were an African-American, I would be proud of Obama’s campaign. I would still disagree with him on every issue, but I would be grateful that he avoided the pitfalls of running based almost solely on his race.
If I were a woman, I would be ashamed that Hillary Clinton, in trying to become the first woman president, resorted to the “crying to the police officer to get out of a ticket” ploy. Identity politics has driven her campaign and it is somewhat satisfying, politically speaking, to see the collapse of her bid because of it.