Identity politics inferno

  • 12 February 2019
  • NormanL

The ongoing political soap opera in Virginia continues to threaten the state's ascendant Democrats. Allegations and admissions or bigotry, aimed at the governor and attorney general, and sexual assault, in the case of the lieutenant governor, all combine to leave the state's politics a tangled mess.

Not that we will shed many tears over Democrats being swept up, and perhaps swept out, by their own caustic brand of identity politics.

But what Virginians are witnessing first hand is just a taste of what could happen elsewhere, according to the Wall Street Journal:

If Democrats think these furies will be confined to Virginia, look at Elizabeth Warren as she launches her presidential campaign. It turns out she wrote “American Indian” on her 1986 registration card for the Texas legal bar—confirmation that she had claimed Native American ancestry, perhaps to assist her career, despite earlier denials. Republicans are calling her dishonest, while some Democrats accuse her of “cultural appropriation,” the ultimate identity politics sin.

Bernie Sanders has already had to apologize for a male staffer’s alleged transgressions during the 2016 campaign, and you can bet the press is gearing up for a #MeToo exam of every male candidate. This will all get worse as the 2020 Democratic primaries unfold.

Indeed it might. But in the midst of the Democrats' torment, there are important principles to keep in mind:

Sexual assault deserves to be punished, but the accused also deserve legal and political due process. The evidence or lack of it should matter. A photo with men in blackface and KKK garb is offensive, but the mistakes of youth for politicians who have since shown zero evidence of racial bias deserve some perspective. Politics would be better with a little forbearance in judging adults solely by their worst moments from college.

The problem for Democrats is that the ideology of race, gender and class is now so deeply ingrained on the political left that no one dares to challenge it. A presidential candidate who tried would be taking a big risk.

A risk none of them seem able, or willing, to take.