Identity Politics: Election Night’s Biggest Loser?

In the wake of a surprise midterm election wave, many politicians and pundits are fumbling to explain why a near obsession with race and gender politics fell so short.

 

Why didn’t more women pull the lever for Mark Udall in Colorado with his endless focus on the supposed “war on women”? Why were black voters not as enthusiastic to turn out in support of Democrats after being warned about the prospect of more Ferguson-like shootings? Didn’t Hispanics see the campaign ads accusing Republicans of opposing immigration reform?

 

The answer is that most Americans are not the single issue voters politicians are so eager to label them as.

 

Proponents of identity politics display a disturbing fascination with reducing unique individuals to homogenous groups where gender or skin color determines how you are expected to think, act, and vote on election day. Election strategy based on cobbling together these disparate identity groups is profoundly cynical and insulting to those who make informed decisions about their preferred candidates.

 

This election, voters seemed largely unmoved by widespread, and ugly, appeals to racial and gender politics. This is an encouraging sign that Americans are growing weary of the all the identity pandering.

 

- Jennifer Gratz