The Triumph of Identity Politics

Identity politics is toxic, but it works

How the two parties approached their respective presidential election cycle losses in this decade is revealing. While the GOP conducted its 2012 “autopsy” in the open and as a result of internal and external pressures, the Democratic Party is conducting a postmortem out of the spotlight. A weekend retreat for Democratic House members and a Monday Priorities USA gathering of progressive groups suggest the party is aware it needs to adapt. Yet even the notion that the party which won the popular vote needs to reform meets with incredulity and bitter resistance from the grassroots faithful. Surely, the admonitions of a Trump-era Democrat like Jim Webb, who on Sunday chided his lifelong party for pushing all its chips in on identity politics, will be similarly discarded by the liberal activist class. Webb’s detractors would have a point. Democrats did not lose in 2016 because they embraced identity politics; they lost because they embraced the wrong sort of identity politics.

23
Shares
Google+ Print

The Triumph of Identity Politics

Must-Reads from Magazine

The Courage to Confront Campus Radicalism

Fear for the future.

When conservatives and conscience-addled liberals fret about the rising influence of censorious students on college campuses, the overwhelming response they get from skeptics is “who cares?” Those who do not outright defend creeping radicalism on campus are prone to minimize the threat of violence and fanaticism. While obtuse, this approach does have some immediate political utility. Dismissing events on campus as the antics of a few misguided kids casts those who care about such affairs as obsessive cranks who fixate on matters of no objective consequences. It goes without saying that not everyone is sincere who wonders aloud about the relevance of maximalist rhetoric, racial intolerance, and even violence on campus, but some are. They deserve an answer. Why should we care about rigidly enforced intellectual cloistering on campuses?

28
Shares
Google+ Print

Now, More than Ever, Holocaust Memory Matters

Memory and Judaism are inseparable.

Yes. That’s the answer to a question posed by the headline of Shmuel Rosner’s latest piece in the New York Times. Yes: Israeli students need to visit Auschwitz. All Jewish students should. Plenty of non-Jews, too.

8
Shares
Google+ Print

Mr. Ellison Goes to Dinner

Collusion of a different sort.

My former colleagues at The Wall Street Journal recently unearthed what should be a major political scandal. It involves an anti-American government, a prominent member of Congress, and a far-right group that traffics in anti-Semitism, homophobia, and conspiracy theories. In the current climate of anxiety about “collusion” and the alt-right, you would think the liberal media would give this story top billing.

88
Shares
Google+ Print

Trump Can Do No Right: Human Rights Edition

Damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't.

In a New York Times op-ed, Princeton University Professor Gary Bass recently contended that Donald Trump’s record on human rights is a disaster. In the effort to craft a comprehensive denunciation, Bass claimed that Trump is a menace not only when he “ignores” the issue of human rights but also “when he speaks up” about it. That surely covers all the bases.

12
Shares
Google+ Print

Music From Another World

Jóhann Jóhannsson, 1969-2018.

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson was found dead at his apartment in Berlin over the weekend, and police are still investigating the cause. He was 48. Jóhannsson’s richly textured soundscapes and his tremendous contributions to film will long endure.

11
Shares
Google+ Print