THE MIDTERM RESULTS AND THE LESSON THE LEFT SEEMS TO NEVER LEARN
Unlike the predictions for the 2016 election, the majority of punditry demonstrated more accurate foresight for what was to transpire yesterday. Unsurprisingly, the Democrats were able to secure control of the House with 222 seats over the Republicans’ 196. In the Senate, the Republicans were able to sustain their dominance with 51 seats over the Democrats’ 44.
As Ben Shapiro noted, this is a riveting result that is only comparable to the 1970 midterms where the Nixon-led Republicans lost 12 seats in the House and clinched two in the Senate. It is also understandable. Like it was in 1970, American politics seems to be on a never-ending downward spiral as it continues to be defined by strident partisanship, tribalism, and, at times, violence.
Dangerous as this trajectory has been proven to be in recent months, one can contend that the new composition of the House and Senate perfectly reflects the current trends in a country that has been so ravished by its division.
The Democrats’ performance in the House has, for some, renewed hope that the checks-and-balances system codified in the Constitution can be re-established. Never Trump conservative David Frum suggests that a Democrat majority will “introduce some foresight and accountability into the federal government after two years of impunity.” Revelling in her victory, Democratic Senator Nancy Pelosi promises that a Democratic majority will hold those in power accountable, and will lead Congress with “transparency and openness.”At first glance, this probably seems like a positive development.
That is unless the Democrats predictably renege upon these promises and submit to their reflexive urge to oppose Trump and grandstand at every turn instead of fulfilling their duties. This brings us to the second section of the article…
Lesson for Democrats That They Have Been Failing to Learn
Tickling their ever-growing proclivity for identity politics, the Democratic victories boast some triumphant “firsts.” Examples being Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, who is the first woman under 30 years old to be elected to Congress, and Ilhan Omar, who is one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress. The other being Rashida Tlaib from Michigan.
Ocasio-Cortez has become something of a meme for those on the Right due to several embarrassing moments that have unquestionably exposed her startling ignorance (particularly on economics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), as well as a patent inability to articulate her positions upon request for anything beyond some platitudinous phrases that are as bemusing as they are boring.
Omar is perhaps a more brutally apt representation of the radicalism that has tainted some contingents within the Party. Ardently anti-Zionist, Omar has derided Israel with the erroneous charge that it’s an “apartheid state,” and voices opinions that would likely make any anti-Semite swoon. Unapologetically, she tweeted: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” Since distorted definitions of bigotry continue to be peddled by the Left as a result of their freakish obsession with Foucauldian power dynamics, questionable rhetoric of radical members will go unaddressed, or be excused if the espouser holds a favourable position in the preternatural victimhood hierarchy.
If the Democrats took a merciless beating, it could have served as a referendum on their intersectional politics (especially, after Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry farce). With these gains, it might intensify as the approach may seem vindicated. However, they still have to gain control of the Senate, and, as Shapiro argues, won’t do so without running moderate candidates as the seats they picked up were mostly in purple areas. This notwithstanding, with the burgeoning influence of radical members in the party, it is doubtful that the Democrats will acknowledge this. Their base definitely won’t.
Castigations of the petulant and deplorable white voter have already been unleashed in droves. Unimpressed with Ted Cruz’s victory in Texas, George Ciccarello-Maher opined that the fact white people voted for Cruz offers a cogent argument for the “abolition of whiteness.” Anna North of Vox has written an article describing her relief that white women have finally “abandoned” Trump. Though, she ponders how long this “new coalition” will last since, as we all should know, patriarchal whiteness is unyielding and “white women have long had an incentive to align themselves politically with white men.” Therefore, one should not be so callow as to believe a white woman could be reliably anti-Trump.
As long as this line of thinking imbues their mobilizing base, Democrats will be compelled to embrace it. And it will continue to generate imperfect election results.
The fixation on identity may intrigue those who fancy themselves as “woke,” but it alienates potential voters as the identity fetish obscures the actual policy concerns of these constituents. Surveying citizens on their opinion on the Democratic Party’s adoption of identity politics, political scientist Seth Masket found that “identity politics cues” causes voters to become uncomfortable with the Party’s candidates even though they might agree with some aspects of the Party’s platform.
Taking this into consideration would be a good place to start for the Democrats in preparation for the next election. Unfortunately, their incessant sermonizing doesn’t seem to denote a sufficient capacity for introspection. Their propensity for identity-based zealotry matches Trump’s demagoguery — and if they so desire to unite the country, they should assess themselves first. Only then could they begin to move politics back to the centre. If not, people will continue to walk away from their once beloved Democrats and look elsewhere.