In this season of election primaries, Democratic women who are running for president have been complaining in this 21st century of racism and sexism hampering their bids for the highest office in the land.
Whining about why you’re not doing well is not only not presidential, it’s an excuse. It is also one of the inevitable scourges of identity politics.
Here’s the irony and why it matters: As the Democrats and their women running for the presidency complain about sexist bigotry coming from their own grassroots making their run especially fraught, they refuse to see how they set themselves up for this fall.
After all, if your rhetoric encourages and even demands that voters decide who to vote for based on a sliver of someone’s identity, you’re asking them to consider everything through a prism of gender stereotyping.
That is what comes back to haunt the Democrats: If you are training people to think in a shallow, stereotypical manner, they will do so in other ways, including why not to vote for someone. It’s not that voters are racist and sexist; it’s that they’ve been presented with a narrative and arguments convincing them to rely on identity politics, or in other words, shallow stereotypes.
Identity politics not only damages our ability as women to be taken seriously as complete and complex individuals, but it condemns us to being judged by stereotypes. And it is on that point women lose.
One thing the Democrats avoid with their idiotic reliance on identity politics is the risk of being asked about ideas, policy and leadership. All of that is moot, you see, because your vote is to be a statement about how woke you are; it is your commitment to social justice that matters so judgement about the details of leadership are verboten.
In 2008 and 2016, Hillary Clinton relied on the specious argument that she should be the Democratic nominee and ultimately president because it was time for a woman to be president. Not the right person, or the right leader, but a woman.
The same argument has been made in one way or another by the Democratic women who were or still are running for president. As they began to fumble, candidates Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala D. Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, each at some point has blamed sexism (of their own voter base!) for their lack of doing better in the polls.
But why should they be surprised if voters aren’t convinced a woman can do the job? Their last super hero, Mrs. Clinton, made the same argument. As a woman she was uniquely suited to be president. They could trust her. She knew what she was doing. She had all the answers. She was a leader. Because she told you so. Because she’s a woman.
What the Democrats found instead was they had been hoodwinked by a woman who didn’t even have the courage and leadership to face her own supporters on an election night when it was clear she failed. Autopsies of her campaign made it clear the woman had no idea what she was doing, took people for granted, overestimated herself, underestimated everyone else and made horrible decisions.
It’s not just about gender stereotypes that take us to the lowest common denominator in our national conversation. Once you get into the destructive habit of identity politics, it can, and will, be applied everywhere. Democratic presidential candidate and billionaire Michael Bloomberg is now serving as a perfect example of how that works. You see, it isn’t necessarily just about sex, race or even sexual preference; we can also be reduced and classified by being labeled a creature of our chosen profession.
In a 2016 clip from the Distinguished Speakers Series at the University of Oxford, the former mayor of New York had made comments about farmers based on stereotypes, ignorance and disdain. The New York Post reported, “Democratic presidential candidate and billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg suggested during a 2016 talk that farming and factory work require less ‘gray matter’ than modern technology jobs.”
“‘I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer,’ Mr. Bloomberg told the audience … ‘It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn,’ ” the newspaper reported.
Then in pointing out the difference between the economy during the Industrial Revolution and now, Mr. Bloomberg declared ” ‘It’s built around replacing people with technology, and the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze, and that is a whole degree level different. You have to have a different skill set, you have to have a lot more gray matter,” according to the Post.
Considering his comments about a variety of people, Mr. Bloomberg seems to have disdain for most Americans, and certainly those who get their hands dirty while working. But it’s identity politics that allowed him to classify “farmers” as dumb and unable to adjust to what the world has in store.
Mr. Bloomberg’s attitude isn’t new, it’s what the so-called elite have always thought about us, they were just more circumspect about it. It’s also a reminder that the choices we make in November are not just about who holds an office, but about what this country becomes.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk-show host.