Saturday, May 14, 2016

Democrats live and die with identity politics. (I)

The American economy, going back to 2000, hasn’t worked well through two adminis- trations, one Republican, one Democrat. But it’s Democrats who face the problem today.

Democrats captured Congress in 2006, controlled everything in 2008-10, held the Senate until 2014, and still run the executive branch and the Federal Reserve.

According to Gallup, the American people consider the economy our top problem (40%), followed by dissatisfaction with government (13%). Voters see America moving in the wrong direction by 67% to 26%. Government is failing to build the economy, to help the middle class, to create jobs, and bring prosperity to American families.

Democrats have historically been an interest group coalition that includes organized labor focused on the economy. But now public sector unions dominate labor, and government workers need Democrats in office -- good economy or no.

Other interest groups dependent upon ruling Democrats sending money their way are crony capitalists, the academy, nonprofits, and trial lawyers. Big media thrives when Democrats are in power -- reporters and Democratic leaders went to the same schools, live in the same neighborhoods, and share progressive values.

This national elite, this educated, meritocratic Democratic superstructure, needs votes to stay in power. Enter identity politics. As long as people see themselves first as women, youth, blacks, Hispanics, and homosexuals -- organized to obtain benefits from a sympathetic Democratic government -- the votes are there to hang on even through bad economic times.

But when the economy underperforms, it’s more challenging to keep disparate groups in line. Identity politics must take over.

For Democrats today, “It’s NOT the economy stupid.” Group identity comes first.

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