- a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics
Identity politics according to "nonpartisan" Arizona reporter Robert Robb: Any group that advocates for itself. Except for white men. White men are not an identity so therefore they do not practice identity politics. Except when they do:
Do white males have a future in this party?
Now, there’s a case to be made for the candidates who defeated these highly qualified white males other than race and gender. But it’s also hard to believe that race and gender didn’t play a role.
How much of a future is there for liberal white males with political ambitions in a party that has fully succumbed to identity politics?
"Fully succumbed to identity politics" is another way of saying, "Who the fuck are all these women and brown people and why are they sitting at the table demanding a seat?!"
The rest of Robb's article is a lament that the poor, oppressed white male just can't get a break in today's world even thought they're, ahem, more qualified. In other words, Robb is practicing, yes, identity politics. But I promise you he doesn't think of it that way and would be highly offended were you to suggest that to him. After all, white men don't engage in identity politics! That's for marginalized groups who have marginalized white men in Arizona politics! Wait. What?
This is part of that whole "whiteness is invisible" thing in America where a black criminal reflects poorly on all black people and a single Muslim terrorist somehow represents all roughly 1.6 billion Muslims but it somehow doesn't matter how many white people go on shooting sprees, each one is an "isolated incident."
The same goes for gender. We talk constantly about how "emotional" women are and how they can't possibly be good leaders but we are forbidden to talk about how fragile the male ego is when rejection by a woman regularly drives men to violence and the president has the temperament of a spoiled 2-year-old.
The premise of Robb's entire article is that white men are getting shafted because of identity politics as if the identity politics of white men were not an almost insurmountable obstacle to everyone else for the entirety of American history. It's an astonishingly myopic reading of what's happening in American politics right now. After generations of rule by white men which have resulted in the country bordering on the brink of collapse, people have decided that maybe it's time to give power to someone without a proven track record of failure to contain the vulgar excesses of white men.
Not for nothing, just about all of the lords of Wall Street who caused the Great Recession, almost all of the politicians who rigged the system in favor of the rich, and most every billionaire destroying the environment are all white men. If we're supposed to hold all immigrants accountable for the crimes of a few, maybe its time white men where held to the same standard. Robert Robb would surely disagree but that's just his identity politics at play.
The most annoying part of Robb's lament is that it ignores the fact that women and people of color are the base (and future) of the Democratic Party. It's not that white men don't have a future in the party, it's that they won't dominate it anymore and that's what's bothering Robb even if he won't admit it. Hell, he may not even necessarily understand that's it's bothering him. Privilege runs deep and denial runs even deeper.
It's this inevitable loss of status on a national level that drove so many to a white nationalist monster like Trump in the first place. White people, particularly white men, saw an America in which they had to share cultural and political power with women and people with brown skin and they asked "Do white males have a future in this country?" They decided the answer was, "No!" and set out to burn everything to the ground out of spite.
I doubt Robb is going to pick up a match and a can of kerosene but his incredulous tone is of a piece. And considering he's supposed to be a respected nonpartisan reporter in Arizona, his obvious identity politics driven agenda is just more evidence that our press is deeply broken, giving voice to regressive viewpoints under the guise of being "neutral."