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Hoover Institute: 'Identity Politics' May Be Dead

Image: Hoover Institute: 'Identity Politics' May Be Dead

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By    |   Monday, 20 Feb 2017 06:44 PM

The divisive presidential election may have signaled the end of identity politics, a Hoover Institution scholar contends.

In a commentary that first appeared on the website of the public policy research center,  and was reprinted by Newsweek, Hoover senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson writes that liberals like historian Arthur Schlesinger worried 30 years ago in his book "The Disuniting of America" that identity politics was tearing apart the nation's cohesion.

But it was last year's presidential race that may have put the nail in the coffin, Hanson writes.

"The 2016 election marked an earthquake in the diversity industry," Hanson writes. "It is increasingly difficult to judge who we are merely by our appearances, which means that identity politics may lose its influence."

And, he argues, "these fissures probably explain some of the ferocity of the protests we’ve seen in recent weeks" because "a saying lobby is fighting to hold on to its power."

Hanson writes that America "is one of the few successful multiracial societies in history… largely because it has upheld three principles for unifying, rather than dividing, individuals."

Those principles, he says, are the nation's Declaration of Independence and Constitution, its "two-ocean buffer" that could control its demographic destiny, and its history as the "most individualistic and capitalistic of the Western democracies."

They "took a hit" in the 1960s, shifting the "ideal of the melting pot to the triumph of salad-bowl separatism," he writes, blaming the shift in part on the Democratic party, which "found electoral resonance in big government’s generous entitlements and social programs tailored to particular groups."

"A half-century later, affirmative action and identity politics have created a huge diversity industry, in which millions in government, universities and the private sector are entrusted with teaching the values of the Other and administering de facto quotas in hiring and admissions," he wrote.

And in the 2016 election, he adds, "Hillary Clinton ran a campaign on identity politics, banking on the notion that she could reassemble various slices of the American electorate, in the fashion that Barack Obama had in 2008 and 2012, to win a majority of voters," defining her notion of identity politics by describing half of the supporters of Donald Trump as "deplorables."

Now, Hanson argues, "the future of diversity politics after the 2016 election" is "uncertain at best — and for a variety of reasons."

"For all its emphasis on appearance, diversity is really an intolerant ideological movement that subordinates race and gender to progressive politics," he writes.

"It is not biology that gives authenticity to feminism, but left-wing assertions; African-American conservatives are often derided as inauthentic, not because of purported mixed racial pedigrees, but due to their unorthodox beliefs."

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The divisive presidential election may have signaled the end of identity politics, a Hoover Institution scholar contends.
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Monday, 20 Feb 2017 06:44 PM
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