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Identity Politics Genie Out of the Bottle in Nancy Pelosi-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Feud

Brett Davis

Posted on July 15, 2019 15:28

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Not even the Speaker of the House is immune to charges of racism by the leader of “the Squad.”

It was only a matter of time before the Democratically-created monster that is identity politics was unleashed against fellow members of the party.

The notion that group identity should trump individuals and individual responsibility reared its ugly head in the recent internecine squabble between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and “the Squad” of new progressive congresswomen consisting of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley.

“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world, but they didn’t have any following,” Pelosi said in a recent interview with The New York Times, referencing a border funding bill “the Squad” opposed. “They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”

In talking with The Washington Post, Ocasio-Cortez responded by playing the race card: “When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood. But the persistent singling out … it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful … the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”

At least in the short-term, the ugly feud has been detrimental to the Democratic Party in the form of people inside and outside of Congress choosing sides, with each side accusing the other of targeting black Democrats.  

source: Creator's Syndicate

Furthermore, the Democratic civil war has produced some truly peculiar outcomes, including Democratic members of Congress sounding more like Republicans and conservatives – the usual targets of identity politics-based attacks – in decrying Ocasio-Cortez’s framing her beef with Pelosi in racial terms. Weirder still, in a textbook case of politics making strange bedfellows, President Trump came to Pelosi’s defense, saying his erstwhile political nemesis is “not a racist.”

That the clash between Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez and crew turned racial shouldn’t be a surprise – see what happened to Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden last month for awkwardly lamenting a lack of civility in politics – given the Democratic Party has been pushing for a very long time now the notion that group identity is paramount. It was inevitable that identity politics would start to eat its own.

Whether Democrats can tame the identity politics beast they have birthed remains to be seen (and during a presidential election cycle no less). If the recent flare up between Pelosi (representing the establishment wing of the party) and “the Squad” (representing the upstart progressive wing of the party) is any indication, it doesn’t look good.

Pelosi might want to heed Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s words on the bitter fruit produced by identity politics: “Madam Speaker, welcome to the true nature of identity politics – where you’re accused of being racist for no reason at all, and where intellectually lazy insults are used against you as a way to replace substantive debate of your argument or idea.”

Brett Davis

Posted on July 15, 2019 15:28

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Source: WashPost
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