Nineties throwbacks seem to be everywhere these days: low unemployment, a Bush and a Clinton running for office, friends from “Full House” and “X-Files” entering our living rooms again.
And now identity politics are back, too.
In this election, as in those during the last era when identity politics thrived, politicians are desperately trying to prove they’re a Star-Belly Sneetch, or else a Plain-Belly Sneetch, on the presumption that Sneetches always vote for their own.
But rather than appealing to voter identities based on race, gender or class (or even tattooed tummies), today’s pols are citing ideological labels to incite herd-mentality voting: “conservative” and “progressive.”
In recent weeks, presidential candidates have thrown themselves into semantic parsings arcane enough to make a linguist swoon.
In Thursday’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire, for example, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders tussled repeatedly over what it means to be “progressive,” whether one could be simultaneously “progressive” and “moderate,” and whether Clinton’s views on banking, capital punishment and foreign policy could be shoehorned into the true definition of “progressivism,” whatever that is.
Clinton fought back with etymology, declaring that “the root of that word, ‘progressive,’ is progress,” which she implied she has a near-monopoly on. She suggested Sanders’s strict-constructionist definition of progressivism would require purging nearly everyone from the Democratic Party. Then she went on to list all of Sanders’ votes over the years that had tainted his own progressive purity.
Viewers were apparently so confused by this exchange that online dictionary look-ups of the word “progressive” spiked.
Read more: Conservative Republican News
Image credit: www.thefederalist.com.