Note: I used two good pictures of the candidates instead of this “use bad picture of the one you don’t like” policy nonsense… I’m looking at you CNN.
Identity politics have always kind of baffled me. Then again, I’m a white guy. I mean, fuck, congress is my identity. But still I always found the idea that you vote for someone because they’re in your demographic as being just plain weird. Politics is always something that refuses to be simplified and yet that’s always what we want to do.
In the beginning, I was touting the nature of how fame overrides race: Obama was Obama and Hillary was Hillary and their personas are bigger than that kind of simplification. I was wrong… sort of.
The reason identity politics emerged so distinctly are actually pretty simple: Obama and Hillary have virtually identical policies. With no real meaningful debate corresponding to voter issues, the entire race became an argument over semantics. And That is bad. You get into that popularity contest nonsense that usually seems to plague swing voters; only this time everyone’s arguing like that. As the race got more and more competitive, the candidates started lashing out with attack ads. While people might not have been attracted to their candidates in terms of identity, they CERTAINLY came to defend them in terms of identity. Then things just got worse and worse.
It just sucks that we’ve reached the point where a bunch Obama supporters wouldn’t vote for Hillary and Hillary supporters won’t vote for Obama when their candidates are politically identical.