Identity Politics vs. Party Politics
The Democrats often talk about being the party of the people. It's true, language on the left is layered with themes of collectivism against oppression.
All of these things are a part of American culture, and all of them have a counterpart on the political right.
The difference in the two themes is the role of the state. The #blacklivesmatter movement is clearly anti-state power. It's the best thing they have going for them in a world of intrusive government that is their enemy. All Lives Matter isn't a movement, but a commentary on the sanctity of live.
Unions and corporations are far more similar than different: organizations of individuals to mobilize towards a common goal. Unions require a group, while corporations can be made up of one person. The concept of minority rights rejects the idea that rights are inalienable and derived from us existing. Minority rights necessarily require the state to determine their validity, and inherently create a legal disparity.
What we are seeing at the Democratic and Republican National Convention and this the singularity of identity politics and political parties. We've created a world where polarization gets you re-elected, what you look like is a bigger statement of value than who you are, and your enemies must be destroyed. In politics, these are the price of admission. But in a world where social media moves faster than rapid response teams, hashtags can metasticize to a terminal moment.
In true leftist fashion, the spirit of revolution is alive and well. As is normal on the right, there are strong calls to get in line behind an Americana centrist. The American people have a Faustian decision to make. The left can vote for a corporatist fraud who is too careless to setup email properly and too old to know how to use it. The right can vote for a boorish progressive who has shown little care for rules, decorum, and limits. If you vote for one and the other wins, it's your fault.
What is a party to do when there are too many interest groups to make a unified platform? The GOP has one, but no one has any faith that Trump would apply it as a guidance document. The Democrats have a platform document, but it's mostly a Mad Libs for federal spending where you only have proper nouns.
The answer: wait it out until the revolutionaries get exhausted.
Political alliances are not able to be reorganized by those in power. They come from the individuals around the country realizing something is amiss, and aligning their voting choices to meet those. The elites have less control than they think, although the primary process gives them that illusion.
And when it gets to be too fragmented, you get the crackup once everyone gets in the same room. How much booing of the same side did we hear prior to this year at their own convention? How hated are each of these candidates? Will it end, or is this the new normal?
It's true: one of these two should-be retirees will most likely occupy the White House come January. That doesn't mean the parties behind them will see as much success. The conventions of 2016 are what happen when the value of identity becomes more important than principle, and the value of winning is more important that a coherent ideology. It looks like that value is the new normal. And for the moment, it seems to be working in favor of party politics.
Just ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz.