In 2008, Barack Obama’s promise of “hope and change” attracted a diverse coalition that won him the White House. Yet the Democratic Party’s tactics of appealing to ethnic minority voters to maintain its slowly diminishing majorities turned against them as they alienated other important voting blocs.
As Democrats continued losing down-ballot races, their strategy took a more negative turn. To defend their progressive agenda, they focused more on stirring the negative emotions of racial minorities. Rather than turning out more of these voters, though, this strategy mainly categorized Americans into shallow groups pitted against each other, thus inflaming the tribalist tendencies on both sides of the political spectrum.
2016, Obama’s tumultuous last year as president, saw the rise of radical groups such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the alt-right, both of which exhibit nationalistic tendencies that disrupted the political arena. While Black Lives Matter activists attacked cops and blocked highways, ardent Trump supporters threatened #NeverTrump conservatives like Erick Erickson and David French during the campaign cycle. In addition, the fiery divisions of identity politics have incited the racist and anti-semitic tendencies of figures and entities of the alt-right such as Milo Yiannopoulos and the infamous Breitbart News.
While the anti-immigration sentiment of the alt-right is certainly a problem that the right must deal with, identity politics has not gone as far into the gutter as the negative tactics of the left and the Democrats. Just look at the race for DNC chair. Idaho Democratic Party chair Sally Boynton Brown has made a pitch to the Black Lives Matter movement, stating that her job is to “shut other white people down.” The frontrunner, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, has held shady ties to the Nation of Islam, whose leader, Louis Farrakhan, has been notorious for making anti-Semitic statements, including one blaming the 9/11 attacks on “lying, murderous Zionist Jews.”
As Democrats increasingly pandered to the stereotypical necessities of their target voters instead of valuing them as individuals, they ignored other portions of the American electorate such as the moderate voters in the Midwest. The party is now a regional party of arrogant coastal elites constrained along the west and north Atlantic coastlines. The party that now caters to fringe social justice warriors at the universities has abandoned blue collar workers concerned about resurgence of terrorism and disillusioned by Obama’s anemic economic recovery that they voted for.
The Women’s March is just one of the myriad examples of the Democrats’ growing hostility towards God, religious freedom, and biblical values. Besides forbidding pro-life advocates, the feminist left doubled down on the cultural trends of the 1960s sexual revolution, some protesting half-naked to express their opposition to the new administration and the pro-life Congress. In addition, the left has also labeled religious conservatives homophobic just because they want to use their First Amendment right to freely exercise a religion that disagrees with the left’s views on homosexuality. These practices of hysteria by the Democrats could eventually make non-white evangelical voters ripe targets for Republicans in the future.
Though these tactics have worked well against Republicans in the short term, they have certainly have become overdone to the point where even some Obama voters get tired of them. The same tactics that won voters to the Obama coalition are coming back to bite the Democrats. They did not appeal to the “forgotten men and women of America,” which not only include white blue collar moderates and evangelical conservatives but also a larger portion of Hispanics as well as inner city blacks, whose communities have been ruined by failing public schools and increased crime.
With a performance slightly improved from Mitt Romney’s among blacks and Hispanics, Trump managed to assemble the diverse coalition that won him the White House and ultimately cemented the Democratic Party’s status as the smallest national minority it has ever been since the 1920s.