On Sunday, LGBT protesters decided to march through Los Angeles, shutting down traffic as they went, before meeting up in gay Mecca West Hollywood, where they were treated to speeches from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and of course, RuPaul. But the theme of the day wasn’t tolerance and diversity. It was hatred for President Trump.
“RESIST” stickers festooned garbage cans and telephone poles. People milled around in anti-Trump t-shirts. In fact, the usual pride march was recast into a “RESIST” march against the Trump administration.
Which is somewhat weird, given that Trump is pro-gay marriage — and is the first politician to enter the White House with that position. Monday marked the first anniversary of a jihadist massacring patrons at an Orlando gay nightclub — an event Trump marked by stating, “A radical Islamic terrorist targeted the nightclub, not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens, because of their sexual orientation. It’s a strike at the heart and soul of who we are as a nation. It’s an assault on the ability of free people to live their lives, love who they want, and express their identity.”
Trump is the first major Republican politician to publicly loft a rainbow flag.
Yet Trump is also the first Republican president to have the honor of watching an LGBT march morph into a movement against him personally.
All of which shows that identity politics is more a strategy than a principled adherence to the notion of protecting supposed minority victims. While the Left maintains that government must be bigger and stronger and more invasive in order to protect the rights of various identity groups — and while the Left polarizes those identity groups for political purposes — the truth is that identity politics is merely a mask for leftism, not an outgrowth of it. If identity political were truly organic — if dividing Americans by identity groups truly led them to coalitional politics — you’d expect alliances to shift. LGBT Americans might support Trump in larger numbers than they supported other Republicans, for example. But exit polls show that Mitt Romney won more LGBT votes — by a solid eight point margin — than Trump did.
So what’s this all about? Leftism panders to various intersectional groups by positing special benefits for them via government — but if the interests of those groups don’t run in favor of leftists, leftism wins out anyway. In other words, most LGBT voters are primarily leftists, not single-issue identity politics voters. Leftist pandering to identity politics is often a political ploy designed to grant individuals a feeling of solidarity with fellow identity group members, not an actual principled opposition to a candidate based on that candidate’s adherence to the identity group’s priorities.
All of which means that it’s foolish for conservatives to engage in identity politics to counter the Left. For the Left, each identity group is a brick already stacked in the leftist wall, merely cemented in place with identity group politics. The Right can try to chip away at the cement, but the brick will still be part of the leftist wall. Instead, conservatives should attempt to treat people as individuals rather than as members of identity groups; destroy the notion of people as atoms in broader bricks to begin.
Identity politics is dangerous. But it’s more of a tool than an endgame. The Left knows that, which is why an LGBT march can turn into an anti-Trump march at the drop of a hat, even if Trump is fine with Caitlyn Jenner using the women’s bathroom at Trump Tower.