Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, is introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., during a campaign rally, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Over the last decade or so, identity politics have become the centerpiece of Democratic campaigns to both win elections at all levels of government and
shame persuade people into supporting their policy ideas once they get elected.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has indisputably been one of the most prominent players of the identity politics/woman/sexism card. After she won her election in 2018, she amped up her rhetoric about how women, especially women of color, supposedly remained victims of “systemic oppression” in America, thanks to rich, old white guys who wanted to preserve the patriarchy at the expense of so-called minorities.
She presented herself as a savior to those women, and put together coalitions full of women of color. She also endorsed many women of color to challenge establishment Democrats in Congress – most of them men.
But in October 2019 and in the midst of all the media cheerleading over the fact that there were multiple women running for president – including two women of color (Kamala Harris and Tulsi Gabbard) and one woman (Elizabeth Warren) who was the ideological mirror image of Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez made the decision to endorse … the rich, old white guy.
It left some people wondering how a young socialist Democrat who constantly complains about old white guys running the country and how America needs more minority representation would pick Sanders over the female candidates in the race for the most powerful position in the country.
At the time of AOC’s endorsement, CBS News correspondent Nikole Killion went off script and point-blank asked her why she was backing “an old white guy.”
“I’m actually very excited about this partnership because it shows what we have to do in our country is that we have to come together across race, across gender, across generation,” she answered in a very unlike-AOC fashion:
Now in a non-identity politics obsessed world, your endorsement would be your own, you wouldn’t have to answer questions like these because they wouldn’t be asked. A Latina throwing her support behind an old white guy would not be given the “how dare she?” treatment – because in real life, not everything revolves around supporting someone solely on the basis of their gender/race, etc.
But this isn’t the world AOC types envision. For them, everything must be viewed through the PWOC/PPOC prism. For example, if you criticize a progressive man of color, you’re automatically branded a racist. If you disagree with a progressive woman of color, you’re automatically branded a sexist and a racist, because there are no legitimate criticisms of PWOC according to the AOCs of the world.
But apparently endorsing an old, privileged white guy and rape fantasist over minority female candidates was okay because he also happens to be a socialist. Suddenly in AOC’s world it was acceptable for identity politics to take a back seat to other factors, like where a candidate stands on the issues (which is how it really should be all the time, and not just when she declares it).
Though there were questions about AOC’s backing of Bernie at the time, most people moved on and took their positions on the political battlefield, trying to make their case as to why their Democratic candidate was the right choice, yada yada.
But here we are several months later, and the infighting between the various factions of the Democratic party is at a fever pitch. And now that Warren is out and only two rich old white guys remain, blame is being laid at the feet of the patriarchy (naturally) and … Democrats like AOC, who chose to stand beside Sanders instead of Warren or any of the other women running.
The below two tweets perfectly exemplify what’s going on right now between the warring camps as it relates to AOC. They were posted after the freshman Congresswoman lamented Warren dropping out of the race, calling her a “progressive lion” and “role model”:
I’m sick of all the toxic WarrenSisters coming over here and being so mean.
— Trash King (@TheThirdTake) March 5, 2020
While I don’t endorse identity politics as a matter of principle, I’m nevertheless sitting back and munching on popcorn, watching Democratic women getting hoisted by their own petards. Y’all built this. Now you can own it.