Identity Politics Run Amok – The Conversation – The Chronicle of Higher Education.
If I may be so bold as to introduce a segue, another sort of identity politics ran amuck tonight in Tampa tonight. Old white men’s politics, of which I am a longtime apostate. When Romney asked us if we were better off than we were four years ago, echoing his revered predecessor, he would have done well to remember a few inconvenient facts. The investor class, for one, is a good deal better off, while the rest of us are not. And most of the undecided voters probably know where to place the blame.
This is the opposite of the situation we found ourselves in back in 1980, when the markets were at historic lows after years of slowing economic growth in a matured industrial economy. But workers were actually better off. They abandoned Carter not only because he made the country look weak, they did not understand the man’s ideas because he didn’t know how to communicate with them. His Georgia roots were helpful in peeling of some off the Nixon coalition in 1976, but policy concerns, both foreign and domestic, came back to bite him in 1980, as the Nixon coalition solidified under the GOP brand.
Those workers who thought they’d become better off, given the promises Reagan made, have been made increasingly worse off, while investors are ten times better off. The Republican brand is severely tarnished among vast swaths of the populace, and the Congress has made it very clear that the GOP would do nothing for them. So Romney had a job to do selling his brand to the undecideds. I, for one, don’t feel that he did by quoting Reagan for the umpteenth time. Those notions Reagan held in his dotage, that became the mantra for thirty years, are chateaubriand for the investor class, but a moldy bun with no chopped beef for the other 99%.
Michael Murphy, the Republican consultant, was right about the candidates. On Charlie Rose, he said. “Obama is our second choice. Romney our third.” I line up squarely with Jill Stein, but the Greens don’t have a full slate, and would be unable to govern, thus I must vote for my second choice.