For conservatives, it’s an abhorrent term. Almost daily, you can see right-leaning Americans rail against the use of identity politics. The idea of using identity politics to convert more voters is anathema to many on the right.
Conservatives’ resentment of identity politics is understandable considering how progressives have used it to promote the type of victimhood message that has kept many minorities in poverty. Even worse, identity politics enabled progressives to successfully smear conservatives as bigots who only care about white males, which has all but doomed any opportunity for the GOP to make inroads in the inner cities.
Of course, the idea that the majority of conservatives are bigots is demonstrably false, but in the world of persuasion, facts such as these do not matter. Unfortunately, the Republican Party does not understand this, which is why they allowed themselves to be smeared in this way. Moreover, they have largely ignored inner cities in favor of rural and suburban areas, and in so doing, have surrendered these communities to the Democrats.
But is there a way conservatives can leverage identity politics without resorting to the cynical political strategies of the left? Is it possible to use identity politics for good instead of evil?
I believe so.
As you read this post, you might be skeptical of the notion of conservatives using identity politics to influence more potential voters. But when you consider how we can use identity politics in a way that does not promote victimhood and race baiting, you might be more open to the idea.
Here’s Why Conservatives Should Use Identity Politics
So what exactly is identity politics? According to Merriam Webster, it is:
“Politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group.”
One of the main problems with identity politics is that it divides Americans into smaller groups which advocate only for their own interests. Even worse, the left has used it to pit groups of people against others, who are supposedly victimizing them.
Identity politics is the primary reason why members of the left’s identity groups constantly support Democrats, despite the fact that they constantly fail to improve these communities. But there are ways conservatives can use identity politics without resorting to the same tactics as the left, and if we want to remain relevant, we would be wise to use these methods effectively.
It’s A Better Long-Term Strategy
As you already know, America’s demographics are changing. In 2045, whites will become the minority. Think about it. In less than 30 years, white voters will not be as dominant in America as they are now.
For the past few decades, the Republican Party has targeted primarily white voters in rural and suburban areas. While this strategy has been somewhat effective up until the present, it is not a viable long-term approach. If we want the conservative movement to remain relevant, we can no longer afford to focus primarily on white voters.
It’s The Right Thing To Do
As you already know, inner city communities have suffered long enough under Democratic leadership. Crime and poverty are rampant in cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and several others. Indeed, the top ten most impoverished and crime-ridden cities are under left-leaning governments. It is obvious that the Democrats have no intention of improving the quality of life in these areas — they have had decades to make improvements, and have failed.
If conservatives manage to convert even 10% of the black vote, it’s not likely that the Democrats will win another federal election. If conservatives are able to get conservative Republican candidates elected in traditionally blue cities, the conditions in which inner city residents live will be greatly improved. Of course, there is a caveat here — we must make sure that we promote actual conservative candidates, not leaders who will govern like Democrats.
We’re Already Doing Identity Politics
Conservatives are already using identity politics. Don’t believe me? If conservatives have truly rejected identity politics, then why do they get so excited when they see activist Candace Owens slap down white leftists who attack blacks who have left the Democratic Party? Why are we so excited about Brandon Straka, a gay man who founded the #WalkAway movement which has convinced many former leftists to abandon the Democrats? Why do we get so excited when conservative women march on D.C. in opposition to abortion?
Yep. That’s right. We’re already embracing identity politics. So instead of shying away from it, why not use it in a way that actually helps people, instead of keeping them trapped in victimhood and poverty?
Understanding Culture Is Important
The key to using identity politics in a positive way is to change the way we view inner city communities. It requires us to look at these areas through a cultural and political lens, not the stereotypical tropes to which many conservatives subscribe. There are several misconceptions that have created a disconnect between conservatives and the people we should be reaching.
One of the most damaging misconceptions is the idea that conservatives cannot directly address minority communities because they have embraced progressivism. This isn’t true. Blacks, hispanics, members of the LGBTQ community, and many religious minorities share several beliefs with conservatives, especially when it comes to the economy and fiscal responsibility. There are even agreements when it comes to social issues, such as political correctness.
In the video above, progressive professor Michael Eric Dyson even acknowledges the fact that minorities have values in common with conservatives. In an appearance on The View, he said: “If the Republicans weren’t so racist, they could encourage black people, who are morally conservative, to be on their side.”
Obviously, his contention that Republicans are racist is false, but many perceive the GOP as racist. What would happen if we proved them wrong?
Another misconception is that if Republicans go into the inner city, they will be attacked for being racist. Some have even told me that they fear violence. This isn’t true. Remember, the progressives you see assaulting people on television and in YouTube videos do not represent the majority of people who vote Democrat just like Neo-Nazis do not represent Republicans.
A Better Way To Use Identity Politics
Conservatives have often criticized the left’s use of identity politics to manipulate minorities and promote their victimhood theology. But, as stated previously, conservatives are already using identity politics, but they are using it in a different way.
The left uses identity politics to divide Americans into various victim subgroups. To progressives, the enemy is white Christian males. Their fight is against a particular skin color, religion, and gender.
On the other hand, conservatives’ version of identity politics is not about skin color, religion, or gender. Instead, their enemy is progressive ideology and policies. Our fight isn’t against a particular identity, it’s against a destructive belief system. This is the message we must bring to minorities and members of the LGBTQ community if we want to earn their support.