anghraine: vader extending his lightsaber; text: and now for the airing of grievances! (anakin [grievances])
[personal profile] anghraine
Turns out there's a reason that the Venn diagram of the "our left would be center-right AT BEST in Europe!!!" brigade and the "that's just identity politics, socioeconomics are what really matter" Bernie types is pretty much a circle.

That is: the 'our left is conservative by European standards' (implicitly western Europe) is usually framed in an anti-US-centrism sort of way. But it operates on the assumption that there is an absolute left-to-right spectrum and different countries just divide it up in different ways. And that absolute measure is the US far left's, obviously.

What gets elided is that our very ideas of what issues constitute the spectrum are different. They overlap, certainly—particularly in socioeconomics, The One Policy To Rule Them All—but ... well, that Venn diagram is far from a perfect circle. It's hard to overstate how utterly critical the issue of diversity (esp racial/national diversity) is in the US, particularly among Democrats. For instance, 91% of liberal Democrats consider openness to foreigners essential to who we are as a nation, but even Republicans split about 50-50 on it—though it's probably worth noting that it's only 55% among liberal/moderate Republicans vs 70% among conservative/moderate Democrats. But both parties are the same!

It's just ... there are really obvious reasons why diversity is such a core issue here. One of them, which all the thinkpieces seem to overlook, is that the Democratic Party's base is not the notoriously white-dominated far left. There is exactly one white demographic which voted Democratic in 2016: white women with a college degree, and only narrowly. Black voters, who tend to be more centrist, are the most reliably Democratic electorate—black women in particular (94% voted Democratic in 2016). It's not because Democrats are some pure racism-free party (as if), but the strongest and most loyal Democratic constituency is indisputably black women. They're the real base.

(This is why the imagined scenarios about Trump running as a Democrat and winning the nomination and Then What are such nonsense. There is no way that he could ever be a serious contender as a Democrat. He'd be obliterated in the primaries. Imagine every difficulty Bernie had* and multiply it by a thousand. That's why Trump became a Republican.)

So: if we were using "welcomes diversity" as the essential metric of the left/right spectrum, European leftists would be right-wing by US liberals' standards. Not even center-right; although the left in the European countries polled are much more likely to welcome diversity than the right, almost every country's left welcomes it less than US conservatives.

(After years on f_fa, I am shocked, I tell you. Shocked!)

It's not that I think diversity should be the sole metric of left to right, either—just that globally applying any metric as an absolute standard of the political spectrum is reductive at best. No single issue is the font from which all others flow: not class, race, gender, anything. Saying the US or Australia or Sweden or wtfever is collectively left/right of somewhere else doesn't say much of anything, except where the speaker's priorities lie.

*yes, even going with the DNC conspiracy theories. If the DNC alone prevented Bernie from being nominated, as opposed to Democratic voters' strong preference for a Democrat, then they sure as hell would stop a disaster like Trump in his tracks.

on 2017-08-09 07:47 am (UTC)
sathari: Anakin in the Vadersuit (Anakin's a knight in shining armor)
Posted by [personal profile] sathari
This is a FANTASTIC post. Thank you for this. I cosign entirely, and especially the importance of Black women voters (and activists/campaigners/politicians!) to the Democratic party, and of the role of diversity. Seriously, even just at a pragmatic level, do we want to scurry after a small subset of the population many of whom won't vote for us anyway, or do we want to be all, "Let's have a tent that's big enough for everyone who actually believes all that stuff in the Declaration of Independence about how all people are created equal and endowed by virtue of being human with 'certain inalienable rights'"? Because I think the latter group is a lot bigger, and growing. Seriously, "We believe in the Constitution and the rights of human beings to BE, the other side seems to have a problem with that" seems to be a much better strategy.


anghraine: from the 2005 p&p: darcy standing at a piano while georgiana plays it (Default)

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