A call for ideological uniformity?

Here we have Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, member of the “Sq**D” (I can’t bear to write it), speaking at the Netroots Nation conference on July 13, and making what I take to be a call for ideological uniformity based on race, sexuality, or religion. That uniformity, of course, must align with Pressley’s own ideology.

I may be wrong, but have a listen and tell me what you think. The transcript of the relevant part of her remarks comes from RealClear Politics:

“I don’t want to bring a chair to an old table. This is the time to shake the table. This is the time to redefine that table. Because if you’re going to come to this table, all of you who have aspirations of running for office. If you’re not prepared to come to that table and represent that voice, don’t come, because we don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice. If you’re worried about being marginalized and stereotyped, please don’t even show up because we need you to represent that voice.”



You could interpret Pressley’s remarks in two ways.

1.) If you’re going to engage in political discussion, you have to discuss your identity as the paramount topic, or at least take a point of view that derives from your identity.

2.) If you’re going to engage in political discussion, you have to take the ideologically approved Leftist viewpoint considered appropriate for your race, ethnicity or religion. If you can’t do that, don’t bother to speak.

Knowing Pressley, I’m pretty sure she means #2, especially based on the last sentence. After all, if you espouse a position not approved by intersectionalist ideology, there’s no danger of you being marginalized or stereotyped. And “we need you to represent that voice” I take to mean, “We need you to represent the position appropriate to your race/sexuality/religion.”

If I’m right here, then people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali shouldn’t show up, because she’s critical of Islam, even though she’s a black woman. And Van Jones, despite being a liberal black commentator for CNN, shouldn’t show up because he made a particularly stirring and eloquent argument for free speech—for the right to offend (be sure to listen to it here; it’s a must-hear). Free speech, of course, is a non-starter for Leftists of Pressley’s stripe, because it opens up the floor to speech that doesn’t align with one’s identity.

In other words, Pressley is saying that unless people of a given identity say what she wants them to say, they should be ignored or demonized—or at the least certainly refrain from political activity. And this is my problem with both Pressley and her three colleagues, as well as with identity politics: it leaves no room for diversity of thought. If you don’t agree with the approved position down the line, you’re out of the game. This leaves no room for discussion and, especially, no room for compromise. And in Congress, compromise is the name of the game.


  1. Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    What the hell happened to “people of good will can and should work together despite differences of worldview”?

    When did that become “people of any will can and should work together if and only if they share the same worldview”?

    The former allows for compromise, the latter prohibits it. The former mends divisions, the latter creates them.

    Today’s politicians have taken being morons to a new order of magnitude.

  2. Charles Sawicki
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    “If you’re not prepared to come to that table and represent that voice, don’t come, because we don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.”

    All she brings is divisive idiocy, of which Trump is the master.
    I like Pete Buttigieg precisely because he articulates our common problems instead of whining about his particular minority group.

    • merilee
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Go Pete!

    • Carl
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      I like Buttigieg a lot, despite many of his policy positions that I don’t (reparations, court packing, gun control, anti-electoral college, path to single payer, to name some).

      I may be typical of political independents who look at the other leading Democrat contenders with dismay (Biden), if not disgust (Harris, Sanders, Warren). I fear they will ruin the Democratic Party as Trump has done with the Republican.

      It would be so nice to have an intelligent, articulate, thoughtful President replace his exact opposite. A Buttigieg-Trump debate would be a beautiful and gratifying thing to watch.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        Just out of curiosity, Carl, what’s your argument for keeping the electoral college — that we should vote by the acre instead of by the head?

        Why should presidential votes in Wyoming count for 3.6 times as much as they do in California?

        Seems a relic inimical to the all-American principle of “one person, one vote,” and a helluva way to run a democracy, you ask me.

        • Carl
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          We don’t have voting by acre. That would be the case if an Alaskan’s vote counted more than 53 Californian’s. We have a compromise designed precisely to check urban majorities wielding excessive power over rural minorities. Like all compromises it is has drawbacks – a prime example being the current President.

          The constitution was not intended to create a perfect democracy. The constitution limits majority power in several ways, as I’m sure we are all glad.

          • EdwardM
            Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            I saw a map recently about what the US vote would look like if the Electoral College was eliminated; if you didn’t live on either coast, your vote wouldn’t matter.

            So, yeah, the benefits of eliminating the EC are not so clear.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

              … if you didn’t live on either coast, your vote wouldn’t matter.

              Sorry, Edward, but that makes no sense; in a popular election every vote counts exactly the same. That’s inherent to the definition of “popular election.”

              The electoral college is what weights some people’s votes differently. And there’s no good reason why votes should be weighted according to the relative area a voter occupies.

              I saw the map your talking about, too. It was put out as a piece of propaganda by the “One America News Network,” a right-wing pay-tv station, meant to frighten people in the middle of the country who weren’t paying close attention into believing their vote wouldn’t matter anymore if the electoral college were abolished. Don’t fall for it.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

                “you’re” — I hate that.

              • EdwardM
                Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

                No worries, Ken, I’m not falling for it. I get it that each vote counts the same. But that’s not how the people in the fly-over states will see it when they realize their votes won’t matter.

                This is politics were talking about, not reason. Or fairness. Or logic.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink


                Ok, but it’d be nice if the latter three would inform the first, once in a while at least. 🙂

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

            You in favor of letting the electors cast their ballot according to their own conscience, rather than having them bound by the vote of the people who elected them — are you opposed, that is, to state laws prohibiting “fathless electors” (as they’re known)? ‘Cause that was also the way the framers of the constitution envisioned it would work.

            How about we do something to “check” the rural minorities from “wielding excessive power” over urban majorities — you know, the people who generate most of this nation’s gross national product and cultural output?

            I think we need a better justification to keep an anachronism like the electoral college in the modern US than that it was set in amber by an expedient political compromise reached in a nation of 13 states and fewer than 4 million people in 1787.

            • Carl
              Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

              Yes Ken, I agree that the initial setup of the electoral college was much better. If I recall correctly, electors would be well known and respected men (yes back then) elected by district and who voted their conscience. It was not winner take all by state. Electors could not be political office holders. This was a better system, which was yet another check on impulsive majorities that let (one hopes) a wise head render the decision. I would bet under this less democratic incarnation of electoral college that Trump would not be president.

              Your arguments for getting rid of the electoral college are based on the axiom “democratic is better.” I don’t accept that. I prefer the system we have and agree with the founders who put in lots of anti-democratic checks that restrain the majority.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            Your argument might make sense to you but it has no historical fact to it. To check urban majorities power? In 1786 there was no such thing and it had nothing to do with the compromise. It was big states against small states and the small states won. If you recall there were only 13 states at the time and none of them were particularly big at the time, population wise. So the compromise made gave each state 2 senators regardless of population. This loss at the convention caused James Madison to consider the whole summer a loss. He may have changed his mind later but he was right. Representation in the Senate was a joke then and a much larger joke now. The other large compromise that was a loser then and a much bigger problem now was the shared power. I should not have to explain that one and will not waste my time.

            • EdwardM
              Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

              Senators were not elected by popular vote until 1912 and the EC has nothing to do with their elections today.

              • WDB
                Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

                What could make the difference is the Democrats addressing concerns of those voters in the large red area of the country between the coasts. It was very close in three states and it would have swung the difference in electoral votes to Clinton.

                Something else to keep in mind, Clinton may have had the largest vote count but she did not have a majority of the vote. I believe that she was in the neighborhood of 47% of the vote. Are the people demanding that we eliminate the electoral college going have an answer for that? Will there be demands for a national run off election should their favored candidate win with something in the low 40% range?

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

                Did I say the Senators were elected by popular vote. No I didn’t. Was I talking about the EC. No. So what. They still had 2 Senators per state. That is what needs changing. They call it Amending the constitution.

              • rickflick
                Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

                It seems to me having 2 senators per state would have sounded reasonable in the late 18th century. In those days States were thought of much like independent nations deserving of equal representation at the national level. The state’s autonomy was critical. As time passed, the states have become incidental to the federal government, so it’s time for a redo.

        • Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          @Ken Kukec
          Oregon might finally join the popular-vote movement for presidential elections, which I would applaud. As an Independent voter* I could be dangerous if my vote actually mattered.

          *”Independent voter”: Yes, despite rumors to the contrary, we actually do exist. I voted for Kennedy, Carter, and Obama, but also for Reagan, Dubya, and Trump. If that ain’t “independent” voting, I don’t know what is.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            Hope there’s one mistake in there you don’t plan to repeat, Gary. 🙂

            (And I ain’t sayin’ you’re old or anything, but glad you didn’t list a Roosevelt, so I don’t have to ask which one. 🙂 )

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

            Also, just noticed: Did you sit out ’64, ’68, ’72, ’88, ’92, & ’96?

            • Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

              @Ken Kukec
              If memory serves, which is always questionable at my age, I voted as follows in those years: ’64 Johnson; ’68 Humphrey; ’72 McGovern; ’88 G. Bush; ’92 G. Bush; ’96 Dole. So a 50-50 split all around.

              Though there have been years when I wished I could (e.g., the Dole and Trump years), I could never in good conscience “sit out” an election. I was a pre-World War II baby and had impressed on my psyche at an early age the sacrifices made by others so that I could vote.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

                Wonder how many people voted for both McGovern and Trump? Not many, I’m guessing (but then, all of us McGovern voters constitute a pretty small set to start with).

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      ”instead of whining about his particular minority group”
      ”We’re too dumb to make it in no Northern town
      And we’re keepin’ the n*****s down”
      A line from Red Necks by Randy Newman.
      Using the word whinning when refering to this women or anyone else in this argument is unhelpful. I endorse the Prof(E) post and agree in most of what you said and
      I dont like commenting on US politics as I dont live there… you guys can pound it out amoungst youselves.
      Free speech, that concern us all.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    How do we get people such as this in Congress. The same way we get lots of republicans that are also extreme. It is called gerrymandering. Take a look at the 7th district in Boston:


    • JezGrove
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Unbelievable, but then the very word
      “Gerrymandering” was created to describe redistricting in Massachusetts.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        At some point — sooner rather than later, I hope — the American people are going to wake up to the damage being done by gerrymandering, especially as it’s accomplished now with the aid of computers that can draw district lines nearly voter by voter.

        Way it is now, officeholders choose their voters, rather than the other way round. This is a primary factor driving this nation’s growing political divide, since officeholders in safe districts have much more to fear from a primary challenge coming from their own party’s extremes than they do from from the opposing party’s candidate in a general election. They are, thus, constantly driven to their Right or Left, away from the center and from compromise, for fear of being labelled a RINO or DINO by the party faithful who vote in primary elections.

        The sane way to rectify this is to have nonpartisan commissions draw neutral redistricting lines. That goal seems evermore distant now that the Roberts Court recently upheld the constitutionality of rank partisan gerrymandering.

        • Mark R.
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          And why didn’t Roberts’ court not realize that partisan gerrymandering is racial gerrymandering. They voted on a distinction that didn’t exist.

        • EdwardM
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          Primaries too are a problem in the same (or at least a similar) vein; a race to the extremes. Of course, that’s not a public policy issue as it is up to the parties to decide how to choose a candidate. Still, it accomplishes much the same as gerrymandering by making it much easier for candidates at ideological extremes to succeed. Personally, I’m not sure the backroom was any better for the parties, but primaries can bring out the crazies and sometimes they win.

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Capuano, the veteran congressman that Comrade Ayanna defeated, had been redistricted into the 7th.

      That district was intentionally adjusted to make it ‘majority minority’.

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Yes, clearly a case of not thinking that viewpoints different from her own are valid.

  5. Historian
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The current spasm of identity politics that is now convulsing the American system is a result of demographic change that threatens the hegemony of the biggest identity group of all – a subset of white people. This group, almost all of whom are Trump supporters, feel that American culture is race based and, therefore, by definition, other races have no place in it. In other words, it is impossible for these other groups to be “true” Americans. For this group, massive resistance to this change is their last, desperate attempt to roll back what is actually inevitable. This mindset is essentially the same as the segregationists of the Jim Crow era. This situation has fostered, in turn, the rise of extremism in certain members of minority groups whom have adopted the primacy of racial identity in their way of thinking. Thus, we see the emergence of a vicious cycle that can only exacerbate the polarization of American society.

    Identity politics has roiled American society several time in the past. In the 1790s, there was an outburst of anti-immigration sentiment. In the early 1850s, Protestants were very worried about Catholic immigration, resulting in the rise of the Know-Nothing Party, which had an impressive degree of political success until undone by the slavery issue. In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan gained a large membership and had a lot of influence in the Democratic Party. Anti-immigration legislation was passed during that era. Then in the 1950s and 1960s, there was in the South resistance to integration.

    As any student of American history should know, much of the country’s politics, since its founding, has revolved around the issues of slavery and race. There has always been a significant proportion of white people who could never accept the notion of black people deserving an equal place at the table. Now the white fear has expanded to brown people and Muslims. Until this segment of white people accepts the idea that race or ethnicity is not what defines what being an American is, social peace will be but a dream. If and until this happens, identity politics will reign. Fewer and fewer people will consider the “greater good” in their political calculations. In my view, the problem is intractable and we cannot expect a solution any time soon.

    • Pelmon
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      You are perfectly correct here Jerry.

  6. JB
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I was inspired by MLK’s dream that we’d be judged by the content of our character. But in 2019, your race/gender is the most important thing about you, apparently.

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Could always be worst. You could be in Puerto Rico right now or maybe Hong Kong. Although it is likely Trump is what caused the problem currently happening in Puerto Rico we really do not see that much public protest here on the mainland. Not yet.

    • Posted July 23, 2019 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      Am in Hong Kong. Can confirm.

      Between police beating and firing tear gas and rubber bullets at unarmed protesters, and the police leaving so our mafia could beat up a whole train of protesters, while our emergency hotline hangs up on those inside calling for help, I doubt Hong Kong is going to stay an independent city for much longer. The police aren’t even trying to give an excuse for all this bull because they know the only ones who could investigate them are police themselves.

      I hope PCC(E) writes something on this because we really need any exposure or help we can get.


  8. darrelle
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I think you are correct in this case Jerry. It has always struck me as highly ironic how this new SJW movement so righteously claims to be heroes of diversity yet demands such strict conformity. I have an instinctive disgust reaction to any pressure to conform. A quirk that has often cost me.

    Yet, I see all of this as an inevitable backlash from bona fide mistreatment in the past. We will have to deal with it as gracefully as we can. I can’t condemn SJWs that are honestly trying to fight the good fight, though I will oppose them on those issues that I disagree with them about. But there are also people in the movement that I don’t believe are honestly trying to fight the good fight. People that are taking advantage of the movement for less savory reasons. Those people I’ve got no problem condemning.

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      An ‘SJW’ by definition is neither honest nor good, and shames others for lack of purity rather than actually fighting for social justice.

    • Deodand
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      As I’ve said in other posts, what the SJWs want is the appearance of diversity (appearance only) combined with unity of thought, just like in that old Coca Cola commercial…

  9. Teegarden's Star
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Identity Politics is age-old American Know-Nothingism in its newest and most virulent guise.

    There’s no quicker and more effective way to annihilate a living culture than to belligerently force it to conform to externally created stereotypes of itself.

  10. mike cracraft
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    The Democratic party is committing suicide with this stupidity. Trump is going to win if things don’t change in 2020.

  11. BJ
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Yes, certainly a call for ideological conformity in the flavor of number 2 (hehe). She’s saying that black voices that disagree with their politics aren’t black voices, queer voices that disagree with their politics aren’t queer voices, etc.

    Talk about marginalizing!

  12. Frank
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Once again, Titania McGrath said it best:

    “The only way to guarantee inclusivity is by limiting the free speech of those with the wrong opinions.”

    • JezGrove
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Brilliant, I must remember that one!

  13. Jon Gallant
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Ms. Pressley’s demand that Black, Brown, Muslim and etc. “voices” speak exclusively in her intersectional language has an obvious corollary. It is that those whose “voices” intone correctly in Wokespeak should never, ever have to suffer the indignity of listening to anyone else. In Washington state, a new State Senator, Mona Das, recently complained of a shocking example of microaggression “from people you would not expect”, as she put it, namely the Democratic Party. At Democratic party caucus meetings, freshman state legislators were given the customary advice to listen more than speak in their first year, so as to learn the ropes. Ms. Das conceded that this advice was given to all new state legislators impartially. However, as a Woman Of Color, she takes any such advice addressed to her to be a “coded” form of “racism, sexism, and misogyny”.

  14. Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I think you read Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley extremely uncharitably. I would have read her to be saying: “Don’t run for office on a platform a large part of which is that you are going to be a voice for those holding a particular point of view unless you are going to be such a voice.”

    It’s fine for Ayaan Hirsi Ali to show up in the public square. It’s not so fine to view her as a proxy for the views of Black immigrant women…


    Brad DeLong

    • Pelmon
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      This is incoherent in at least two ways.

      First it misrepresents what Presley said. She was quite clear: we don’t need black persons who won’t be a “black” voice. That certainly excludes Hirsi Ali. Jerry has read her aright, and you have not.

      Second, it is wrong to see any one individual as a proxy for the views of any group, no matter how little intellectual diversity you imagine that group capable of.

  15. Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    These so called “woke people have either by omission or commission omitted any mention of peoples of the First Nations. So much for their purity. Also their exclusivity and puritan attitudes if transferred to a religious platform would make Cotton Mather proud.

  16. Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Make no mistake: Pressley is a radical and a revolutionary, intent on razing our current society and institutions, and building her dystopian vision on the rubble.

    Her campaign slogan was “Change Can’t Wait”, and during the primary she proclaimed, “it’s necessary that we are disruptive right now and making people uncomfortable.”

    The Justice Democrats seek to hijack the Democratic Party to promulgate their revolution and impose their extremist agenda on an unwilling America. If the JD are not quickly and forcefully neutralized, they will tear the Democratic Party apart, causing lasting damage to the party and the nation for decades to come.

    • Historian
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      “Make no mistake: Pressley is a radical and a revolutionary, intent on razing our current society and institutions, and building her dystopian vision on the rubble.”

      At first, I read this sentence quickly and I thought you wrote Trump. But, that was my mistake. I now see that Pressley and her small group of supporters are the real threat to our current society and institutions since they are doing just fine under the current administration. I feel enlightened.

      • Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        That’s some heavy-handed and unnecessary snark.

        The immediate danger of these radicals is the huge boost they give to trump’s reelection chances.

        But do not be so naive as to think the radical left poses any less of a threat to our free society than does the radical right. For us in the center (which may or may not include you), this is a two-front war.

  17. rickflick
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    A more generous interpretation might be, she doesn’t want marginalized people to feel afraid to be who they are. Not necessarily to adopt her political ideology. She’s giving encouragement to the marginalized to stand up and be counted. To be proud of who they are, and expect to get treated fairly and equally. I’m sure she has a lot more on her mind about how that should play out, but if you take it minimally, she may simply be encouraging minorities to participate.

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Uh, she was quite explicit about what agenda PoCs need to forward if they participate.

      Don’t forget, the JD plan on primary runs to unseat 60-odd ‘Uncle Toms’.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      That’s a plausible interpretation. But given that she was talking about who should not come to represent, in other words excluding people rather than including people, and based on things she has said and done previously, I think Jerry’s interpretation is more likely.

  18. Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Does that mean that rich white men should preferentially represent the agenda of rich white men?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      There’s a novel idea; why hasn’t anyone ever come up with it before? 🙂

      • JezGrove
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Love it, though I’m not sure that “white” is the first color that comes to mind when I think of Trump though. And he might not be as rich as he claims, either.

        • Posted July 23, 2019 at 1:30 am | Permalink

          And bankrupt orange men should represent the interests of bankrupt orange men!

          But more seriously, how does this not lead to radical individualism? This seems to imply that anyone who isn’t exactly identical to you isn’t worth fighting for.


  19. Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    This may have been said before and better but I’m seeing more people who were raised in single child homes with older more involved parents who overprotected their kids, kids who never got into schoolyard fights or played sports where there was a real difference between winning and losing. This leads to more people talking tough, or what they think is talking tough and being exclusionary even If unintended. It’s true that language can be a weapon, and it’s true that words can sting even if no dart was aimed, but some have gotten too sensitive while the rest of us look on bewildered. It may be possible that people like this mean well, but chase too many away with their overwrought speech

  20. Dave
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m not an American, so I may not fully understand the job descriptiosn of the various grades of US politician, but as an elected member of Congress, is it not Pressley’s job to represent the best interests of ALL the people in her congressional district – even those who didn’t vote for her? That’s certainly the duty of a Member of Parliament here in the UK. A black MP isn’t elected to Parliament to represent black people, a muslim MP to represent muslims, or a gay MP to represent gay people, they’re in the place to represent everyone in their constituency. If I were a voter in Pressley’s district, and didn’t happen to belong to one the favoured groups in her victimhood hierarchy, I don’t think I’d have much confidence that I was being fairly represented in Congress.

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      As far as I know, a representative is supposed to represent the interests of everybody in their district.

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Pressley’s district — in it’s latest gerrymander incarnation — is c. 70% minority and mostly urban. She ran on a platform comprised almost exclusively of government handouts. Her constituency is likely quite pleased with her.

      But more than that, for Pressley, getting into Congress was just a stepping stone to fomenting the socialist revolution.

    • Griff
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 3:14 am | Permalink

      Don’t we have similar issues with Jess Philips and David Lammy?

  21. Jenny Haniver
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    In a comment I made re a previous post, I defended Aryanna Pressley against her inclusion in the group of BDS supporters because I’d read in reputable sources that she did not support BDS and had amicable relations with Jews in her district.

    However, I must agree with PCC(E) on this blatantly exclusionary diktat of July 13. I hoped that she might be someone of a left/progressive bent but not a Manichean ideologue; however, judging from her words of 7/13,that doesn’t seem to be the case. I don’t know can this stand squares with her repudiation of BDS and all that entails.

  22. Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    In 1992 Bill Clinton won the popular vote by 5 million and took 32 states plus DC. In ’96 he won by 8 million votes and took 31 + DC.

    Hillary Clinton in 2016 won the popular vote by two million, but that included a 4 million vote margin in CA, 2 million in NY, and 1 million margins in IL and MA. Meaning she lost the rest of the country by a total of 6 million votes. And of course took only 20 states plus DC.

    The problem isn’t with the Electoral College; it’s with the crap product the Democrats are trying to sell. And the new model is shaping up to be even worse.

  23. Roo
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I think perhaps the far left wants race to fill the unifying role on the left that religion often (or at least sometimes) does on the right. There is often some uniformity of opinion among those in Evangelical and sometimes, more broadly, overall Christian circles. At least it appears that way to me, based on observation. Yes, there are hot button issues, such as homosexuality that divide people fairly sharply, but in general I think there is a fair degree of message coordination among the religious right.

    The thing about trying to unify viewpoints via race, of course, is that it presupposes one’s point of view will be similar to others based on race – that there is, as Pressley says, such a thing as a “brown voice” in the first place, vs. an individual with an individual opinion. Taken at face value, that actually seems to involve unfair stereotyping – saying that if you are this race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., then you must have X,Y, and Z views by default. But, I think in the paradigm of the far left, that’s not how it’s meant. I think in their framing, oppression is so intense, obvious, and ubiquitous that one assumes any human put in that position would respond fairly similarly. So it’s not similar viewpoints that are assumed, exactly, it’s the idea that people in a given group can be assumed to be having a similar experience, which any human would respond to in a particular way. At least that’s my understanding of the general schema on the far left where the topics of power and oppression are concerned.

  24. Jimbo
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Identity begets identity. If women of color (such as Pressley) wish to assert their extreme virtue and right-think, I fear they risk alienating part of the white electorate, some of whom while not necessarily playing white identity politics, are forced by exclusion into it. That’s bad. Further, I would argue that fewer non WOC will choose to ally with the “squad” (they aren’t welcoming anyway) and they will marginalize themselves into a politically impotent uber-minority. The claims of systemic racism will amplify as they lose support, some justified (white identity) but most false (extreme left policies + exclusionary posture). I’m glad Pelosi hip-checked the “squad” basically as a foursome with Twitter-rage who won in Dem-friendly districts. Governing from the middle wins, from the fringe not so much.

  25. Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I think what she meant was more about not letting one’s identity get in the way of one’s advocacy simply out of a desire to not be pigeonholed, but still…

    I’m opposed to identity politics. It has been a part of South African politics for as long as I can think of, with most elections being decided on identity issues.

    The Apartheid government was all about Afrikanerdom, and were very quick to point out the evils of the British during the Boer war as a means of discrediting the “British press” which was critical of their policies.

    The net result was not simply a government which governed for the few at the expense of the many, but that from the 60s through to the end of Apartheid we had growing unemployment a generally weak economy.

    Now we’ve got a government which loves to point out the evils of Apartheid in order to discredit the “white” press that is highly critical of its policies.

    So not only do we have state capture, we have over 27% unemployment, a junk credit rating, some of the highest murder and rape stats in the world, and schools where female pupils come home pregnant with the principal’s baby.

    When Trump spoke about shithole countries, I looked at mine and figured it was a fair cop, because every now and then you’ll get a kid in a rural area drowning to death in a literal shithole. They call it the bucket system.

    Identity based politicians have this inherent thing where they aren’t there to do a job, they’re there to look successful and have the job title in the hands of someone different because its not the actual work that matters.

    But the thing is when I vote for somebody, I’m not voting for the someone’s voice. I’m voting for their hands, for what I think they will do. An elected representative is there not to represent their given minority but the people who voted for them.

    Sure, some uniformity in ideology is desirable in a political party. If you’re voting for a Democrat, you should know roughly what that means and that has been a massive weakness in the Dems ever since the Clinton era – the fact that they have no brand.

    Pelosi should discipline members who vote against the party on a regular basis, otherwise there is no functional difference between voting Democrat and voting independent.

    But that ideology has to be based around delivering effective and positive governance for all, not around different identities pushing their agendas at the expense of each other.

    If a Muslim is elected to congress, they should be secular because otherwise they’re not representing their constituents who are not Muslim. The same goes for the other identity issues.

    A congressman doesn’t get a pass on not opposing racism because its not their identity, a male doesn’t get a pass on not opposing sexism, a straight person should stand for the rights of gay people despite not being LGBTQ, because at the end of the day what should matter isn’t the identity of the one doing the job, but that the job gets done.

    And the job in this case is to represent the constituencies involved.

  26. KD
    Posted July 23, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The reality of politics in the voluntary context is that you need to create uniformity and agreement on objectives in order to be politically effective.

    If you read the history of radical politics, the radicals always splinter over hair splitting ideological disagreements (such as the Wobblies and the Communists for example). You also often see the factions with the best discipline and hierarchy tend to roll over the less cohesive groups (Spanish Civil War). Often, radical politics just splinters up into opposing camps and goes nowhere, because people can’t get it together.

    I don’t see how you can run an aggrieved Black identity politics without getting your people behind you, or intimidating them into shutting up and not undermining your political efforts.

    I suppose we can ask whether aggrieved ethnic minority politics is a legitimate thing, but the cat is out of the bag on that one. But if you are going to have aggrieved ethnic minority politics, you are going to have grand poo-bahs claiming to speak for all the real aggrieved ethnic minorities. [You have had identical battles in the labor movement, for example.]

    The other thing is whether there is something we can vaguely call “Black interests” and whether there are policies that conflict with “Black interests”. This may be controversial, but it is also obvious, although you can make an argument for Jim Crow being good for Blacks (higher rates of minority owned businesses, etc.), its pretty obvious to most Blacks that Jim Crow was contrary to their group interests. This means that if there is a “Black interest”, it is possible to be Black yet opposed to Black interests. [Obviously, in the real world, what is good or bad for a group, say Black Lives Matters, is a complicated question given limited information and future uncertainty.]

    Anyone who spends any time around Black communities will quickly understand that Blacks have a very strong racial identity and really do believe in group racial interests, and really will punish and shame Blacks who deviate from the script (Blacks critical of affirmative action pay a real social penalty), even if that seems like a foreign way of thinking to liberal white people.

    • Pelmon
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      She repeats over and over the phrase “we don’t need”. People we don’t need. But you say it’s really all about what’s “voluntary”?

      • KD
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        I concede “voluntary” is an interesting concept in general on this blog.

        Notwithstanding, yes, any Black person is free to ignore, contradict or otherwise tell her to stuff it. Its not the kind of situation where if you are the first person to sit down after the great leader finishes speaking, you have to worry about being sent off to a work camp in Siberia.

        Use of informal moral shaming is a form of coercion that exists in a “voluntary” social arrangement. People boycott and protest things all the time, and they won’t invite you to lunch if they suspect you of bad political beliefs.

        Hierarchy is a system designed to avoid aggression by designating slots for people. Without hierarchy, you get violence of the all-against-all sort. When a hierarchy begins to topple, you often get violence to shore it up (but that is usually the sign of the end). But hierarchy is usually maintained by moral signaling and shaming. [For example, it’s hard being a socially-active “out” pedophile if you don’t have black mail videos of world leaders.] This is, of course, the truth that is turned into a partial truth to justify radical leftist violence against “the system” (which usually results in a new hierarchy that is worse than what it replaced).

        Yes, Pressley is using moral shaming strategy based on implicit “race traitor” accusations to create a hierarchy within an identity group with her at the top, and her enemies at the bottom. But that is how politics is done in a liberal order.

        • KD
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          Look, Obama, a gifted man, brilliant orator, and skillful politician, got his butt handed to him by Bobby Rush in a congressional primary battle in which Rush basically called him an Uncle Tom/Oreo “out-of-touch, not-from-the-hood, Harvard-educated fool”.

          This stuff works with Black voters.

    • Roo
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Anyone who spends any time around Black communities will quickly understand that Blacks have a very strong racial identity and really do believe in group racial interests, and really will punish and shame Blacks who deviate from the script (Blacks critical of affirmative action pay a real social penalty), even if that seems like a foreign way of thinking to liberal white people.

      I don’t think it’s foreign so much as taboo – and rightly so, to my mind. I was raised to think it was rude, and also racist, to speak about people in such a way. (This dynamic is still present in some areas – it’s still considered anti Semitic, so far as I know, to assume all Jewish people have some sort of unspoken group agenda, for example. Wasn’t Ihan Omar widely criticized for saying that Jewish people care a lot about Israel? This would actually be the logical conclusion if you assume people function based on group identities, as Israel is a Jewish state.) If any individual black person expresses sentiments about racial solidarity I think that’s their prerogative and it’s fine, but since I’m not black, I don’t think it would be right for me to talk about ‘black voices’. Which makes what Pressley is saying pretty awkward as a political sentiment, as it’s a sentiment that would, in many ways, be racist depending on who’s saying it.

      • KD
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        One can go off on identity politics and Black racial consciousness except that Black identity politics and Black racial consciousness is a direct result of white racial politics, from slavery to Jim Crow to housing and education segregation today.

        I would suggest that “universal suffrage” begets mass politics begets identity politics. You have had “identity politics” in America since Jackson–which followed expansion of the franchise.

        The Civil War was fought over national identity–were we to be a free nation or a slave nation, as well as regional identity. Late 19th century you see a lot of Anglo-Protestant & Allies against Catholic and Jewish white ethnics, leading to Anti-Catholic legislation and stuff like the KKK. White Supremacy in the South was straight up identity politics.

        Even the New Deal was supposed to be universal, but you have an alliance between white ethnics (heavily Jewish and Catholics in the North) with white supremacists in the South passing social insurance that mostly promoted the interests of the white working class.

        Come the 1960’s, it all breaks up over Civil Rights, with the white supremacists shifting to the GOP and Northern white ethnics splintering over social issues and stuff like busing. The Democrats construct a new voting coalition along the current lines–“identity politics”–but what really changed is the identity politics weren’t implicitly “white heterosexual male identity” politics.

        But this isn’t much different from the New Deal when it went from “Yankee Anglo-descendant of the Pilgrims Protestant heterosexual male identity” politics to a broader coalition.

        • Roo
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          One can go off on identity politics and Black racial consciousness except that Black identity politics and Black racial consciousness is a direct result of white racial politics, from slavery to Jim Crow to housing and education segregation today.

          I’m not entirely sure how this relates to my post. I’m certainly not in favor of anyone “going off on” black racial consciousness if expressed by a black person (if by this you mean ‘going off’ in the usual sense of getting angry, flipping out, etc.) My point was that I don’t think people of other races should be making bloc assumptions about black people or any group of people, and that people should be treated as individuals. Treating people as individuals of course in no way means that statistical trends don’t exist, of course – but it means that we don’t define people by those trends. For example, if I remember correctly, a majority of African Americans are democrats – but I would never walk up to an African American person, ask them how they like being a democrat, and then make a comment about most African Americans being democrats, why aren’t they if they said they were a far right libertarian republican.

          • KD
            Posted July 23, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

            Are saying you object to generalizations, whether true or false, regarding group behaviors?

            If so, why would you want to imprison your mind with such a rule?

            What is the benefit to society in pretending certain things that generally are the case are not the case?

            If stereotypes create a cognitive distortion towards making the general universal, doesn’t the insistence against stereotypes create the cognitive distortion towards making what is generally false universal?

            If you have to pick, isn’t it better to have a cognitive bias that is generally right over one that is generally wrong?

            One of most replicated results in social science is that most stereotypes about groups have a statistical validity exceeding most of the findings of social science:


            Granted, I asserted a description and someone can say it does not accurately describe the political behavior of heavily Black political communities–I could be wrong, but I don’t see how a general description could be per se wrong. That’s just putting your brain in a straight jacket.

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