Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Is Identity Politics Just Coalition Building or Something More Sinister

Back in 1964, a full fifty-three years ago, a novel came out entitled The 480. It was about the social and political effects of slicing and dicing society into 480 specific groups; by socioeconomic status, location, origin, etc. Creating computer simulations to manipulate public consciousness and win elections.

Today, such ideas are fully backed into our system. Big Data companies like Cambridge Analytica, make what was once a futuristic novel, a political fact of life. It’s the ultimate form of identity politics. Since the 1960’s, this has been the underpinnings of Democratic politics.

But does it work anymore? Does the focus on dividing the electorate run counter to what the Democratic party needs to win both local and national elections?

Columbia University Professor Mark Lilla looks at exactly this in The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics.

My conversation with Mark Lilla: