Most conservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals are critical of identity politics, which is often perpetuated by leftists who are trying to appeal to women, people of color, and the LGBT community. However, more recently, my view on identity politics has started to change. While I still strongly oppose how the left has weaponized identity politics by promoting lies about police brutality and the gender wage gap, I do not believe there is anything wrong with genuinely trying to appeal to different groups of people based on their identity.
For example, I am a conservative who is complicit in identity politics. I go by the name of “Raging Gay Conservative” online because I am trying to create a gateway between conservatism and the LGBT community. There are other conservatives who belong to a minority group who are complicit in identity politics as well. Take Candace Owens and C.J. Pearson, for example. Both C.J. and Candace promote their black identity as a means to appeal to the black community. In fact, Candace launched a #BLEXIT campaign and her twitter bio reads “Black People Don’t Have to be Democrats.” Other examples of conservatives who use identity politics include “The Conservative Latina” and “Asian Republican.”
Even though I believe identity politics in moderation is acceptable, I do not believe conservatives should abandon their principles to appeal to minority groups. In fact, political science research suggests that the Republican Party could benefit by stressing certain components of its platform to minority groups. For instance, when Asian-Americans learn that they are disadvantaged by race-based college admissions and other Affirmative Action programs, they tend to have a more favorable opinion of the Republican Party.
On the contrary to public perception, some Republican politicians already use identity politics. Now-Senator Rick Scott went to great lengths to appeal to Florida’s growing Latino community, winning 45% of their vote last November. Without significant support from Latinos, Rick Scott would not have defeated incumbent Senator Bill Nelson.
Even though I have come to accept certain forms of identity politics, I still consider myself an individualist, meaning that I do not believe an individual should be judged solely based on their immutable characteristics. However, it is still possible to treat people as an individual while still reaching out to their collective community.
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