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OP-ED: As Nancy Pelosi Taunts White Men, Can We End Identity Politics on Both Left and Right?

Yesterday I wrote a piece for CNN on how messaging by U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is exacerbating our country’s cultural and political divide. Pelosi recently insulted white men in leadership positions, which isn’t helpful in tamping down identity-based tribalism. Of course, she’s not alone, as this identity politics game happens on the Right as well. From the CNN piece:

Pelosi’s troubling words, dividing rather than uniting, follow the same playbook that lost Democrats the White House and kept them from gaining the congressional majority in 2016. They’re the same type that perpetuates conflict in our political discourse rather than abiding by our national motto, “E pluribus unum” — out of many, one. …..

Sadly, some conservatives also play the identity card, and this is a problem for Republicans as the country continues to diversify. Forty-four percent of millennials are minorities, as are a majority of the babies born today. Part of our country’s current political and cultural fracturing stems from a generational divide that hews to tribal identities rather than universal recognition of our shared humanity.
“Racially and ethnically,” writes William Galston of The Brookings Institution, “the Republican base looks more like the country did two decades ago, while Democrats foreshadow what the country will be two decades from now. Neither party represents the United States as it is today.”
In other words, neither party accurately reflects America’s human family today, and we need to change our entrenched mindsets if we hope to rise above the gridlock.

Photo by Leader Nancy Pelosi

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