The American left’s obsession with identity politics, and refusal to engage with the concerns of ordinary Americans lost them the election, according to a British peer and polling expert.
Lord Ashcroft, a major political donor who funds extensive polling in the UK, delivered a withering assessment on his blog, saying the Democrats’ reaction to losing shows they are locked in a cycle of defeat.
Writing on his blog yesterday, Ashcroft wrote:
The Democrats thought everyone shared their assumptions. Having decided that no decent person could vote for Donald Trump – a candidate backed by a “basket of deplorables” – they seemed to argue that people had a moral responsibility to keep him out of office, irrespective of any other consideration: “our children are watching”, as her ads relentlessly reminded the TV audience.
But other things that were closer to home mattered more to people than Donald Trump’s flaws, and Donald Trump was talking about them – albeit in crude terms, and in even cruder terms about things they often wished he wouldn’t talk about at all.
Yet when they looked over the fence to see what was on the left-liberal agenda, what did they hear? Gender-neutral pronouns, safe spaces, transgender bathroom rights – the burgeoning agenda of identity politics that many ordinary voters feel is widening and entrenching division – and what someone in one of my focus groups of African-American voters called the “rich white person problem” of climate change.
He said the cycle of blaming their loss on presentation, the media, or the moral failings of voters – rather than themselves is familiar from losing movements the world over.
— Joe Trippi (@JoeTrippi) November 23, 2016
The same cycle, Ashcroft said, was evident in in the Conservative party after their loss to Tony Blair and today’s Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn.
Ashcroft was an influential figure in the project to reinvent the Conservatives as a party of government in the late 2000s, and donated a huge amount of money to David Cameron’s party.
However, there was a rift between the two in the early years of Cameron’s premiership.
Ashcroft expected to be given a high-ranking government job, but went from ally to enemy when he was instead offered a junior position, which he interpreted as a snub.
The peer later got his revenge, however, by authoring a controversial biography of Cameron which dredged up rumours that he had put his penis in the mouth of a dead pig while an undergraduate at Oxford.