The Liberal Case Against Identity Politics

The Liberal Case Against Identity Politics

Last November, a week after the election, a liberal political theorist at Columbia University published an essay in the New York Times titled “The End of Identity Liberalism.”

Authored by Mark Lilla, the essay was a direct rebuke of Hillary Clinton's campaign. Clinton was “at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy,” Lilla wrote. But too often she would “slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters.”

By appealing to specific groups rather than the country as a whole, Lilla argued, the campaign alienated white working-class voters — and that's why Clinton lost.

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