Political Identities

Who are you?

Fundamentally, what is your political DNA?

From my experience talking with people over the years, no one is singularly a Republican or Democrat. These are just social constructs meant to divide us and really don’t give a good description of a person and what they believe fundamentally.

For instance, not everyone identifying as a Democrat is pro-choice. Along those same lines, I know Republicans who believe it’s time for gun reform. I, myself, identify as a Democrat but I’m all for small government and harder punishment for violent criminal offenders.

This week, in New York, top House Democrat Joe Crowley was ousted in his primary by a political activist and Bernie Sanders leftist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. What makes this so interesting is that both of these individuals identify as Democrats, but where Crowley is a seasoned politician and considered very liberal, Ocasio-Cortez’s message was even further left.

We have been discussing a rift in the Republican party for a long time now. Since before Trump won the nomination even, the Tea Party threatened to change the foundation of the GOP. This faction of Republicans was even further right than the Right.

Now, some are comparing this shift to the “Bernie” mentality as a rift in the Democratic Party, and I can see the merit in this argument.

But, I think it’s likely that we are seeing a greater political shift entirely. When Trump was elected, many people commented (and still do) on his candor. They liked that he wasn’t a career politician and they liked that he “told it to em straight.” Consequently, that’s exactly why young people (and others) all over this country found Bernie Sanders a refreshing voice as well.

Now, his message and way of thinking are being exemplified by those walking in his image likeĀ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I don’t think this is a shift in the Democratic party, I think it’s a shift in cultural expectations. We, as a society, don’t want to follow someone because they make us feel something or because they’re smart, we want to follow someone because they speak to us as individuals and commune with us on a personal level.

Of course, here’s where I ask…

who cares?

Well, if you’re a political nerd like me, you might care because this is really interesting and you can draw a lot of parallels to the kinds of people we are electing and how our culture shapes our media consumption.

I’ve said for a while now that if the writers guild hadn’t gone on strike 10 years ago, the landscape of our media consumption would look a lot different and we might even have a different president right now.

Here’s another question for you:

does it matter?

Well, I think it matters in the context that you should pay attention. Pay attention to the primary races and to the mid-terms in November. I truly believe that these shifting mentalities and expectations are going to usher in a group of individuals being elected in the image of Trump and Sanders breaking away from the traditional Republican and Democratic bases.


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