There’s good news, bad news, and fake news in this Washington Post article by Michael Scherer. In fact, they all appear in this sentence:
[Trump’s combustible formula of white identity politics] has pushed Democratic presidential candidates sharply to the left on issues such as immigration and civil rights, as they respond to the liberal backlash against him.
The good news is that the Post has been forced by events to acknowledge that Democratic presidential candidates have moved “sharply to the left.” The bad news is that the Post has a fallback position: the move to the left is President Trump’s fault.
This is also fake news. In 2016, Bernie Sanders ran basically even with Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Only by manipulating the process was the Party able to ensure that a socialist wouldn’t be its nominee.
Donald Trump is not the cause of this sharp move to the left. Democrats didn’t take Trump’s candidacy at all seriously when Sanders began to emerge and, throughout the nominating process, remained convinced Trump couldn’t win the general election.
Scherer’s article is full of references to polls and surveys that purport to show this and that. However, he presents no evidence that the Democrats’ leftism is driven by Trump. Democratic candidates are spouting leftist dogma because the Party’s left-wing base believes the dogma, which for decades has been the dominant view on the college campuses where they were educated.
The ascent of the academic left has nothing to do with Trump or his alleged white identity politics. He was a Democrat when the left consolidated its hold on academia and relentlessly brainwashed college students with identity politics, the politics of victimhood, etc.
If anything, Trump should be driving Democratic candidates and the voters whose support they seek away from extreme leftism. A normal party would be intent on defeating Trump by appealing to swing voters and Obama supporters who voted for Trump in 2016.
This may yet happen. Joe Biden is still the frontrunner.
But even at his peak of popularity in this cycle, Biden never had 50 percent support, and now his support seems to be in the 25-30 percent range. More Democrats favor a hard-left candidate than favor Biden or other soft-left candidates like Amy Klobuchar.
That’s due to ideology, not Trump.
There’s plenty of other fake news in Scherer’s screed which, back when journalism was journalism, never would have been published as a news story. The goal of his piece is to show that, as the title says, “white identity politics drives Trump.”
As evidence, Scherer cites things like this:
To try to excite his core voters, [Trump] continues to describe Latino immigration as a threat to the nation by arguing that “we don’t have a country” if borders are not enforced.
Trump’s actual statement was: “If you don’t have borders, you don’t have a country.” That’s not identity politics; its a truism.
There’s also this:
More recently, [Trump] unsuccessfully championed an effort to add a citizenship question to the U.S. census that would have increased the political power of white voters by discouraging Latino participation in the count and allowed states to draw legislative districts to exclude undocumented immigrants.
The question might have discouraged the participation of Latinos who are in the country illegally. But why should illegal immigration cause the dilution of the political power of lawful residents? Scherer doesn’t say. Nor does he explain why the U.S. shouldn’t try to get an accurate count of the number of people who are its lawful residents.
Border enforcement and accurate head counts are the normal aspirations of any self-respecting nation. They were standard, non-controversial goals of the U.S. for much of our history, until left-wing identity politics, coupled with raw political opportunism, changed the landscape.
The Post indulges in projection when it claims that President Trump’s positions on issues like these constitute “white identity politics.”