Following President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, over 30 percent of Democrats met the news with excitement. Forty percent were either somewhat or very happy upon learning the president had contracted the virus.
Despite the president’s age and overall health placing him in the at-risk category, near two thirds of Democrats lacked concern. Many deemed it “karma” for what they attest is the president’s blasé handling of a pandemic counting 210,000 Americans dead, and the complete rupture of ordinary life into one of suspicion, lockdown, riots, and rancor.
In modern times, America has never been so divided. One’s political affiliations are now a reliable marker on what one thinks about both settled and emerging issues.
Democrats support lockdowns in far greater numbers than Republicans. They’re far more skeptical of a Trump-endorsed Coronavirus vaccine. Republicans are more likely to reject wearing masks.
These divisions have seldom been clearer. President Trump’s recent speech at Mount Rushmore was either devotionally patriotic, or decidedly putrid, depending on whom one plans to vote for.
The Biden-Harris campaign theme settles on that of character, and its promise to restore the presidency to one of decorum and seemliness. Both campaigns talk about the battle for America’s soul. Biden and Harris attest to the president’s divisiveness and toxicity.
Yet, this division is not new. The social civil war in which Americans find themselves embroiled isn’t either. And the toxic politics of division threads through the fabric of the campaign promising most vociferously to bring the country together.
Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign faltered before the first Democratic primaries, earning just three percent of voters’ support.
Yet, Harris has an online fan club whose fervor belies the verdict delivered by Democratic primary voters.
The K-Hive is a digital legion of ardent Harris supporters numbering some 60,000 committed Twitter accounts. Yet, members of the flock betray the politics of character that is supposedly the hallmark characteristic of the Biden-Harris campaign.
A Huffington Post feature found elements of the K-Hive made violent threats, harassed opponents of Kamala Harris, and released personal information of those supporting other candidates.
Now, this behavior is perhaps expected in today’s broiling political climate. But those threatened, harassed, and doxxed by the K-Hive were all fellow Democrats.
One Jewish member of the K-Hive and supporter of Bernie Sanders, received a message saying the sender “hoped I would be raped in a gas chamber by MAGA Nazis.”
Another two women said threats were made against their children. Numerous others had their personal information posted online, forcing them to temporarily move from their homes.
Following a disagreement with K-Hive members, the mother of a 17-month-old child received concerned calls from social workers regarding her toddler’s welfare.
This rancor is suggested to stem from Bianca Delarosa, who claims to be founder of the K-Hive. Employing multiple Twitter accounts, it is said Delarosa tindered harassment toward supporters of other Democratic candidates.
Nearly all of those who spoke to the Huffington Post said much of the harassment they endured started after disagreements with Delarosa.
One former Warren Democrat spoke anonymously, owing to death threats from K-Hive members.
“She definitely encouraged the harassment. She was constantly trying to bait Warren Dems into interacting with her by tweeting about us from various accounts with our Twitter information so that her followers and fellow K-Hive members would tweet and message us.”
The concerted harassment included racial slurs, including “house slave” for black supporters of other candidates. A gay Warren supporter was told “Warren gays should be chemically castrated.” K-Hive members also mocked and harassed a sexual abuse and domestic violence victim, adding that she should kill herself because she was black, and had “sold out” the mixed-race Harris.
Delarosa denied both harassing and doxxing in a statement released on her Twitter account, chalking her involvement as “a bit of ridicule” and “overzealous championing.”
The K-Hive offers us a microcosm of an America united only in its division and of the cancerous effect identity politics has on political culture.
Roughly, four in ten Americans say they don’t have one close friend backing the opposing candidate. This divide gets even more stark across wider political beliefs and values. Fewer than a quarter say they have more than a few friends who vote differently. Instead, most voters report having mostly friends who share their political views.
Like the K-Hive, opposing views are often met with outright derision and violence. The riots seething in American cities since May attest to the political temperature. The opposing sides have their own facts to match their own beliefs. Often, the extreme end of either side talks in the parlance of civil war.
The politics of identity pits one group against the other. Critical Race Theory, its beliefs informing much of the Biden-Harris campaign, attests that the majority (which is white Americans) contrives to keep minorities down, and out of power. Branches of that theory say the same regarding men and women. In gist: all power amounts to a zero-sum game in which one side wins and the other loses.
Kamala Harris is convinced of “structural racism,” telling CNN that “There are huge disparities in our country based on race. And it does us no good if we want to solve those disparities to pretend they don’t exist.”
The vice-presidential candidate then echoed the founding statements of Black Lives Matter, insisting that America has two justice systems for white and black Americans. A smirking Harris also said that the protests and riots sweeping the country should not and will not stop.
The Biden-Harris platform stitches identity politics through the entirety of its campaign literature, with the defeat of “structural racism” forming its key planks. Yet, structural racism is defined as a system which rewards or discriminates based on skin color. Racism of course exists, yet evidence of structural racism certainly beggars the rhetoric.
This lack of consensus extends across the nation. Most Americans reject identity politics and its concomitant political correctness and cancel culture.
Indeed, two-thirds of Americans form the “Exhausted Majority,” sharing “a sense of fatigue with our polarized national conversation, a willingness to be flexible in their political viewpoints, and a lack of voice in the national conversation.”
From young to old, and across all races, strong majorities reject the culture of identity politics.
The only group (whom researchers called “Progressive Activists”) to strongly back political correctness is whiter, richer, and more highly educated than the rest of the country.
Progressive Activists make up just eight percent of Americans, yet their rhetoric animates that of the modern Democratic Party.
Researchers found the activists devoted a great deal more attention to “social justice” than others. They were also highly sensitive to race, gender, and other minority identities—“Their emphasis on unjust power structures leads them to be very pessimistic about fairness in America.”
Following the election of President Trump, a handful of self-identified and credentialled liberals published screeds decrying the amplified influence of the Progressive Activists’ ethos on the Democratic Party, blaming identity politics for putting President Trump into the White House.
Professor Mark Lilla published in the New York Times an essay he later expanded into his book The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics. The central theme: identity politics has corroded the Democratic Party into a vehicle incapable of appeal to its core constituents, and helpless in winning elections.
This toxicity also encourages a phenomenon in which nearly two thirds of Americans said they conceal their own political views in fear of reprisal, much like the dissenting members of Kamala’s K-Hive.
And like that online community, political reality is obscured until they enjoy the offline privacy of the voting booth.