Thursday, January 10, 2008

What I Am And How It Matters...

I have the fever. It has seeped into every pore, every bit of my marrow. The chase for the White House. Those who know me know I have a preference. Over the course of the next months, that choice will likely become obvious. Some part of it anyway.

I was talking to A (soon to be Mrs. K whether she likes the title or not!) about the New Hampshire democratic primary, well before the conventional wisdom began to explain why the conventional wisdom had been wrong. Using conventional wisdom to explore the issue. She is not a Hilary supporter generally. But, for the purposes of the primary she was. There is little question that she would have voted for HRC had she lived in NH.

I was surprised, mostly because I wasn't doing a great job of listening to her at first. When her wise and intelligent points eventually permeated my dull sense of omniscience, one thing became clear to me.

Identity politics matter still in Democratic politics. But more so for women. Hilary won off of sympathy, a powerful, not-insiginificant force in politics where women have been marginalized for centuries. It didn't help that A's first choice, John Edwards, responded to Hilary's legit emotional explanation of the tolls of campaigning with self-serving mysogyny.

Gender identity politics matter more, in my opinion, in states where there is little racial diversity. Imagine, however, the results in racially diverse states. That is where the identity politics chess becomes three dimensional, particularly for minority women who must chose race, sex or neither of the above -- rather, interest.

South Carolina, for the Dems, will be where competing identity politics will stew to a boil. What will black women do? With a pol pushing identity (HRC) and a pol pushing post-partisanship (BHO), the answer would seem obvious. But, Oprah makes clear it is not.