Democratic Candidates Displaying Gender Pronouns On Their Twitter Accounts Are Making A Big Mistake

The Democrats are playing directly into Trump's hands.

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by Ben Cohen

If the Democrats were to design a perfect strategy to lose the Presidential election to Donald Trump in 2020, they would pander to the most extreme elements of the Democratic base in order to drive the middle of the country as far away from them as possible. The best way to do this would be to focus almost exclusively on identity politics and the use of gender pronouns — issues they know will enrage Trump’s supporters and activate the middle of the country into siding with him.

Unfortunately, a number of the Democratic candidates are signaling that they would do just that if they win and get to take on the president next year.

A Gender Pronoun-Off

In the past few days, Elizabeth Warren, Julián Castro, and Bill De Blasio have all modified their Twitter accounts to show their preferred gender pronoun. Warren, the third most popular Democratic candidate’s account reads:

"U.S. Senator, former teacher, and candidate for president. Wife, mom...grandmother, and Okie. She/hers. Official campaign account."  

De Blasio has listed "He/him," and Castro listed "He/Him/Él."

Personally, I couldn’t care less what gender pronouns they use, or anyone else for that matter. I also have a great deal of sympathy for the cause — transphobia, homophobia, and sexism are real issues that have made the lives of minorities and women unbearable for centuries. They are finally getting a say in how they would like to be treated, and it is high time the rest of society started listening.

Gender issues took center stage at the first Democratic debate, where the candidates discussed abortion, violence against transgender women of color, and maternal mortality rates. For the most part, it was extremely refreshing to hear mainstream politicians talk so openly about those issues. But as is almost always the case with Democrats, they are beginning to engage in a purity contest by pandering to the more extreme wing of the Democratic Party — a suicidal strategy if they want to actually win in 2020.

Increasing militancy on the Left

Cat Keefe-Harris, a self proclaimed “biracial Afro-Caribbean queer pansexual anti-racist feminist student activist” spoke to former Banter writer Michele Zipp last year about the Women’s March that happened after the election of Donald Trump. Her views are increasingly representative of the far left, and they are seeping into mainstream Democratic discourse. Said Keefe-Harris:

“The Women's March is an unfortunate example of how feminism itself has been appropriated by middle to upper-class cis-heterosexual liberal white women wearing pink pussy hats, thus denying trans women their right to womanhood, their place in the struggle. Being a woman is much more than having a vagina. Feminism is not just about women. Feminism extends to men, their struggles with patriarchy, queer people, poor and low-income people, people of color etc. Mainstream feminism must rid itself of gender essentialism, of its ties to capitalism and especially, white supremacy.”

Just think about that for a moment. Going by the list of public allegations against the president, it is clear that he has almost exclusively assaulted middle to upper-class white women. Yet extremist gender activists are shaming them into being quiet because they could offend the trans community. This is the equivalent of saying gay people should not be allowed to marry because they might offend straight people. The trans community deserves sympathy, respect, and support, but not at the expense of anyone else. As the late Chez Pazienza wrote:

Certainly, every person is entitled to be whatever he or she -- or anything in between -- wants to be. A person's gender identity affects no one but that person and I'd never actively seek to oppress anybody or, I hope, do so through casual negligence. Nobody should be made uncomfortable by somebody else's lifestyle, beliefs, behavior, or self-identification when it doesn't have any kind of direct impact on them. Admittedly, though, there has to come a point, no matter who you are, where you accept that while the world shouldn't discriminate against you for the way you self-identify, neither can it always be expected to defer to you on the subject in a manner that satisfies you completely.

The social justice left however, now demands that everyone must defer to them in a manner that satisfies them, regardless of the broader consequences.

Not gay enough

In 2019, radical leftists are now claiming Pete Buttigieg isn’t gay enough. In an extraordinarily offensive piece that was taken down by The New Republic days after being published, LGBTQ activist writer Dale Peck argued that Buttigieg is “the gay equivalent” of an “Uncle Tom,” and coined the term “Mary Pete” to describe him. “Mary Pete,” he says, is “another unrepentant or at least unexamined beneficiary of white male privilege,” and a “neoliberal variation of “make America great again.”

Peck’s evidence for this? Buttigieg is a centrist Democrat who refuses to engage in militant identity politics. And that’s about it.

When candidates aren’t gay enough, aren’t pro-transgender enough, aren’t willing to alter their language enough to satisfy the social justice left, the Democrats are in real danger of throwing the election to Donald Trump. The more the Left obsesses about issues a small minority of the country obsesses over, the less likely they are to appeal to, you know, everyone else. And I say this as someone who does care deeply about all of the issues outline above. I have gay, trans and women friends who have suffered greatly over the years and I would love nothing more than to see a society that treats them equally. However, almost without exception, my gay, trans and women friends fear the social justice mob too, and do not speak out because they might be labeled “Mary Petes” or “white supremacists” for daring to deviate from hard-left orthodoxy.

This isn’t just a subjective observation — the majority of the LGBTQ community are behind candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in a head to head with Donald Trump. Why? Because 87% of LGBTQ Americans polled believe the only gay candidate running for president is at a serious disadvantage due to his sexuality, and clearly see the need to be pragmatic rather than ideological. They no doubt worry that Donald Trump will get re-elected and rightly see him as the greatest threat to their existence, and not centrist Democrats who won’t bow to the demands of the far left.

Win the center

Elizabeth Warren, Bill De Blasio and Julián Castro might have scored points with the identity politics left with their updated Twitter profiles. But they are handicapping themselves in a potential matchup with the president who will use it as an example of how “out of touch” they are with the rest of the country. And to a certain degree, Trump is right about this. Remember, this is after all, a country that elected him president.

All the Republicans needs to do in 2020 is convince the middle of the country that any Democrat running against Trump is a threat to the “real America.” If they are sufficiently convinced, they will come out and vote for Trump again and ensure he stays for another four years. Trump did not win in 2016 because he ran a great campaign. He won because enough people in the middle believed Hillary Clinton was “just as bad” as he was.

In any other election I wouldn’t be so worried about the language games and purity tests the Left engages in. But this is perhaps the most important election in US history — a moment where Americans get to decide whether they take democracy and the rule of law seriously. If the Democrats want to turn the election into a referendum on gender pronouns rather than healthcare, the economy, and Trump’s abuse of the law, they will lose.

There is no need to diminish the struggle of the LGBTQ community, or disregard the criticism of patriarchy and white supremacy. But there is a need to win an election and rid the country of Donald Trump, and to do that, he must be fought on battle grounds he doesn’t want to be on. If that means ignoring the demands of the activist Left and focusing on issues more Americans can get behind, then so be it. Because the stakes this time around are far too high.

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