Leftwingers’ taunts in 2008 and 2012 have come back to haunt them.
In the jubilation of the Obama election victories of 2008 and 2012, the Left warned Republicans that the party of McCain and Romney was now “too old, too white, too male — and too few.” Columnists between 2008 and 2012 ad nauseam berated Republicans on the grounds that their national candidates “no longer looked like America.” The New York Times stable crowed that the Republicans of 2008 were “all white and nearly all male” — not too long before McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running-mate. In reaction to the defeats of McCain and Romney, Salon and Harper’s ran stories on the “Grand Old White Party” and “Angry White Men.”
For Democratic progressives, Hawaiian Barack Obama could not be of mixed ancestry and decidedly middle class, but simply “black” or “African American” — as if he had shared the Jim Crow experience of Clarence Thomas. Nor was there any allowance that race itself had become hard to sort into neat categories in a nation of immigration, intermarriage, and assimilation, in which millions of Americans were one-half this and one-quarter that. Rachel Dolezal and Shaun King proved that well enough by successfully constructing themselves as white for quite a long time.
Liberals had reversed the vision of Martin Luther King Jr.: The color of our skin, not the content of our character, is what matters. Superficial appearance, the ossified politics of the tribe — the curse of the world outside the United States, where corpses have piled up in the Balkans, Rwanda, and Iraq — alone mattered. Identity politics dictated that a shrinking white insular conservative party lacked the Democrats’ “inclusiveness” and “commitment to diversity.” Icons like Barack Obama were what mattered.