My initial reaction: I’m at a rally filled with Millennials who seem to have their heads straight.
I have to be honest, I was surprised to see so many young people today. They are quite informed about issues, too—at least the issues that matter to them. They are open-minded and deeply devout. I found strange, though, that they seem to have views that, in my opinion, cross party lines—for instance, their position on immigration. I spoke with one person who said he was in favor of letting in immigrants because of his experience when he went on his mission. Yet he is indeed supporting President Trump – the guy that’s building the wall.
According to another attendee: most people here don’t love labels.
This got me thinking about a podcast I listened to just recently.
Disclaimer: This is strictly my opinion. Since at least the 70s and onward, identity politics has been a mode of categorizing new social groups. Whites and blacks, Latinos and Asians, men and women, Christians, Jews, and Muslims, straight people and gay people, liberals and conservatives. And the Left has used these lines of social difference as ways to gain empowerment. More us vs. them.
They’ve done it systematically, and they divvy up the electorate this way. For instance, it’s widely believed that “black voters vote Democrat.” Another example: when my friends found out that I did not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016, they were shocked (and maybe offended). After all, I’m female, so automatically, I was assumed to vote for her.
I am starting to think conservatives believe the same thing; you can divvy up the electorate using the tactic of identity politics. I never really thought about this before. In a way, this event is evidence. “The Latter-Day Saints for Trump Launch.” One group… one identity… (plus me)… it’s an “us” event.
(Still, my opinion here) The minute you do this… the minute you divvy up the electorate and take on the thinking, “well, if I get that identity group to flip,” you just made some secondary feature people’s primary identity—and that makes you no better than the Left. You create division, disunion, and you continue to push segmentation.
I think conservatives can win by uniting people and giving them a vision of the collective good. That’s what Trump did in 2016. He said, ‘we all bleed the same blood of patriots’ – not, ‘black people should vote for me.’ He said, ‘consider yourselves American.’
That’s the uniting message that is going to bring people together. The key here is not a “Latter Day Saints for Trump” sign. The key is the American flag. This is the most compelling symbol one can carry and the most meaningful identity that we share.