How the GOP won at identity politics

The party is held together by identity, not ideology, and this is setting it up for big wins

Democrats and Republicans.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

It's not hard to find Democrats who are worried about their party's near-term electoral prospects. In 2020, they underperformed expectations, losing ground nationwide with crucial constituencies like Hispanic voters, just holding the House and barely capturing the Senate. Then-candidate Joe Biden outperformed his party, which pointed to his strength but also to his party's weakness — yet even with a healthy popular vote majority he barely won the key states that delivered an Electoral College majority.

Since then, President Biden's previously-solid popularity has dropped significantly, and his heir-apparent, Vice President Kamala Harris, remains consistently less popular still. His agenda is stalled, with progressives and moderates in the House and Senate fighting each other and holding hostage bills with wide bipartisan support. They can't even raise the debt ceiling without Republican help. Democrats face difficult midterm elections in 2022 that could cost them one or both houses of Congress, followed by a 2024 Senate map that is nightmarishly brutal.

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Noah Millman

Noah Millman is a screenwriter and filmmaker, a political columnist and a critic. From 2012 through 2017 he was a senior editor and featured blogger at The American Conservative. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Politico, USA Today, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, Foreign Policy, Modern Age, First Things, and the Jewish Review of Books, among other publications. Noah lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.