Andrew Sullivan: Jeremy Corbyn Killed Labour With All His Woke Pronouns
The UK's Labour Party got spanked last night, and although I'm a devoted viewer of The Crown and Victoria, I'm not really qualified to make sweeping statements about British politics. Fortunately, conservative writer Andrew Sullivan is prepared to tell us what his homeland's self-destructive impulses can teach us here in his adopted country.
Yes, Democrats are DOOMED as we take a "hard-left" slide that's likely to end with nominating Joe Biden for president. The Twitter that Sullivan and other conservatives use proudly exists in the real world, but "Left Twitter" is apparently a holodeck simulation where 15-year-old SER makes out all day with Counselor Troi. If liberals are on a fake Twitter, then why are we always warned that criticizing Democratic candidates will help re-elect Donald Trump? It's obvious nothing we do matters.
Sullivan, who is the "right" kind of immigrant, even though he's not even Norwegian, calls out support for "mass immigration" as a specific disaster for Democrats. There's a lot of moderate concern trolling about candidates' support for so-called "open borders," but Republicans are the ones with concentration camps on their watch. That last part happened and is still going on. There is no secret Democratic plan to fling open all the doors to the southern border.
"Wokeness" is what Sullivan argues is most fatal for Democrats, and that's a vague, broad description for everything he dislikes about social progressivism. This obsession the "woke Left" has with human empathy just isn't productive.
OK, I looked this up: Jo Swinson was accused of "betraying" women and courting the "woke vote" because she pledged to scrap the Gender Recognition Act. Supporters of the GRA believed forcing trans people to receive an advanced degree in their own gender identity would prevent opportunistic men from gaining access to women's spaces like Tom Hanks in "Bosom Buddies." Sullivan doesn't have to agree with Swinson's position, but he could give her the benefit of the doubt that her position is authentic. However, conservatives co-opted the term "woke" to dismiss all social justice concerns as "performative." Presidential candidates eating funnel cakes at the Iowa State Fair is genuine retail politics, but politicians stating their gender pronouns are pandering to a "social justice cult."
Sorry, no, that tweet's not "perfection." It's fucking stupid. Jeremy Corbyn had faced accusations of anti-Semitism. That's a more relevant political liability than showing consideration for the feelings of other human beings. No politician believes announcing their pronouns will singlehandedly win an election. But conservatives think voters are petty enough to vote against a candidate who does so.
British journalist Toby Young snarked, "Go woke, go broke" when gloating on Twitter about Labour losses. Sullivan argues that there's a "big majority in the US and U.K. for anti-pc nationalism wedded to leftist economics." I grudgingly agree with Sullivan that it's easier for conservatives to offer a few rhetorical table scraps to the working class than it is for liberals to openly throw the marginalized under the bus. The Right has weaponized "woke culture," making it as radioactive as the very word "liberal" became in the 1980s. The white working class are convinced that minorities are the elite. They believe they're punching up when they're actually kicking the people struggling below.
This is why I think Trumpism is a larger problem than just Trump himself, and I worry about us focusing exclusively on removing Trump from office today rather than figuring out how to defeat the Trumps of tomorrow.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.