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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

The public dislikes identity politics big time. Right-winger Steve Bannon rejoices when Democrats try to sell themselves through special appeals to race, gender, ethnicity or sexual identity. When Democrats dwell on identity politics, “I got ’em,” he said. “(W)e can crush the Democrats.”

Identity politics is dated and even ignored by many in the groups being pandered to, as Kamala Harris’ low poll numbers among African Americans suggest. After the California politician attempted to smear Joe Biden as racially insensitive in the first Democratic debate, Biden’s high support among African Americans did not go down at all.

Blacks represent more than half of South Carolina’s Democratic primary voters. A recent Monmouth University poll puts Biden’s support among black Democrats at 51 percent! Harris is at 12 percent. Many of these voters were obviously looking past Harris’ opportunistic attack, but you wonder how many actually resented it.

Some of you may have been following a heated race for the Democratic nomination for district attorney in the Queens borough of New York. Tiffany Caban, a 31-year-old public defender of Puerto Rican origin, was pitted against Melinda Katz, a 25-year public servant in Queens. A former member of the state assembly and city council, Katz now serves as borough president.

The excitement came from it being a possible repeat of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s dethroning of a powerful Democrat in local politics. (Caban is a fellow democratic socialist.) Like former Rep. Joe Crowley, Katz was tarred as a member of the Democratic machine, portrayed as a hotbed of moneyed interests.

Looking at their records, however, both were exemplary liberals. Katz herself had challenged the Queens organization, pushing it in more progressive directions. And she remembered the struggle of breaking into what was then an “old boys’ club.” Anyhow, whether they won or lost, neither Katz nor Crowley deserved to be trashed as racially unenlightened.

There was little difference between Katz’s and Caban’s platforms. Katz had the endorsement of unions and prominent African American political leaders. One is Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, whom AOC has threatened with a candidate of her own.

Under the thin veil of these progressive politics stands raw identity politics. When the vote totals first came in, Caban had an insignificant lead, given the 3,400 absentee and other ballots to be counted. Nonetheless, she immediately claimed victory as follows: “They said I didn’t look like a district attorney.”

Oh? Who said that? Surely, Caban was aware that the attorney general of New York, a statewide elective office, is held by Letitia James, an African American woman who is a lot darker than she is.

Caban’s other identity thing was being a “queer Latina.” My guess is that the number of Queens Democrats who gave a rat’s tail that she is gay is minuscule. The election of an outwardly homosexual candidate might be notable in some places. New York City is not one of them.

And since when is “queer Latina” a qualification for office? By the way, if we all voted our color, Barack Obama would never have become president.

The recount showed Katz to be the winner of the primary. Some have asked whether her victory represents something of a backlash to identity politics. Crowley probably lost because he didn’t take AOC seriously. But Katz’s supporters may have been on the alert to avoid a repeat.

A scholarly report titled “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape” found political correctness, of which identity politics is a subcategory, to be widely unpopular. It is disliked by 82 percent of Asians, 87 percent of Hispanics, 79 percent of whites and about 75 percent of African Americans.

Identity politics is the enemy of Democrats. It’s time they dismissed its practitioners.

Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.