Thoughts on Identity Politics – Why the Woken Could Be Responsible for Trump’s Re-Election – Culture


Identity politics is becoming increasingly important. For political scientist Yascha Mounk, this poses great dangers – including for democracy.

Skin color, gender, sexual orientation: the characteristics of our identity are core topics of social debate today. Identity politics is intended to highlight privileges and grievances – and at the same time divides our society.

This is what Yascha Mounk, one of the most sought-after researchers on the crisis of liberal democracy, says. The German-American political scientist and podcaster (“The Good Fight”) polarizes with his plea for “supra-ideological freedom of speech”.

Trump and the Latinos

As a university lecturer in the USA, Yascha Mounk is very close to the developments that could possibly lead to Donald Trump’s re-election as US President. What is surprising is that the Republicans could also win majorities among the black and Latino populations in the coming election.


“Latinos for Trump”: Support for Trump among Latinos was already high in 2020 – the same can be expected this year.


Mounk is certain that this is due to the transformation of the Democratic Party into a party of the educated and wealthy. The concerns of the working class were exchanged for “wokeness” and identity politics.

Polarization on the rise

His newly published book “In the Age of Identity: The Rise of a Dangerous Idea” illuminates how the political zeitgeist of the left-liberal, well-off society increasingly loses sight of the needs of the worse-off and right-wing populist, anti-democratic parties gain power and influence.

“There is a common thread between these two concerns,” he says. In Europe, too, “woke” and liberal ideologies are to blame for the polarization and hatred of the elite.

“We’re losing something”

Mounk was born in Germany to Polish parents. He also defines his own identity through his Jewish origins. “I have no problem with that at all,” he says, because in our multicultural society diverse identities are an enrichment.

In the USA I suddenly found myself representing the largest group of perpetrators: the whites.

“But I think that if we in society focus so much on identity that we have to define ourselves by it, then we lose something.” People only show solidarity within their own group. This creates rifts and fuels conflicts.

Just no special treatment

Mounk often refers to his own experience. «When I grew up in Germany, I was the representative of the most important victim group. Then I emigrated to the USA and was suddenly a representative of the largest group of perpetrators: the white people.

However, he advocates equal treatment instead of special treatment – in both directions. He criticizes “the fact that in conversation we no longer meet as people, but as representatives of these identity groups.”

“Culture of Fear”

A “culture of fear” of saying something wrong has also emerged. Beyond social media, this also affects the perceived freedom of expression of people in one’s own circle of friends. They then took their frustration out at the ballot box.

Mounk lacks trust in institutions to decide on censorship. “We need a non-partisan and non-ideological commitment to freedom of speech, because no one knows what the political situation will be tomorrow and who will suddenly be silenced.”

SRF 1, great moment in philosophy, March 24, 2024, 11:00 a.m.

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