Bryce Edward’s Guardian Column, Culture Wars and why Sanders vs Warren is the Class vs Identity Politics schism on the Left


A resurgent Bernie Sanders is terrifying the Democratic establishment and has seen Warren lash out and attempt to smear Bernie as a sexist.

This sexism smear is as outrageous as it is desperate, because Bernie was a feminist well before Warren was a Republican.

Sanders vs Warren represents the great Class vs Identity Politics schism on the Left and those woke Identity Politics activists won’t tolerate the patriarchy robbing them of another female candidate for President so expect the name calling and tribal social media lynch mobs that make them about as a popular as Donald Trump at a Queer Intersectionist Feminist Folk Festival to erupt if Bernie wins.

These woke Identity Politics dynamics have managed to alienate working class voters on social media to such an extent that they were major factors in the Trump win, the Brexit win, the Scott Morrison win and the Corbyn loss so if Sanders can beat Warren and then beat Trump, Class Left solidarity will have retaken the philosophical high ground on the Left.

This dynamic of woke Identity Politics activism alienating working class voters is one Bryce Edwards notes in his latest Guardian column, where he highlights that because there is so little in way of real policy difference between National and Labour, National will fight the next election using culture wars instead…

TDB Recommends

So where can it differentiate? National increasingly relies on stoking “culture wars” and law and order. It is these fertile new hunting grounds that give Simon Bridges his best chance of painting Ardern and her colleagues as out of touch with mainstream New Zealand.

Culture wars are concerned with debates relating to ethnicity, gender, sexuality, human rights, discrimination, free speech and civil liberties. Elements of the political left – especially in the Labour and Green parties – are increasingly associated with campaigns in these areas, and often their stances are not shared by many mainstream voters.

…hilariously for daring to point out that many woke Identity Politics activists are alienating more voters than they are winning over, Bryce has been immediately decried on Twitter by those very same alienating woke Identity Politics activists.

You can’t make this shit up.

I think the identity politics left in NZ are more focused on cancelling voters than recruiting them.

If your starting point as a woke Identity Politics activist is that all men are rapists, all white people racist, Trans Rights over all other rights always, if a woman says it then it must be true and anyone standing up for free speech is a Nazi, then you might want to sit this next election out because that message is pushing people away from our progressive  cause, not towards it, as this excellent piece in The Atlantic points out…

The Twitter Electorate Isn’t the Real Electorate

Social media is distorting our sense of mainstream opinion.

Does Twitter matter? The temptation is to say no. Its user base is small compared with Facebook—321 million monthly active users versus more than 2 billion—and a quick glance at the trending topics reveals its fractious, claustrophobic atmosphere. Yet as one dead fox proves, it does matter: On December 26, a single tweet by a British lawyer with 178,000 followers, announcing that he had killed a fox with a baseball bat, made the front pages of two major newspapers.

Yes, it was a quiet news day. But Twitter has become journalists’ easiest and most reliable source of cor-blimey (or OMG, to American readers) stories, because all of human life is there, and it’s searchable. It is also the world’s wire service: Just look at Donald Trump, who drops his unfiltered thoughts straight onto Twitter, confident that they will be picked up by journalists. For anyone interested in politics, it is the closest thing to a global community center, or a small-ads section—the virtual room where it happens.

All of this gives the social network—and its most active users—outsize power to shape the political conversation. Its influence can be seen in contests currently under way in the United States and Britain: the race to become the Democrats’ presidential nominee, and the struggle to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. Both risk being distorted by what we might call the “Twitter Primary.”

British tweeters skew left and toward remaining in the European Union, which reflects their demographic makeup. “On average social media users are younger and better educated than non-users,” wrote the researchers Jonathan Mellon and Christopher Prosser in 2017. Users were also more likely to live in cities, “particularly wealthier areas with younger populations.” This phenomenon has been more thoroughly studied in the U.S., where The New York Times has reported that “the views of Democrats on social media often bear little resemblance to those of the wider Democratic electorate.” Active political tweeters in America were whiter, more left wing, more likely to be college educated, and less likely to say that “political correctness was a problem” than primary voters as a whole. Given the faux-democratic promise of social media, it is ironic that it has created a new establishment with roughly the same tight demographic boundaries as the old one.

…The real danger of identity politics over class politics, as we have seen in the UK election and with Trump, is that when white poor men start seeing themselves not as a class but as an identity, the Right win.

In the NZ context that means 500 retweets by Wellington Twitteratti = alienation not winning. If it’s popular on The Spinoff, it’s poison at the ballot box and if Action Station have a petition on it, avoid it like the fucking plague.

The woke won’t change their rage politics of alienation, they can’t. Social media has given them a sense of power they’ve never held before, an ocean of the bullied who can now bully will never hand over their weapons, so the Left need to ignore the Woke,  stop alienating white working class men and actually try to win them over.

Take white male privilege. Why would men want to be told they have it (when their suicide rates, mental health issues, low life expectancy, violence and murder rate is so high) and why would they willingly hand it over if they did have it?

Isn’t white male privilege being treated with respect? Not getting hassled by the cops? Getting paid properly?

The Woke scream for white men to hand over that privilege, but why would any white male look at the list and agree to be paid less, be treated poorly by the cops or accept sub-standard service?

Wouldn’t it be better to say that we want to expand white male privilege to everyone? Instead of attacking those Men, hold up their agency as the right every citizen should enjoy.

Expanding the franchise of democratic agency is something everyone can get behind including those it currently benefits because removing my agency so people who despise me can have more isn’t an easy political sale.

Fellow citizens shouldn’t fear the Left, the 1% should.

If Sanders can re-establish Class as the foundation for the Left, we can pull back working class voters from realigning with the Right and there might be a chance to avoid the madness of right wing Demagogues.

If Sanders loses, we are doomed to right wing populism. There’s more at stake this election than America gaining its first woman president, it could lose its soul.



  1. Well before Warren can move on she can no longer use words she does not understand the meanings of like how does sexism and Sanders even go together?

  2. Because of the damned impeachment business, both Bernie and Liz Warren have to leave off their campaigning anyway, as Senators, and instead become part of the trial.

    Bernie seems to be saying, “Don’t listen to Trump! He is trying to divide us! We will not be divided.”

    (Trump was tweeting madly about the election being rigged against poor Bernie… Since when was t-rump so solicitous about either Bernie’s election chances or a rigged election?)

  3. Berie Sanders is a true socialist and no-one else in the democratic party can claim that mantle.

    it seems ironic that the democatic party likes to destroy their own strong candidates and deserves the mattle of “eating their own”

    Stange Political party there.

  4. if Sanders can beat Warren and then beat Trump, Class Left solidarity will have retaken the philosophical high ground on the Left.


    It’s very disappointing that he has to be locked away in the Senate, over something that should have been wrapped up long ago (impeach), when he would prefer to be out there talking to people. It seems so unfair – other candidates can yabber away all they want during that time, and also, Bernie won’t be out there to defend himself if attacks are made against him.

  5. The class v wokedom is such a problem precisely because it’s a class issue. As it the quote from the Atlantic points out twitter users are better (or more accurately, more) educated and are part of the middle class. The traditional left is working class but middle class educated people look down on the working class. Since it’s a mortal sin to be racist, homophobic or sexist the only people left to for the middle class to hate are what used to be called “white trash” so this hatred is even more pronounced than it used to be.

    We have to be really clear that this is class hatred at work here – even though it makes more sense to hate the super rich, the middle class have always directed their hatred downwards.

    Added to this, the main political parties have reverted to a conservative and a liberal party – like it used to be before the labour movement created it’s own political party. As happened the first time around it will require a people’s movement to come off the streets and into parliament before we get real change.

  6. ” … because there is so little in way of real policy difference between National and Labour, National will fight the next election using culture wars instead…”

    If National were smart that’s what they’d be focusing on. But judging from what we’ve seen during the last year, they don’t seem to have worked that out. One minute Bridges is vowing to slash taxes and “red tape”. Next he’s threatening to cut off beneficiaries who aren’t vaccinated … People who hate taxes and regulations have always voted National or ACT, so it’s surprising they haven’t focused on putting the boot into political correctness and identity politics.

  7. agree about identity politics but Warren the establishment? Just because she said Sanders said what let’s be honest we’ve all wondered post 2016? Absolutely not, Warren created the consumer protection bureau, and is the most progressive Democrat in the Senate as Bernie is an independent neither Bernie nor Warren would be very interesting or progressive in NZ politics considering Sanders is no bloody progressive hero he voted to dump Vermonts nuclear waste in poor Latinos communities in Texas , voted several times to fund the Iraq war (yes he voted against the war but he voted to bloody fund it over and over again) his votes in favor of private prisons and up until recently has voted against most gun control measures (he has to pander to Vermont the most rural and oldest population in the union and they love guns) he’d be a left wing member of NZ first here, he wouldn’t be labour of green. AOC considers herself in alignment with our prime minister ! The despute between Warren and Sanders literally only helps the establishment which both of them have spent their careers fighting.

    As for there being no policy difference between labour and national, most Lefty’s around the world would trade their arm and legs for what this govt is achieving, our prime minister would be on the hard left of American politics, this govt has a lot of work to do but the idea that a govt that’s increasing funding to our state services, rebuilding school infrastructure, massively increasing funding to mental health departments and built more state houses than any govt since Kirk is the same as the Tories is infuriating, part of me hopes national wins so you can see the difference between the parties.

    None of this will matter in about 5 years when all the jobs even doctors will be replaced by machines and ai and noone on the left or right has a plan for the mass unemployment not the left nor the right as each side is still clinging to philosophies from the 19th and 20th century the left really needs to ditch the woke but also these grumpy hardcore left wing purists who lose as many votes as the woke and have just as much in common with working class voters as the woke.

  8. Thinking about the us, NZ US, while the fairground tinkles on in the other 4 eyes (making an indecent spectacle of themselves), I note from Bryce Edwards Guardian piece linked above, a confirmation of what we lefties have been afraid of in this election year:

    Nor is the government likely to push any significant new leftwing economic reforms, or even tax hikes, giving National little to scare swing voters with. And there’s no way that National can hope to best Ardern in terms of a campaign based on leadership and personality.

Comments are closed.