Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Real Basis of the Red Tribe/Blue Tribe Conflict

The real reason that the Red Tribers hate Ilhan Omar is not that she is from Somalia or a woman or a Muslim. Her status as a Somali Muslim doesn’t win her any points with many Republicans to be sure, but that’s not the real reason that they hate her. If she did a Dave Rubin and became a conservative, they’d love her. Prager U would make 1000 videos celebrating her, and she’d be a featured guest on every other episode of Hannity. What they don’t like is that she is a critic of the empire, particularly the Israeli component. Meanwhile,  MTG and Boebert assumed an anti-Israel stance, they would be booted from the GOP the next day.

The primary divide in US politics is not the “race/class/gender” paradigm that the left uses as an analytical lens (and that sectors of the far-right also adopt by implication). While these conflicts certainly exist, they are subordinated to an intra-elite conflict and submerged in a wider conflict that represents contending existential views, not to mention wider inter-civilizational conflicts. The main conflict in the US is between the declining traditional industrial capitalist elite and the rising digital capitalist elite, like the conflict between the declining aristocracy and rising bourgeoisie in the 19th century. Class conflict between the professional-managerial class and the traditional working to middle-class (upper proletariat) and petite bourgeoise also exists (the conflict over lockdowns and masks was a representation of this) and between the lower proletariat and lumpenproletariat and the capitalist class (or classes) generally. That’s why there are economic populists in both parties. But those are appendages to the intra-elite conflict (see Pareto’s arguments about elites and counter-elites).
On the ground level, the principal dividing line is not “race/class/gender” either (although these exist as well), but education level, i.e. those who have been through the university system and share the views of the rising Brahmin class and those who don’t. The Red Tribe favors the traditional American civil religion and (sometimes) traditional religion itself, and the Blue Tribe favors “citizen of the world” cosmopolitanism/globalism, “progressive religion” and/or Enlightenment rationalism.
It’s important to recognize that figures like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Louie Gohmert are a fringe subset of the Republicans just like AOC and Omar are fringe figures among the Democrats. The two parties and their house media like to portray these kinds of figures as representative of “the other side” but that’s not how it works at all. While there is a “Christian nationalist” element to the Republicans, and a white nationalist element on the margins, for the most part, Republicans are willing to embrace minorities who share Republican politics, even someone like Caitlin Jenner. “One of the good ones” and all that. And most Democrats are fine with economic conservatives and foreign policy hawks (e.g. Liz Cheney, John Bolton, and, nowadays, even George W. Bush himself) with liberal social views.

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