After Democrats gained a House majority, causing most of them to celebrate the biggest check on Donald Trump’s power since he was elected, a tiny faction in the progressive coalition reacted in anger and frustration, fixating on races that would have made the Democrats’ “wave” even bigger: Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Andrew Gillum in Florida, Stacey Abrams in Georgia.
In all of these Democratic defeats, there was an easily identifiable group that voted overwhelmingly against the progressive candidate: Republicans. But members of this progressive faction did not lash out at Republicans. They instead directed their ire at another group, defined by race and sex. They lashed out at white women.
And their vitriol surprised many observers. It reached its apotheosis in a graphic tweet by the actress Heather Matarazzo. “What the fuck is wrong with you fellow white ladies???!!!!!” she demanded. “May you choke to death on the white supremacist patriarchal cock.” It’s hard to conjure a more counterproductive approach to intersectional feminism than for one white woman to shout insults at other white women based on the results of a single Senate race fought between two men. Yet that tweet was inspired by this widely circulated CNN image:
The conversation that chart provoked captures the distortions of identity politics, as its presently practiced by an influential faction of progressives. Overall, white women in 2018 split their votes evenly between Republicans and Democrats. That Ted Cruz improved substantially on national partisan voting patterns is explained by the composition of the Texas electorate—not by any generalized trait of white womanhood in America.