Get Away from Victim Politics. But How?

Nancy Pelosi hasn’t quite thought this through just yet:

“I think that women, we have to get away from the politics of victim. This is about you go out there and you fight,” she said. “I think that what Hillary Clinton did was tremendous for the country. She has kicked open many doors, which now we have to bring many more women through, millions more women through. My being speaker of the House was breaking the marble ceiling in Congress, which is hard. Sen. Clinton [had] a bigger challenge to run for president of the United States. What we have to do now is say, we have to translate that not just for individuals, but for all women.”

But ultimately any political party or movement which wants to bond people to the government relies on “victim politics” to build its base.  It finds “victims,” then tells them that their solution is the government, then gets into power and activates the government to solve their problem (well, maybe.)  It’s been a pretty successful formula for the Democrats for a long time; it’s a very subtle form of patronage.

But now Pelosi is advocating a more proactive strategy.  That produces (or encourages) people who are self-starters and initiative-takers, which in turn reduces the need for the kind of “help” that victims need.  That in turn breaks the whole system the party has worked so hard to set up.  That’s the main reason why the Democrats, with everything they had going for them between the New Deal and the Great Society, never were able to “finish the job” and make their dominance of American politics permanent.

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