We are all guilty of it. In fact, “identity politics” should be called just politics, period. We all belong to prescriptive or ascriptive groups. Our membership in those groups (whether voluntary, involuntary, or quasi-voluntary) gives us material interests. Sometimes we reject those material interests in favor of the interests of other groups whom we consider more worthy; sometimes we don’t. We always, however, recognize that there are situations where the interests of our favored groups will be sacrificed, or at least attenuated. Maybe we’ll lose a political battle, maybe we’ll accept a banked favor by sacrificing now to get more later.
Since sometimes we know our favored groups will lose, symbolic actions matter, at least when those action incur political costs to the person who makes them. It is a way of signalling that you will not be forgotten. “I can’t give you what you want immediately, but I am willing to incur costs to show my support. I am making a down payment on future support for your agenda, if you support me now.”
Which I why that I hope Hillary Clinton does not pick Tim Kaine ... oh, dammit!