An interesting case of identity politics is playing out in New York's new 13th Congressional District. A Dominican-American state senator is threatening longtime Rep. Charles Rangel in the district, which is now majority Hispanic.
Identity, whether it be be race, religious, color or creed absolutely matters in politics. Especially local politics where the demographics of a city or district play a major role in the viablity of a candidate. If the constituency perceives the candidate's cultural identity as either representing or not representing 'the people,' that can play a key role in the election.