Why was the Republican Party formed? In large part, the original Republicans and the GOP's first president, Abraham Lincoln, were for abolition. It's odd to think that the party of small government first became famous as the party which held the union together and forced states to end slavery, but such is history.
But somewhere along the way, the party of Lincoln lost the support o the people they were founded to set free, until we now play identity politics and over 90% of blacks vote for the party that once supported segregation in the South. Why? Perhaps that first move with a strong federal government led the black community to expect more from the federal government than the Republicans ever showed again. Perhaps they were fed up with Republicans supporting local control when local control in the South meant subpar schools and separate bathrooms. Or perhaps they fled to the Democratic Party under FDR like so many did and just decided never to come back.
Whatever the case, race seems to be one of the factors everyone wants to talk about in this presidential race. Usually it's about how only redneck whites stand between Obama and history. But I think there's much more to it than that. With a country split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, if Obama loses, it's going to be in part the white Democrats who are the rednecks, not the racist Republicans, who put McCain over the top. (Of course, few people want to talk about the fact that McCain may have genuine appeal to moderate Democrats that has nothing to do with race.) Also, it seems impolitic to discuss the fact that some blacks will vote for Obama because he is black, which is no less racist. And the one thing you won't hear anyone talk about, except maybe Ward Connerly, is the fact that Obama is every bit as white as he is black, but our check-one-box-only mentality is a can of worms unto itself.
The real point is when did we become so divided by identity politics? Why can't each person make decisions without influence from the group? Why did it come to light during the Supreme Court affirmative action case that a University of Michigan official asked if Cubans count as Hispanic, because, "Don't they vote Republican?"
Heaven knows I don't have answers, but it seems to me that if we continue to shy away from the questions we will never get anywhere.
[size="3"](This blog was largely inspired by the Sept. 29, 2008 article "A Ticklish Position" in National Review.)
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