In an ideal world, political parties would be about different approaches to governing. Yet too often in our nation’s history they’ve been about tribalism along regional, economic and, most divisively, racial lines.
Then came 2020: This Election Day, President Trump garnered the highest percentage of non-white votes for a Republican presidential candidate in 60 years. This movement toward balance should be celebrated by all, but not surprisingly, that is not what is happening.
Take MSNBC anchor Joy Reid, who claims that the election showed a “great amount of racism, anti-blackness and anti-wokeness.” Or The New York Times’ Charles Blow, who somehow sees this election as confirming the power of the “White Patriarchy.”
Writer Bree Newsome Bass conceded that some white voters had chosen Joe Biden but voted Republican down ballot to preserve “white rule.”
These people view everything through a racial lens. They’re convinced Trump is a racist and regard his broad support — half the country voted for him — as proof that the nation, as a whole, is likewise hopelessly racist.
A kind way to describe such reactions would be “unhinged.” Another way: terrified.
Between 2004 and 2016, black men and women gave between 88 percent and 95 percent of their votes to the Democratic candidate for president. This year, Trump won 18 percent of the vote among black men — a staggering number for a Republican.
To put that in visceral terms, of every six black men who voted, one voted for Trump.
He also made significant gains with Hispanic voters and even Muslim voters.
Trump has had significant accomplishments as president — halting the liberal, activist tilt of the courts, standing up to China, striking peace treaties that offer fresh hope in the Middle East peace, firing up the economy — but perhaps none is as important or has more far-reaching implications than his transformation of the GOP into a multiracial party. For all of his high principles and good hair, the last Republican candidate for president, Mitt Romney, could never have dreamed of such success among non-white voters.
So why are so many progressive and black intellectual elites so upset about the American political parties achieving so much more racial balance?
Some cynics might see it as simply sour grapes over the left’s loss of power and influence. Democrats assumed only they could speak for minorities, who it now turns out have their own ideas. But it also reflects a fundamental difference between how Americans view race and racism.
Over the past few decades, progressives have insisted racism is built into the system and the system must change (in progressive ways) to curb it — though it’s never been clear if they think it can ever be satisfactorily defeated. Those on the right, meanwhile, view racism as an issue of individuals holding irrational beliefs regarding minorities, which can be organically overcome.
In the 2020 election, we now see that millions of minority voters rejected the idea that their votes should be bound by identity politics, or as Joe Biden put it, that if you don’t vote Democratic, you ain’t black. That remark didn’t come out of nowhere. He was simply saying out loud what many on the left have long believed.
Fact is, Trump made the most direct appeal to non-white voters we’ve seen from a Republican in most of our lifetimes. And it worked.
This is also good news for America, and especially minorities. We now have a GOP that will be eager to maintain these gains, and a Democratic Party that can no longer take minority votes for granted.
And we can now stop believing the color of a person’s skin gives us certainty about their political affiliation — and that in and of itself strikes a blow at racism. It’s exciting: Individuals can be treated as individuals, rather than lumped into political boxes based on their racial group.
Some may find it ironic that it was Trump, of all people, who’s most responsible for this. But what matters is that the body politic has landed in a better, more equal and more promising place.
May our parties now be about politics, not racial division, and may every American feel free, regardless of skin color, to embrace the party of their choice.
David Marcus is The Federalist’s New York correspondent. Twitter: @BlueboxDave
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