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A big and healthy coalition

A multiracial GOP could lead to less rancorous politics

A voter casts a ballot on Feb. 9, 2023, in Milwaukee. Associated Press/Photo by Morry Gash

A big and healthy coalition
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A series of polls this fall have sent shockwaves through political punditry. In a number of them, former President Donald Trump garners over 40 percent of the Latino vote and around 20 percent support among African Americans. These numbers include voters in crucial battleground states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. Such numbers would mark the most a Republican presidential candidate has received among Latino voters since 2004 and the most support among African Americans in over 50 years.

Nor need we lean only on polls this year to see a trend toward the GOP in general and Trump in particular among minority voters. Republicans in 2020 and in 2022 approached 40 percent of the Latino vote. African-American support was much smaller—eight percent for former President Trump in 2020—but still trending upward from the GOP’s lowest points over the last 15 years.

It will take more elections to see if these moves toward the GOP stick and even grow. They do put forward the possibility of both political parties including a significant multiracial component to their membership. That would be a good development for our politics.

I do not mean it would be good because more GOP voters would enhance the Republican Party’s electoral prospects. Instead, I mean that two multiracial parties in competition might mitigate and alleviate some pernicious tendencies currently playing out in our system.

First, it might undermine the hold the most racially incendiary portions of the left have on the Democratic Party. Many on the left view America through the lens of a kind of cultural Marxism wherein an oppressor class preys on an oppressed one. Going beyond the original economic divisions for this view, the current left sees oppression along the lines of religion (Christian Nationalism), sex, sexuality, and, of course, race.

A genuinely multiracial GOP could force some rethinking on this front. It would be harder to claim a Republican victory is a result of white supremacy or to smear policies put forward by conservatives as assumed discrimination. For African-American and Latino leaders and voters would be among those elected to office as Republicans and those formulating as well as articulating those policies. It therefore might tamp down the hysterics and force the left to engage better on the level of substance. Many of these voters also hold more traditional religious and social views, making them allies deeply needed against the encroachments of a secularizing, progressive dogma.

Second, this turn might help the GOP sideline the uglier portions of the alt-right. It is wrong to smear the Republican Party and the conservative movement generally as racist. But there are pockets, especially among the very online, who peddle such views and characterizations. They tend to replace Christianity with an identity based more in cultural and ethnic heritage, often to the denigration of others.

A more diverse Republican Party, competing with a diverse Democratic Party, could play out the wisdom of the American Founders.

A GOP with a truly racially diverse coalition would need to keep Latino and African-American voters within the fold, thus leaving no room for racial animus. It also should help the right to better understand the views and concerns of these men and women, leading to policies more attuned to their interests. A similar change is happening in the GOP with regard to working class voters, whose greater move into the party is resulting in changed priorities and perspectives.

Taken together, a more diverse Republican Party, competing with a diverse Democratic Party, could play out the wisdom of the American Founders. In Federalist 10, James Madison wrote that a large republic worked better than a small one in large part because it forced voters to join broad, diverse political coalitions in order to obtain an electoral majority. The broadness of the coalition would have a variety of beneficial effects. It would guard against oppression, since the majority itself was comprised of minorities of different kinds who might see risk in going after another group lest they be the next target. Thus, laws capable of passing most likely would concern the common good, not particular interests. Moreover, the interaction among different people could build mutual understanding and even a citizenship-based friendship between Americans, again helping our politics focus more on the common good.

Ultimately, a move toward multiracial parties won’t solve all our problems. The so-called “diploma divide” continues to widen, with college-educated voters increasingly drifting into the Democratic Party and those without a college degree flocking to the Republican fold. The parties also seem to be splitting along a religious versus secular line, with even the traditionally Christian GOP expanding its post-religious voter base.

Moreover, any of these political unions will be temporal and tenuous. We experience the fullest union across racial and ethnic lines through Christ in His Church. We should not lose sight of that. For on earth we look forward to the reality of eternity pictured in Revelation 5:9-10. There, we see a glimpse of Heaven where the words are sung to the risen Christ,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”

Still, these polls and recent elections point toward hope for the good of the political community in which God has placed us. We can pray that this hope will be realized in our time.

Adam M. Carrington

Adam M. Carrington is an associate professor of politics at Hillsdale College, where he holds the William and Patricia LaMothe Chair in the U.S. Constitution. His book on the jurisprudence of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field was published by Lexington Books in 2017. In addition to scholarly publications, his writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Examiner, and National Review.

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