It is odd that the accusation of racial solidarity would hang over the African-American community in particular, as black voters have extensive experience voting for white candidates, while the reverse remains unusual. After two and a quarter centuries of voting exclusively for white presidential candidates, when allowed to vote at all, black Americans have finally had the chance to vote for another black American; amazingly, they stand accused of racialism.In historical reality, the black political tradition in America is deeply infused with pragmatism born of the necessity of being an oppressed minority. Black voters have always had to form coalitions with whites, and to accept small, often minuscule, progressive measures. Even the original, radical Republican Party of Lincoln did not propose abolition. Black voters leveraged their voting power, in the pockets where it existed, for small, symbolic victories like the invitation of Booker Washington to Theodore Roosevelt’s White House or for piecemeal measures to restrict lynching.That pragmatic tradition, which recognizes that white hostility circumscribes their power, remains alive today. Last month, the Journal’s news staff reported on the careful efforts of white Southern Democrats to hold together their delicate coalition of blacks and the small coterie of remaining white Democrats. The reporter found one quote that epitomizes black voting realism:
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