Don’t misunderstand. I’m firmly convinced that the progressive agenda championed by the Democrats is much better for African Americans, and for the nation as a whole, than the conservative agenda favored by Republicans. But I also believe that in politics, as in business, competition is good. Monopolies inevitably take their customers for granted.

And this, frankly, is what Democrats have been doing with black voters for decades. As far as African Americans are concerned, the only issue is whether they’ll turn out in substantial numbers for the midterm balloting. No one wonders how they’ll cast their votes…

What I am saying is that the Republicans have made no serious effort to appeal to black voters. Such an initiative would begin with an acknowledgement of the specific problems that African Americans face — including the legacy of centuries of oppression and discrimination — and a proffer of policies to address those problems. But this would contradict the GOP’s dogmatic stance that government should be severely limited in its ambition.