It can also can get dangerously divisive. The poll numbers cited above obscure a vast racial division. African-Americans and Hispanics feel differently. Only 35 and 47 percent, respectively, oppose reparations. Such a stark racial or ethnic difference does not bode well for a political party which is trying to woo the votes of whites who supported Trump the last time out. It may prove hard to convince a low-paid Walmart worker that he or she owes something to the descendants of long-ago slaves. I pity the politicians who venture into that argument.

The problem for the Democrats at the moment is that much attention is being focused on political novelties such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who espouse both socialism and reparations. She is ferociously telegenic, infectiously likable and clearly inexhaustible. She is also political poison, the product of a freak election in a New York City district where the past has taken root — socialism and a lot of rot about the evils of capitalism. She cheered Amazon’s decision to forsake New York for friendlier climes, taking at least 25,000 jobs with it. (Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.) For a mere first termer, this is quite an accomplishment. It usually takes much more seniority to do this much damage.