Howard Dean recently ‘accused’ the Republican Party of being primarily a ‘white Christian party’. Obviously, anything that Dean says is bound to be scrutinized closely in memory of his presidential campaign screams. Looking at his statement objectively, he wasn’t far from the truth. The Republican Party is 74% White Christian. Dean was stating the obvious. But did he mean that? If he implied that ‘white Christians’ equaled ‘intolerant fundamentalists’, then any tolerant liberal white Christian is likely to take offense but also might make the other kind think twice (at least the rational ones).
This incident reminds me of the accusations often flung at the BJP. Congress, the Left, and other regional parties call BJP a ‘Hindu party’ (though they call it communal instead; politically correct, you see). Now, aren’t the implications similar to that of Dean’s outpouring? Of course, by calling a party communal, it is merely implied that it is a Hindu communal party. I have written earlier on how Hindus are not a cohesive voting bloc and political parties often exploit this by pandering to other communities who in fact, do vote enmasse. In conclusion, it may be okay for a party to be labeled as a pro-minority but it is political hara-kiri to commit oneself to the cause of the majority. Ain’t this paradoxical to workings of a democracy i.e. majority wins? Of course, the Greeks never thought about coalition politics when they crafted democracy.