I became a Democrat because the defining issue of my formative years was race. In fact, it was almost the exclusive issue. It is hard to believe now, but when there was even a possibility that an African-American might turn up, back then the first reaction of the administrators was to close the swimming pool. It might sound surreal, but that actually happened when I was an undergrad. My understanding was that black people were getting a bad deal, and it gave my already existing interest in politics a sharp point on which to focus. My views and my party affiliation have remained the same ever since.