Under the guise of being inclusive, lately voting for someone based on their identity has become more divisive and corrosive.

According to the Center for American Women in Politics, a Rutgers-based organization, we need more women in our Legislature. New Jersey ranks 25th in the nation for the number of women representatives in our Legislature.

Less than 10 years ago we were 10th in the nation. Should that matter to fair, open-minded voters who choose their candidates based on the issues? I sure hope not.

Voting for any candidate based on their race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation is childish at best and ignorantly bigoted at worst. Identity politics has overtaken the electoral process in both parties, but to a larger degree among Democrats. It's nothing new.

Through the last century as waves of immigrants from other countries settled here and became dominant in certain communities, many felt it was "their turn" to be represented in government. It happened mostly in bigger cities with the Irish, Italians, South Asian, East Asian, the Jewish population and African Americans.

There's no effort to my knowledge to keep anyone from any group from running for any office anywhere in the country. If any evidence to the contrary is presented or even suspected, it would undoubtedly be met with strong derision and resistance.

If more women want to run for office, there is nothing stopping them. To continue to count how many of this group or that group are represented in government and rank how high a certain state "scores" in this metric is childish and plays into more of the current divisive political climate.

At some point, someone has to stand up and say enough is enough and we judge candidates based on their credentials, not their identity. After all, isn't that the kind of leaders and representatives we want in politics, those that judge the facts and not what people look like.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis Malloy's own.

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