Campaigns/Elections

Post-Racial Obama

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From an LA Times piece by Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom regarding race in the presidential election: 

In a remarkable number of states, according to exit polls, Obama won more than 40% of the white male vote. Those states included Clinton's home state of New York (where Obama got 43%), Arizona (45%) and, most remarkably, the Deep South state of Georgia (46%). Indeed, in Connecticut, New Mexico, Illinois, California, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, his support from white men was in the quite amazing range of 56% to 64%….

The Voting Rights Act, 43 years after its original passage, still calls for the creation of majority-minority districts in order to encourage the election of nonwhite candidates. In 1995, awaiting a Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of racially gerrymandered districts to ensure minority office-holding, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund's Ted Shaw warned: "If we lose these cases, the Congressional Black Caucus will be meeting in the back seat of a taxicab." Rep. Mel Watt, a black Democrat from North Carolina, took the point a step further. "Without these districts," he said, "you're not going to have minority representation in Congress. It's just that simple."

But even then, it wasn't "just that simple." And indeed, when the court struck down the Georgia race-based district in question as unconstitutional—a geographical "monstrosity," said the court—African Americans still did very well in the newly configured districts. The Congressional Black Caucus does not meet in a taxicab; it is stronger than ever….

The enormous and heartening appeal of Obama among white voters certainly suggests that is the case. Whites refusing to vote for black candidates has finally gone the way of segregated water fountains. Or so we hope.

Whole thing there.

Hat tip: Manny Klausner

Update: Dave Weigel showed how "the Wilder Effect"–the notion that whites tell pollsters they'll vote for blacks in higher numbers than they actually do–was finished by 2007. 

NEXT: Don't Capitulate to Tragedy

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  1. What? The country isn’t full of racists? White people can look past a minority’s race? I am shocked I tell you, shocked! I have it on good authority (joe’s) that whites are racist, especially in the South!

    Disclosure: I am white, and there is no way in hell I would vote for Obama (I would even vote for McCain or Clinton first), but it has nothing to do with his race. It has to do with his policies, and the fact that he is least likely to face opposition from Congress.

  2. I think this is somewhat old news. Early in 2000, I (and a lot of other white folks melanin-challenged people) were hoping Colin Powell would become president.

  3. Then again, if an Islamic Frenchman ran against Hilary Clinton, he’d probably get the majority of the white male vote.

  4. Whites refusing to vote for black candidates has finally gone the way of segregated water fountains. Or so we hope.

    Impossible. Whites are racist.

  5. The “news” that, for some men, gender trumps race in presidential politics is hardly evidence of (even an incremental) victory over racism.

  6. Holy crap! Uhura Obama is black?!?

  7. Impossible. Whites are racist.

  8. The “news” that, for some men, gender trumps race in presidential politics is hardly evidence of (even an incremental) victory over racism.

    Too stupid to rebut.

  9. Did someone come over from Femministing or Pandagon?

  10. Nah, they’re too busy with this.

    Women Aren’t Very Bright

  11. Oh left-wing feminist blogs, you never cease to amuse!

    The funniest (most depressing?) posts are when they start talking about economics.

  12. perhaps less qualified to be a “woman” than some grossly inaccurate caricature of Asian/European/”exotic” women

    OMG this is the best. These broads are so sublimely insecure that is boggles the mind. Yes, I am only with my Spanish girlfriend because she is exotic. Morons.

    Stop entertaining me by linking to Feministing, Nutrasweet.

  13. The funniest (most depressing?) posts are when they start talking about economics.

    I chimed in on a Pandagon thread that decried the lack of heroic women in movies. I pointed out that if they sold, Hollywood would produce them by the gross. But I was informed that there was a “Old Boys Network” in TinselTown that keeps them from being produced.

    I’m a sexist pig.

  14. Your reverse psychology will never work on me, Epi.

  15. Christ almighty, I love Feministing so much.

    Here’s “libdevil” commenting on how Tennessee is considering whether to make paternity tests mandatory for every baby born in the state.

    “It’s easy enough to see the appeal of this one. A man has a right to know when another man is using his property, especially when that property is damaged.”

  16. Lack of heroic women in movies?

    There was a whole ton of them at one time: Resident Evil (all of them), Aeon Flux, ultraviolet, etc.

    None did well which is a shame cause the Aeon Flux shorts were great.

  17. Yeah, the push for paternity testing COULDN’T possibly have anything to do with the vast number of paternity fraud cases could it? Nah, guess I’m a sexist pig too.

  18. To the two morons that insist “whites are racist”, many blacks I have met are closet racists while a large number make no attempt to hide their racist thoughts and behavior.

    When the blacks show they can vote AGAINST a black man then I’ll beleive they are not racist.

  19. Your reverse psychology will never work on me, Epi.

    How about Jedi mind tricks?

  20. I know which droids I’m looking for.

  21. Indeed, in Connecticut, New Mexico, Illinois, California, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, his support from white men was in the quite amazing range of 56% to 64%…. (etc.)

    That’s a tad misleading. As the article (down in the ninth paragraph) points out:

    The numbers above, of course, do not reflect the entire American electorate. These primaries have been held mostly among Democratic voters,

    So (leaving out the effect of the race factor among Republicans) Obama actually has the support of half to two-thirds of whatever percentage of white men voted in the Democratic primary. That would be down around 25% to 35% of “white men.”

    Otherwise, the election’s over.

  22. You will take me to Jabba now.

    You serve your master well.

  23. Rep. Mel Watt, a black Democrat from North Carolina, took the point a step further. “Without these districts,” he said, “you’re not going to have minority representation in Congress. It’s just that simple.”

    It’s Dirty Little Secret time.
    The GOP loves minority-majority districting.
    So do the minority incumbents who represent those districts.

    Just sayin’.

  24. Lose 10 pounds. He’ll probably come around.

    Maybe a blowjob or some anal, or a threesome with your cuter-than-you friend.

    Hey, if we want to get stereotypical and obnoxious…

  25. “Whites” aren’t racist.

    Specific individuals are racist.

    You tools upthread just can’t help but think of everything in collective terms, can you?

  26. Many of the racist votes will be dead within 10-15 years. Old people dying has done more to eliminate racism even in the face of affirmative action which creates more.

    If you want more minority candidates to win change their platform to something other than European Socialism and scratch the racist and sexist preferences. If they based affirmative action on income they would pick up many overnight.

    The main reason Obama is so popular is because he is running as just a candidate, not the [fill in the blank] candidate. He is not trying to be a novelty or niche candidate.

  27. Yet more evidence of their thesis: the abandonment of the Southern Strategy by the Republicans.

    It was completely absent from Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns – and with Rove running his campaigns, you know they would have used it if they’d thought it would help them. Instead, they hunted around for black officeholders to put on the stage at the conventions.

    There has certainly been a sea change in the electorate.

  28. Wait,

    joe, are you saying that claiming a group defined on race is racist is a racist statement? Damn…so racism has to do with using race to group people. =/;^)

    What will the Ectoomorphs do when they no longer have skin color to hide behind?

  29. i want to see a tv show where we can get some of the top minds from feministing and freerepublic together to discuss [read: scream] the issues [read: total fucking nonsense] in a completely free-form format [read: chaotic and filled with jello shots].

    it’d be like icing in a zip-loc bag – squishy, sweet and ultimately bad for your health.

  30. joe, are you saying that claiming a group defined on race is racist is a racist statement? Damn…so racism has to do with using race to group people. =/;^)

    The best racist statement I ever read: “Minorities are much more racist than white people; that’s why we’re better than them.”

  31. dhex, your idea would be great, if only the feministing chicks were hot.

    So forget it.

  32. From Strangers With Candy:

    “Yeah, the only thing we hate more than racists are spics.”

  33. Are Reason blog threads really the best place to comment on the silliness one can find of political extremists sites?

  34. joe sez:

    You tools upthread just can’t help but think of everything in collective terms, can you?

    Irony meter pegs out. Must recalibrate. 😉

    There was a whole ton of them at one time: Resident Evil (all of them), Aeon Flux, ultraviolet, etc.

    All of which came out within the last few years, so this isn’t exactly a bygone era in Hollywood.

  35. Yes, it is. Pandagon/Femministing like to always post about Freepers, so they’re fair game.

  36. My personal favorite from Pandagon was when one commenter said on a thread about Castro, “They say America has a strong economy. But what has this “strong economy” gotten us? Nothing”. I’ll try to find it.

  37. Are Reason blog threads really the best place to comment on the silliness one can find of political extremists sites?

    yes.

    but you would watch that show, wouldn’t you?

    what if it was in front of a live studio audience? comprised entirely of commenters on both sides?

    i know you’d watch it.

    i do feel badly for all the future deaths caused by the resulting drinking game. (in retrospect “drink every time someone says something stupid” is far too general a rule and was asking for trouble.)

  38. So how has Obama, clearly a pure Ectomorph, done among the Mesomorph or Endomorph constituencies?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatotype

  39. joe’s just irked that you guys are picking on a lefty blog. If it was some nutty right wing blog, you wouldn’t hear a peep from him about it.

  40. Nutrasweet, you really must stop linking there. It’s like Jesus woke up one day with Seth MacFarlane’s sense of humor and created that site just for me.

  41. In all fairness even joe wouldn’t be “progressive” enough for those blogs.

  42. dhex, of course I would watch. How could I look away?

    The drinking rule would have to be “drink when they stop shouting”.

  43. what about drink when someone cries?

  44. well, in one sense at least feministing has a reason to exist, as it were, whereas free republic exists only to make me laugh on rainy days. both crowds could probably use less time up on the cross, of course, as a matter of general mental health.

    i do think the audience filled with comment posters from both sides is key because the amount of violence would be punctuated by the occasional whirlwind romance that breaks all the rules.

    at least that’s how it works in my head

  45. Epi,

    Never. Besides, it just writes itself…

    The patriarchy has effectively taught women that sexual violence is the norm; it has practically been defined out of existance. Now men are free to rape and assault with reckless abandon and no fear of repurcussions!

    Posted by: SarahMC

    She’s one of their hitmen, sorry “hitpersons.” Can you imagine walking around with this paranoid world-view? If you did a find and replace on “the patriarchy” and changed it to “telepathic squid-elephants from Ganymede” they’d sound like the plain-old paranoid schizophrenics they are…

    And as for criticizing the website for what their commentators say, Feministing doesn’t get a pass. The posters regularly step in and argue with anyone not toeing the line and get the ban hammer out when confronted.

  46. I’m free to rape and assault with reckless abandon and no fear of repercussions?

    WTF didn’t you tell me before, Nutrasweet? I want to get my pillage on.

  47. Hmm, lets try this SugarFree:

    The patriarchy International Jewry has effectively taught women gentiles that sexual violence is the norm; it has practically been defined out of existance. Now men jews are free to rape and assault take over the world with reckless abandon and no fear of repurcussions!

  48. and changed it to “telepathic squid-elephants from Ganymede”

    Wait, are you talking about the Fithp?

  49. I suspect, but admit I can’t prove, that Obama’s success at the polls may only be signaling America’s acceptance of light-skinned African Americans.

  50. SugarFree –
    When I read what you post from the comments over at Feministing, I always have this sensation of “OMG, do I actually know the person commenting?” And then when I realize that’s unlikely, I think “Holy ****, there are that many more of them?!”

  51. Bags | March 3, 2008, 11:24am | #

    joe’s just irked that you guys are picking on a lefty blog. If it was some nutty right wing blog, you wouldn’t hear a peep from him about it.

    They did “pick on” a right-wing blog, genius. Free Republic. Sheesh!

  52. J sub D

    “I’m a sexist pig.”

    So, apparently, am I.

    That doesn”t change the truth.

  53. Oh, yeah, Obama.

    I think there is a not-insignificant number of people who want to vote for him just to prove, to themselves, to the country, to whoever, just how totally not-racist they are, and how totally not-racist America is.

    See, there can’t be any reason to worry about racial injustice, if Barack Obama can win an election. And I can’t possibly be prejudiced if I voted for Barack Obama.

    The Therstroms were smart and appropriately cautious in limiting their observations about cultural change to electoral politics.

  54. I think it signals black politicians are moving beyond racial politics and into the mainstream. It started with Doug Wilder and ends with Obama.

    Other ethnic groups have gone through this, too. Think of Al Smith, then think of John Kennedy.

  55. “You . . . just can’t help but think of everything in collective terms, can you?”

  56. Egads, a Feministing poster offering a few semi-kind words for a recent Reason article

    Although commenter “Sera” has enough common sense to pour some cold water on such foolishness!

    Unfortunately, the libertarian market-worshipping contingent also supports coercive hierarchies based on who has the most culturally valued “accomplishments” and unrestrained capitalism that screws over just about everybody but rich white western men while the labor-loving left is full of fair and rational human beings. I like it when feminism allies itself with fair and rational human beings.

    Maybe you think that feminism is about careers and productivity, and maybe you are convinced that the “free” market as it stands has anything to do with consent (as opposed to capitalist bullying), but I personally find the bridges you’re trying to build really really icky.

    Posted by: Sera | February 27, 2008 11:10 AM

  57. It started with Doug Wilder and ends with Obama.

    Let’s not forget Deval Patrick.

  58. I got called a sexist pig at Feministing once for saying capitalism did more for women (by giving us the vacuum cleaner, the dish washer, the electric stove, the birth control pill, etc etc) than any feminist activist ever could have.

  59. Unfortunately, the libertarian market-worshipping contingent also supports coercive hierarchies based on who has the most culturally valued “accomplishments” and unrestrained capitalism that screws over just about everybody but rich white western men while the labor-loving left is full of fair and rational human beings. I like it when feminism allies itself with fair and rational human beings.

    Did MCW get a sex change?

  60. coercive hierarchies based on who has the most culturally valued “accomplishments” and unrestrained capitalism that screws over just about everybody but rich white western men

    Yeah, nothing says “coercive hierarcy” like “free markets.”

    And I’m sure the nouveau riche in the Far East would be fascinated to learn that they are being screwed over by unrestrained capitalism. Seriously, the way she uses the term “white Western men”, she might as well say “teh Jooos.”

  61. I have said this before, but the only thing that could make Feministing more perfect is quality photos of every poster next to every post.

  62. RC, do you notice while they bitch about global inequality and “rich white westerners” they also advocate protectionist trade policies which would do nothing but keep the developing world poor forever?

  63. Yeah, nothing says “coercive hierarcy” like “free markets.”

    Mr. Dean, I need you to come in here and pretend to be my footstool again.

  64. For a post-racial candidate, Obama is certainly winning the black vote by a large margin.

  65. i do think the audience filled with comment posters from both sides is key because the amount of violence would be punctuated by the occasional whirlwind romance that breaks all the rules.

    at least that’s how it works in my head

    That’s why we’re working to get your head turned into a national park. It’s a place of unsurpassed and unique natural beauty and historical significance.

  66. RC’s Boss,

    In a free market that would be phrased…

    “Which or you values your job, I need someone to come in here and pretend to be my footstool again.”

    No coercion, just voluntary agreements between consenting, equal partners…

  67. Post-racial candidate? | March 3, 2008, 12:32pm | #

    They’re willing to overlook his white mom and slave owning ancestry.

  68. That’s why we’re working to get your head turned into a national park. It’s a place of unsurpassed and unique natural beauty and historical significance.

    doood, i’ve been telling people that for years, and yet no one listens. and my coffee cup is invariably filled with pennies and nickels. what fucking gives, america?

    i don’t know what segment of the voting for obama group is doing so to assuage real (or imagined?) feelings of racism, and whether it’s more significant than the “holy fucking shit hillary can’t win” segment. (alternately, the “holy fucking shit hillary is loathsome” segment, i guess depending on whose mindshare into which you dip your toe.)

  69. I don’t give a damn that Obama’s black. I give a damn that there is only one current issue that we would agree upon, and probably would ever agree upon (guess what it is).

  70. Earmark transparency?

    Withdrawal from Iraq?

    A non-imperialist foreign policy?

    Requiring police to videotape interrogations?

    Securing loose nukes?

  71. “They’re willing to overlook his white mom…”

    What percent of our voting public even knows Obama had a white mom? I’d estimate 50% or less.

  72. As far as “post-racial” goes: compare the amount of press Obama got after receiving the endorsement of Louis Farrrakhan – an endorsement that Obama did not seek, from someone the Obama campaign had no contact with – to the press McCain got after he sought, and stated he was proud to receive, the endorsement of the Catholic-hating hillbilly preacher.

  73. Withdrawal from Iraq.
    Earmark transparency doesn’t really help that much. I would say that non-imperialist is largely implied in withdrawing from Iraq, unless you think it was wrong to go into Afghanistan. What has he said about securing loose nukes? I haven’t heard it. Maybe that’s two.

  74. Well, joe, I haven’t actually seen much on CNN, MSNBC, or the other channels about the Louis Farrakhan endorsement. You told me about that one. But I did see the thing about the McCain endorsement from an anti-Catholic preacher on the news. Then again, who cares abou those damn papists, right?

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