« 2+2=? | Main | Scarlett Johansson in a Gorilla Suit: The Superhero Mundanes Don't See »

May 24, 2012

Comments

To offer a (very slight) defense of my home state, a great many Arkansans were upset that Obama bested Hilary for the nomination and either sat out or voted against him out of spite. Believe it or not, there's still a lot of love for both Clintons in Arkansas, and folks took her loss personally. I realize this only counts as anecdata at best, but it's something to consider.

I'm sure that some of the counties/states, not to mention individuals, involved had particular reasons for voting as they did. Arkansas is probably not alone in that.

But it is hard to deny that the pattern is pretty stark. (And becomes starker if you note that the areas of the South which have large African/American populations look bluer, since we know that turnout there was substantially up compared to 2004.)

Does that mean that everybody who voted for Kerry but against Obama is racist? No. Does it at least suggest that race was a significant factor across the South? I would say that it does.

I agree with what wj said, except for this

Does that mean that everybody who voted for Kerry but against Obama is racist?

If I understand this correctly, the phenomenon is not those people but people who voted for Kerry and then didn't vote for anyone.

If that's the case, isn't a possible factor the sense that Obama had won the election and so didn't need people to come out? After the election, I had a hard time explaining to my wife and other Japanese colleagues how 45% of the American electorate voted for McCain. Admittedly, my wife's window (pretty much NHK and Comedy Central) was not the most objective, but there was a sense as the election was in its last days, at least here in Japan, that Obama was going to win.

It does points to an attitude that might be as problematic, the notion that Obama didn't need the votes, because America had overcome its racism. Indeed, when you see people arguing that Obama's election as president makes a final step, you see that dynamic. Does it mean they are racist? A lot of it depends on how they are deploying the argument. When you read something like Kevin Williamson's article for the National Review (here is a deflation of it), it is hard to figure out where the racism begins and the cluelessness ends.

Obama, January 2008:

"So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

I think that may explain Appalachia. Come to think of it, that may explain the petroleum industry employees in Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma as hell. Apparently voters were bitter about something in Arkansas.

I looked for the quote and I'm not sure which one is the most authoritative, but this link gives a slightly fuller context.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted.

That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.

The only thing I've said with respect to coal, I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a (sic) ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can.

It's just that it will bankrupt them.

Unfortunately, the link to the actual audio interview is no longer working. Trust, but verify, as Reagan quoted someone saying...

So this leads me to believe that the quote is in a bigger section about how coal is an ideological issue rather than a declaration of war on Appalachia. On the other hand, if this is a secret quote suppressed by the SF Chronicle, I'm not sure how it could have influenced the votes in Appalachia.

This is not to say that people voting their own interests is racism, and the accusation that Obama has a secret agenda is not necessarily a racist one, it seems that it can give a veneer to cover up the ugliness of a racist bent. I think we can see that more clearly with the Birther nonsense, that is making yet another appearance in Arizona. This Edroso post distills that into a few paragraphs.

So, how do you distinguish between two scenarios:

1. An election where turnout was, all things being equal, going to be the same as usual, but whites didn't turn out because of racism.

or

2. An election where, all things being equal, turnout was going to be unusually low, but blacks showed up in increased numbers because of racism.

In short, why do we always assume that if there's a difference between the behavior of whites and blacks, it's got to be the whites who are acting on the basis of race?

In short, why do we always assume that if there's a difference between the behavior of whites and blacks, it's got to be the whites who are acting on the basis of race?

IMO your specific point - that the difference could as easily be accounted for by a change in black voter turnout as by white - is more than reasonable. I'd be interested to know if there's enough detail in the source data to make that discoverable.

As to assuming that a measurable percentage of whites act on the basis of race, welcome to the United States of America.

And yes, blacks do so as well - I'm sure that a lot of black people will vote for Obama because he's black - but it should come as a surprise to no-one, at all, that the fact that Obama is black would, out of hand, lose him a measurable percentage of the white vote.

In some places, not just measurable, but significant.

What country did you think you were living in?

Certainly, a good number of blacks have voted and will vote for Obama on the basis of race, but I wouldn't think it was the same sort of basis as whites who wouldn't vote for him on the basis of race, unless I were to ignore very significant aspects of American history. So, even if you think race isn't a good basis on which to vote, the black vote-for-Obama dynamic and the white don't-vote-at-all-when-Obama-is-running dynamic are not remotely the same. That should be obvious, but I guess it isn't.

"In short, why do we always assume that if there's a difference between the behavior of whites and blacks, it's got to be the whites who are acting on the basis of race?"

It's a little known fact that former President Michael Dukakis to this day expresses private wonderment and somewhat rueful appreciation that the Willie Horton ads in 1990 stimulated heavy turnout in his favor among middle class white women who harbored secret masturbatory murder/rape fantasies at the hands of violent paroled brothers, leading to "Duke 41's" electoral romp over Bush the elder, if I have my history straight.

Lee Atwater was so disconsolate over the unintended consequence that, like Emma Bovary, thick inky bile flowed from his surly mouth and he up and croaked.

Larry McCarthy, who with Floyd Brown designed the Horton ads, is as we speak running a sumptuously-funded PAC all in for Mitt Romney.

He, Larry, divides his time between two ad-design war rooms at the moment, one devoted to calibrating the exact shade of melanin to be used in the campaigns depicting Obama as an African witch doctor with his magic Obamacare ugga-bugga rattle thrust elbow deep into Phyllis Schafly's state's rights lady business (mugs, posters, buttons, cocktail napkins and related swag depicting same headed for those local races).

The only question left is do they muddy the witch doctor messaging with a Treyvon believed-in-global-warming hoodie or not.

Both would be my guess.

The other war room is devoted to concentrating on a stealth, street-level campaign targeting black communities which depicts Obama as a candy-as*ed, limp-wristed, melanin-free gay twit morphing Dracula-like into a ghetto rat spreading deadly viruses among otherwise perfectly straight black men.

McCarthy can't decide whether the Truman Capote-cadenced overvoice will do or maybe something a little more Bella Lugosi-like might be effective.

No doubt, he'll let Allen West make the final decision on that one.

So yeah, all things being equal, whatever prejudicial hate button requires pushing for electoral advantage will be pushed by the most dangerous and potentially most murderous organization on the face of the Earth, which somehow still goes under the name of the Republican Party, and if there are as*holes to be demagogued in any voting block, demagogued they will be.

Who will let the dogs out?

Mitt will.


1988, not 1990.

Brett:

In answer to your question, you can distinguish those two cases by noting that 2008 was emphatically not An election where, all things being equal, turnout was going to be unusually low. Historically, turnout is higher in "fresh" presidential elections than in re-elections, so turnout in 2008 was expected to be a good deal higher than in 2004.

Also, the 2008 election season was exceptionally high-energy, high-money, and high-emotion. Absolutely no-one thought of it as being a *less* crucial or motivating election than 2004.

A fair number of conservatives actually did find McCain as a nominee less than motivating. Starting with me, Barr got my vote that year. Based on the way he campaigned, McCain might have been among them... The only Republican nominee I've seen who put less of an effort into trying to win was Dole.

You guys are all missing Brett's central point, which is that black people are the real racists.

For "missing," read "ignoring." DNFTT.

"The" would imply an absence of white racists, which is absurd. My central point is that blacks are every bit as capable of racism as whites, not that whites aren't also capable of it.

Brett, I don't see where anyone at all made the claim that blacks are, because of some minor quirk in either genetic predisposition or shared history, immune from tribal thinking. In fact, I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that no one on this board believes that. Remarkably broad claim, I know, but I just feel it in my bones. So your central point, that blacks are also capable of racism (Newsflash! Blacks are human too!) is fatuous and probably what leads dr ngo to label you as a troll.

As for the presence of the definite article, I think you are going to have to say which definite article you are talking about as I think the general presence of 'the' in the conversation does not imply anything, as it is the most common word in the English language.

It was a response to Phil's immediately prior comment, if this was unclear.

Thought the point of the post was that the shift in relative proportions of white and black turnout demonstrated racism on the part of whites. No, it suggests racism on the part of somebody, but didn't really indicate who.

Certainly, a good number of blacks have voted and will vote for Obama on the basis of race, but I wouldn't think it was the same sort of basis as whites who wouldn't vote for him on the basis of race,

HSH, it might be worth considering this. How many of those blacks who voted for Obama would have voted for McCain if, for example, Clinton had been the nominee? Because those are the ones for whom Obama's race determined their vote.

I suspect that whatever benefit Obama may have gained
a) was a result of blacks voting who otherwise would not have voted at all,
b) was outweighed by those who would have voted for Clinton, but voted against Obama on account of race.

In the case of Clinton we would have to consider the question of sex instead of race. At least on the Republican side, subsection conservative Christians, there is a significant number of voters that would not ever vote for a female candidate for president. Parts of the black community are also socially conservative and there may have been some that would have voted for a male white candidate but not a female one (black or white) because of Ephesians chapter 5. Again, they might not have voted for the opponent but stayed home instead. In the case of Sarah Palin (and later that lady with the crazy eyes from Minnesota) there was religious opposition on the right not because of her incompetence but because she was female. Some actually demanded that she present a written permit by her husband.

One quibble, wj: some number of blacks who voted for Obama, but who would not have otherwise voted also voted on the basis of race, not just the ones who would have voted for McCain were he facing a white opponent. But the dynamics of that are far more understandable and far less hateful than refusing to vote for a candidate because of the candidate's race. (Not that I think you were taking issue with that point. Even those who would otherwise have voted for McCain would otherwise have voted for McCain, rather than refusing to vote for a white candidate.)

Brett, you seem to think that racism (or 'the real racism', if you prefer) is simply when one group of people chooses one of their own over one of another race. Reduced to this, it becomes like a favorite color or a number. However, when Phil added 'real' to it, I believe he is suggesting that it is a societal problem rather than a simple matter of preferences.

I suppose that taking your view of racism is better than Arapaio's claim that his civil rights are being violated by protestors, so we should be thankful for small blessings, I suppose.

LJ, Democrats have been manufacturing excuses why their constituencies can't "really" be racist or bigoted for decades now. Just give it a rest.

I'm surprised Brett's backside isn't completely riddled with splinters after the many, many years spent riding his favourite hobbyhorses into the ground whenever the subject of ZOMG NEGROES!!1 comes up at ObWi.

(Although I suppose one would eventually build up a healthy layer of callous...)

On the other hand, you'd think blacks would have gotten over this thing about voting for black presidential candidates a long time ago, given the number of blacks who've made it to the general election as one of the major party candidates.
/bizarro world

It's nice that white people have gotten to vote for white major-party presidential candidates without anyone even giving it a thought, since that's all there was before Obama got the nomination. But that's the way it's supposed to be. You know, just the order of things, by default. Or it was until Obama showed up and messed it all up, giving blacks the first opportunity in the history of the United States to vote for a viable black presidential candidate. And a lot of blacks actually went out and voted for him, those crazy racist nuts.

Feh. Why even bother?

Brett, I don't believe anyone here has manufactured such excuses, so it would be nice if you could tell us who you are talking about. I'm also fuzzy on what mechanism you think can allow us to attribute differences to blacks can really apply to states that are, as the doctor said "much whiter than the country as a whole." Perhaps they beamed into vote and were quickly whisked away so as not to appear in the statistics.

However, if you would like to raise the question of Democrats seeking to claim that their constituencies are not racist, I'd ask you to provide some links. Who know, other folks here might denounce it as well!

I'd note, in light of lg's last comment, that this post is about statistics that suggest the existence of white democrats refusing to vote for a black man.

I'll now return to beating my head against a wall.

Looks like we'll need to subpoena everyone's birth certificates, if trends continue.

We're all Kenyans now.

Though now that know Donald Trump and I are joined at the African hip, I'm not sure I want to join a club that has him as a member.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47577163/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.T8E1IVLe_JZ

That's interesting. I had wondered what happened to the supposed "Bradley Effect" in 2008.

The Bradley Effect wasn't just about racist voters refusing to vote for a black candidate; it was specifically about the relationship between polls and the actual vote in the presence of racism. The idea was that some people would vote this way but be ashamed of it, such that they'd either lie to pollsters or refuse to respond: a form of "social desirability bias".

As such, it's gone, in recent elections. There are still some white racist voters who won't vote for a black person, but those people truthfully report how they're going to vote.

However, I have seen some claims that there's now a social desirability bias masking homophobic voting patterns. Maybe it's a transitional phenomenon that exists temporarily as a form of bias is just starting to become taboo, and hasn't yet been reduced to a hardcore sub-population.

You guys are all missing Brett's central point, which is that black people are the real racists.
+1

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad