Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dems lose white vote... again

The Democrat candidate for the White House hasn't won a majority of the white vote since 1964, and Barack Obama hasn't won it either, according to exit polls. In fact, he didn't even win a majority of white women.

For all the optimism about what this election represents, I think it should be tempered with some sober reflection on just how limited the extent was to which Obama "won the argument". Winning an election based on demographic changes alone is not "winning the argument". This isn't to deny that Obama did not win some thoughtful people over as opposed to just winning because of identity politics. But regress the wins in Virginia (and possibly NC) to the demographic changes there and then consider Ronald Reagan's 1984 landsilde. The number of people who changed their minds in how they voted betweeen 2000, 2004, and 2008 is dwarfed by, say, the people who changed their minds between 1976, 1980, and 1984.

Lest anyone think I'm simply being ungracious, keep in mind that my overriding interest is simply seeing more policy debates, more sophisticated policy debates, introduced into the campaign process. When people are celebrating the victory of "one of their own", it suggests that that the policy debate fell out as irrelevant; all those voters needed to know was which candidate looked more like them. I'm not at all sure how it illustrates the triumph of what's great about democracy if the most sober lessson is that the best way to get yourself elected is to find a constituency where you match up best demographically.

On another note, the election of Obama has evidently done nothing to improve Moscow's opinion of America.


Gay marriage ban defeated in California if only whites had voted... "What carried it over the top was enormous support from black voters, with about 70 percent of them backing it."

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