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9 Nov 2012

President Obama taught GOP America’s new political arithmetic

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November 9, 2012 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Supporters cheer at the end of President Barack Obama remarks during an election night party, early Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


White America can no longer elect the President of the United States!


That’s the lesson from last Tuesday’s election results which saw President Barack Obama win the most expensive ($6 billion by some estimates) presidential race in history even as he survived some of the nastiest campaign attacks witnessed in modern times.


It’s not a lesson you heard much talk about before last Tuesday because most of the pundits whether on television, in newsprint or part of the blogosphere, are, for the most part, white. And few people find comfort confronting their own impending irrelevancy.


Hiding from change though won’t make it disappear. 2011 marked the first year when more than half of all babies born in the United States were either black, brown or yellow. This tectonic demographic shift, means America is blacker, browner each election year and will remain so. Whites are no longer the majority in four states and have slipped below half in many major metro areas, including New York, Las Vegas and Memphis.


Last Tuesday, the total American electorate was only 72 percent white [more about that later].


During the primaries for more than a year, Republican hopefuls unmercifully pummeled each other for the chance to take on the first African American president, attracting crowds to their rallies and fundraisers that were nearly all-white. Most of the commentators who brought us news about these events were either color blind or too chicken-livered to ask the candidates why these gatherings were so overwhelmingly mono-chromatic.


So, by Tuesday night when the country was preparing for the predicted all-night wait for the final returns from the so-called “battleground states” (Ohio, Virginia, Florida, etc.), the misinformation strategy had come full circle.


The eventual outcome, however, didn’t take long at all. By 11:18 PM Tuesday most of the major television networks had called the election for Mr. Obama. The only hold-up turned out to be the refusal by Mitt Romney’s Republican cabal to allow their candidate to concede after Ohio had been colored blue on those electoral college maps favored by today’s computer graphic technicians. What had been missing during all those months of political coverage were the facts of who comprised the votes in the heavily populated areas of those eight battleground states.


Those same black and Latino voters who had been ignored by Republican strategists were concentrated in the urban centers of Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and even Nevada. Added too were the younger voters and college educated women, making it all but impossible for Mitt Romney to win any of the states he had spent so much money and time trying to pull.


In Ohio, for example, the final tallies showed the extraordinary voter output among African Americans in the Cleveland area; Latinos and blacks combined in the Virginia suburbs around Washington, D.C. to keep the Old Dominion State in the Obama Column. And in Florida, the same was true for the heavy concentrations of black brown voters in the Miami-Dade area.


So, while President Obama saw his margin of the white vote slip from 43 percent in 2008, he took 93 percent of the black vote and upped his share of the Hispanic vote to nearly 70 percent on Tuesday to win reelection. He also maintained his share of the youth vote and that of women to round out his successful re-election strategy.


Hispanic voters now comprise 10 percent of the electorate. Remember that earlier figure of the white vote was down to 70 percent of the total electorate. In the Reagan era of the 1980s, whites were nearly 80 percent of the total voting age population.


That kind of prehistoric political calculation must have helped persuade the Romney camp to spend time in the Keystone State in the closing days of the campaign including a rush to another all white rally in Bucks County and a last minute TV advertising buy. Again, it turned out to be pointless since Philadelphia gave the president a margin of more than 450,000 votes, similar to that of 2008.


To understand just how lopsided the loyalty of African Americans were to Mr. Obama, we can examine just a few predominantly black wards in the western, northern and northwestern sections of Philadelphia. These vote totals again are instructive to :



These figures emphatically underscore how the broad-based rainbow coalition the Democratic strategists put in place was sufficient to overcome the lack of support among white voters who had helped Mr. Obama make history four years ago. He did manage to poll about 38 percent of the white vote on Tuesday.



Clearly, the scorched earth strategy adopted by the Republicans on Inauguration Day in 2009 was doomed to failure even before Donald Trump started menacing the president about his birth certificate.


It was doomed too even before Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell coldly announced his party’s war cry two years ago, that “The single most important issue is to make sure Mr. Obama is denied a second term.”


Whether Republicans learn how to live within America’s 21st century diverse demographic universe is still an open question. The not-too-subtle racism at the root of those Tea Party stalwarts who had vowed to “take back the country” remains a potent motivator for many among their ilk.


The outcome of their upcoming internal soul searching will be known shortly though. No, not in far off 2016. It will be evident in less than two years in the next round of congressional elections.


Meanwhile though, 50,000 Latinos turn 18 every month.

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