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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Racial Malarkey 2

It has been three weeks since the election and, as I have said here and here, I agree with those who say that the Republicans must revise their attitudes.  However, a lot of folks who talk about that problem the Republicans have end up spreading an awful lot of racial malarkey. 

Fact:  Projections of current trends indicate that whites will become a minority in the US about the year 2050. 

1.  For one thing it is generally agreed that the Republican party is made up of old white men who  are scared about the non white demographic tidal wave that is coming.  The following data is from a national exit poll of the 2012 election by the Sacramento Bee:

A:        15% of those who voted were 65 or older
B:        Those people 65 or older broke 56-44 for Romney. 
C:        47% of all of the voters were male and 53% were female

A and B imply that 8.4% of those who voted were for Romney and were 65 or over. 

Include C in the calculation and you have (roughly) half of those 8.4% were men. (Men are probably overrepresented in the Romney voters)

Therefore, in the real world of data (http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/06/4966431/2012-election-exit-poll-shows.html) only about 4 or 5 percent of the voters last Tuesday were men over 65 who voted for Romney.  

Fewer than that were white and it is barely possible that not all of them were scared about the coming nonwhite majority. Maybe they know that it is not scheduled to arrive for almost 40 years by which time all of them will be dead or at least 100 years old. 

But even if each member of this group of older male Romney voters is white and scared, this group still contains less than 1 in 10 of the Romney voters.   So this group of less than 10%  of the Romney voters does not seem to me to be nearly large enough to be fairly represented as the “base of the Republican party”. 

But it is good propaganda.

2.  An article in Slate  presents the best representation that I have seen of the Republicans as a racist party.   They have a good graph of the racial breakdown of each candidates votes and how each racial group split.

They describe this as “Romney's narrowly race-based candidacy”. 

It is possible to see it that way.  On the other hand one could also note that each of the identified nonwhite groups voted overwhelmingly for the nonwhite candidate.  Each of those groups cast what could be called “race based” votes.  On the other hand the whites split far more evenly between the two candidates.  So while you can say that the Republican candidate received a lopsided white vote, you can also say that the nonwhite voters cast their votes in a much more lopsided way than the whites did.  In view of that, can you clearly say that one camp is more race-based than the other?  Based on this data, I think that one could argue that the whites are the only trans-racial voting group.

3.  Sometimes the articles are just amusing in that they seem to believe that demographics is destiny:  GOP soul-searching: 'Too old, too white, too male'?.  As I said before I do not think that there is anything in Latino DNA that makes them permanently lean to the Democratic party any more than there was in O’Reilly’s ethnic group.  They generally start to feel at home and divide among the parties.  (Jon Stewart did a good bit on that the other night.)

Republicans face a crisis: The country is growing less white, and their coalition has become more white in recent years.

But the rapidly growing population of minorities is something that looms larger than one flawed candidate.”

4.  Sometimes it is obviously ridiculous  as in this piece in the Huffpost.  She asserts that: 

 Slate (see above)  put it best -- or at least most bluntly: "Only white people voted for Mitt Romney."  Even with some nuance -- "not quite only" -- the reality is that 88 percent of Romney's voter base was the rapidly-disappearing white demographic. (Emphasis added.) The writer then went on to (apparently) misunderstand and misrepresent other data from the Slate article.

5.  The folks on TV who make a living stirring the pot of controversy can - and will - say what ever they like about who was the deciding group.  But the biracial African American candidate Barack Hussein Obama got about 60 million votes.   He got a lot of votes from Latinos and blacks and Asian Americans. They all contributed.  But  the overwhelming majority, fifty six percent, of Obama's votes came from one racial group: white people.  That is what I think is the most striking racial fact about this election.  


  1. Are you going to believe the numbers or Chris Matthews?

    Nice post. Thanks, but I am not sure the truth means much.

  2. I actually haven't heard claims that voting democratic is in anyone's DNA. The risk for the GOP, as I hear and understand it, is that policies disenfranchising wide swaths of the population -- immigrants, women, gays, collective bargainers, environmentalists, non-Christians, etc -- are increasingly *in the GOP's DNA*. Not that any one position defines the voting of any one group, but add enough of those up consistently enough and you will consistently have a problem.

    It's also worth pointing out that the force of the "old and white" characterization is not strictly about literal stats. It's as much a metaphorical shorthand for ideas that seem out of touch -- more interested in preserving the status quo than facing/embracing change -- regardless of the age or ethnicity of the voter.

    1. I think that Email has accurately described how a majority of voters perceive the Republican Party and its constituency. Describing “old and white” as a metaphor is interesting and, I would agree, consistent with the perception the Ds and the press have of Republicans.

      Email, I agree with your comment on “old and white” as a metaphor, and I had not looked at it that way in the past, but now that I do I have a few thoughts.

      1. “old and white” is obviously being used as a derogatory term that includes both age and race. I am old and white should I be insulted?
      2. Why is an age and race based slur not challenged by the PC police. If someone fostered a derogatory perception of a group they defined as “young and black” They would be crucified (pardon, but I am using the term in a non-religious context). And to make it worse I sometimes hear the slur as “old, white, and male” I fit all three, through no fault of my own I might add.
      3. Recently a national figure stated that “incompetent” was code for black and female. Would “old and white” be code for incompetence or something worse?

      This is a good post. It is tempting to pronounce the Republican party dead or at least irreparably damaged by their stand (and perceived stand) on the items you enumerated in your post, but I am not ready to call time of death.