The Role of Race in the Election — What Does This Mean for the Future?

16 Nov

From Jonathan Last of The Weekly Standard, 11/14/2012.  Food for thought.

Excerpt:  [Emphasis is mine]

But one thing jumped out at me in the exit polls as being cause for real concern. And that’s the tremendous influence of race in this last election.
If you listened to the morning-after commentary about the election, you heard all the usual litany of Democratic dominance. Obama won women (55 percent to 44 percent), young people (60 percent to 37 percent), even Catholics (50 percent to 48 percent). But when you broke these top-line numbers down you saw enormous racial cleavages.

For instance Obama lost white women by a good margin (42 percent to 56 percent). Same thing for young white people and white Catholics. Which means that when you look at the numbers for minority groups in these cohorts, they broke for Obama by enormous margins. In every one of those groups—women, youth, Catholic—the minority cohorts broke for Obama by 80 percent or more. (Save young Hispanics, who “only” broke for Obama 74 percent to 23 percent.)

What that suggests is that we’re living in a world where, in terms of politics, racial identity is overwhelming every other bit of voters’ demographic identity. Pollsters and demographers have long been able to ask people a battery of questions to figure out how they’ll vote: Where do you live? How old are you? How much money do you make? Where do you go to church, and how often? Are you married? Do you have kids? It used to be that if you got all of that information about a person, you could make a pretty good, educated guess about their politics.

The evidence from this election suggests that we may be moving toward a point where we can replace that entire battery with a single question: What race are you?

I don’t know about you, but I find this deeply depressing. More so—much more so—than the actual result of the election.

[End of excerpts]

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