Monday, November 17, 2008

Racist Backlash to Obama?

Barack Obama won the presidency with 52.5 percent of the electorate, and 43 percent of white Americans voted for the Democratic ticket. With 130 million people voting, we're looking at somewhere near 60 million white voters who pulled the lever for Obama.

The Bradley effect, one of the election's biggest racial-scare scenarios threatening an Obama defeat, turned out to be largely a myth, and Obama won conservative states in the Old South, such as Florida and North Carolina, and the border state of Virginia as well. The entire demographic map of the U.S. electorate was bursting blue on November 5th, with the exception of a small band of conservative blocs in the Deep South, like Arkansas and Lousiana.

More than any other event since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Obama's successful pursuit of the White House signals that the nation has indeed overcome. There are challenges that remain, but 2008 demonstrates to an astonishing degree the country's yearning to transcend the racial divisions that have marred our history.

Yet, with the news of a couple of hundred post-election racial incidents and security threats to the president-elect, the radical leftosphere is up in arms tonight about the "racist backlash to Obama's presidency."

Matt Stoller jumps on the example of a few unreconstructed hillbillies to tar the entire GOP establishment as a bunch of Bull Connor-wannabes:

The GOP is going to ... futz around for awhile [following its crushing defeat] with the fake moderate versus conservative argument and then eventually find a way to tap into the newly emergent overt racism. It may happen in 2010, and it's impossible to predict whether the issues will be framed around 'law and order' as the millions of unemployed young people inevitably do what young people do when they are bored and disempowered in a recession, or some sort of stabbed in the back narrative around Iraq or Afghanistan, or some new set of issues focused on the fallout from this very scary financial crisis. Whatever happens the party will reorganize on the internet and that's going to seem really cool and innovative and counter-intuitive except that it will be perfectly normal for a political party to reorganize using a culture's mainstream medium for organizing, which is the internet. The right already did it once, with Drudge and the Free Republic in the 1990s.
Stoller's up there was Daily Kos as a weather vane on thinking among the progressive contingents, and for all their chest thumping victory-dances, it's surely a tender, flickering flame of triumph we see when the left holds onto its obligation to tired, dog-whistle attack politics just two weeks after the election.

The extreme right wing has been repudiated, not just in American politics, but in the mainstream GOP today. It's pretty pathetic, actually, but if the nihilist left thinks that some infinitesimal fringe of crackpots represents the Republican establishment, maybe the GOP's road back from the political wilderness won't be so long in coming after all.


shoprat said...

Looks like they are predicting some of the same things I foresee, but are painting as a cover for racism rather than the failure of the policies.

Anonymous said...

No irony in questioning that the left is calling a steep increase in secret service threats and out-in-the-street racist incidents in this post, nestled between all the others about the great gay menace ?

Surely the post about some gays abusing some churchies trying to convert them in the Castro district would have given you some pause.