More evidence for the racialization of American politics
Some recent results of the November election amplify the theme of racialization of American politics that has been a theme at TOO for some time (e.g., here). Ron Brownstein’s “White Flight” has some familiar themes. 60% of Whites voted Republican (actually higher because the 60% includes Jews and Middle Easterners classified as White but who identify with the non-White coalition centered in the Democratic Party). Meanwhile, 73% of non-White voters backed Democratic House candidates, showing that non-Whites are even more biased in the direction of Democrats than Whites are in the direction of Republicans. Attitudes toward Obama were slightly more skewed.
Reflecting White anxiety about a non-White future, “minorities were almost exactly twice as likely as whites to say that life would be better for the next generation than for their own; whites were considerably more likely to say that it would be more difficult.”
This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Becoming a minority could hardly be thought of as improving one’s life chances—indeed, it may be a whole lot worse even than current voters anticipate given that so many non-Whites hold historical grudges against the traditional people and culture of America.
That’s why I believe that the racialization of American politics will become even more extreme in the future. Presently the base of the Republican Party is the White working class of both sexes and White college-educated men (both voting 2-1 Republican) as well as White seniors (60% Republican). In the last election, even college-educated White women tilted toward Republicans, but only barely.
Despite the fact that the mainstream liberal media presents the Republicans as the party of rich folks, it’s obvious that racial identity politics are far more important than social class for voting Republican, especially for White non-college educated voters. Indeed, business interests, like the Israel Lobby, understand the importance of bipartisan support for their policies, such as free trade that have undercut the labor market for non-college educated people. It is at least doubtful that some policies supported by the Republicans, such as retaining tax cuts for the very wealthy, would be supported by a large portion of its White, non-college educated base. And, despite some real movement on illegal immigration, the Republicans have a long history of doing nothing about the #1 long-term problem facing the party: Massive legal non-White immigration. The landside of non-Whites voting Democrat cuts across social class lines and it’s very doubtful that this will substantially change in the future even if the Republicans completely embrace open borders.
None of this means that Obama will not be reelected in 2012. As Brownstein notes, “partly because the minority share of the vote will almost certainly rise again in 2012, Obama probably won’t need to match his 2008 percentage of the white vote to win a second term.” Not only will non-Whites make up a larger percentage of the electorate (likely around 35% if people of non-European ancestry classified as Whites are included), non-Whites, especially Blacks, will be more motivated. Blacks comprised 10% of the electorate in 2010 while in 2008 they were 13%. They will be out in force in 2012 to support their Black president, as they were in 2008.
Particularly heartening is the decline of the gender gap and the educational gap among Whites. It is stunning that there are no differences among college-educated men, non-college-educated men, and non-college-educated women. White college-educated women are lagging this pattern, but the trend among them is definitely in the right direction — to the point that already a majority are voting Republican. I suspect they will catch up with their male counterparts when voting Republican becomes widely seen as conventional behavior among Whites.
This should put to rest the idea that women are always going to be more inclined to vote Democrat because women are nurturers who are naturally predisposed toward helping non-Whites—that women are naturally prone to accepting the non-White victimology narrative. There are other motivational systems besides nurturance, and in this case it would appear that for most White American women, the threat to the ingroup is trumping the urge to nurture.
It should also do much to erase the idea that educated people necessarily have “progressive” attitudes on non-Whites and multiculturalism. Despite what they heard from their professors, most college-educated people and a landslide of educated White men are voting for the overwhelmingly White party and they have very negative attitudes about our first Black president.
Perhaps the most powerful weapon of the left throughout the 20th century is that they were able to successfully portray people who dissent from conventional leftist moralism as intellectual cretins (think Norman Lear’s Archie Bunker; see here, p. 6ff). This was a result of the triumph of the culture of critique in the media and especially in elite universities from whence it filtered down throughout the educational system. The demise of the connection between brains and leftism is a huge step in the right direction.
The most important point here is that racial identity politics is likely to be more and more obvious to everyone. It will have to be discussed prominently in the media — doubtless with a great deal of moralizing about how this is yet another indication of White racism (ignoring the fact that Whites are still far less likely to vote on the basis of racial/ethnic identity politics than non-Whites).
The result will be that Whites will move from having an implicit racial identity to having an explicit racial identity, and that is all to the good. Eventually Republican elites will have to recognize the racial interests of their base, and if they don’t, there will be a huge opening for a third party—a third position, if you will.
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