2 thoughts on “Fully Vested in America

  1. I’m really enjoying your emerging style: succinct and engaging. It makes me think. And I find myself looking forward to new posts.

    This particular message brought back to mind a troublesome observation I had as the election approached in November: People in my community (almost all white, mostly gay, almost all liberal, and [as far as I know] all Obama supporters) repeatedly made the assertion that, “It looks like Obama is going to win, but he couldn’t win without the Black vote.”

    I wouldn’t quite describe it as an “Us” vs. “Them” mentality, since these people were in solidarity with the (vastly predominant) Black vote. But the notion that the election results have to be parsed this way struck me as, at best, misguided.

    Obama won because of THE VOTE — full stop. And if it is true to say that Obama couldn’t have won without the Black vote, it is equally true to say that he couldn’t have won without the liberal vote, without the Northeastern vote, without the urban vote, etc., etc., etc. But no one makes these observations because they’re considered so obvious that stating them is a waste of time.

    But the statements I kept hearing about the Black vote going for Obama seemed intended to diminish his victory somehow, even by people who were glad of that victory. If it’s necessary to think along these lines at all, though, then let’s concede that Obama couldn’t have won without the Black vote; neither could have Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter.

    Also, let’s not forget that Obama was not only victorious against George Bush. He was also victorious against Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Bill Richardson, all superb and engaging candidates with motivated constituencies.

    The breakdown of which groups vote in which ways is important for political scientists and campaign organizers; there’s nothing wrong with studying demographics. But I wish the people I had spoken to had been more careful to avoid suggesting that any vote is more or less valuable than any other simply because of the color of the finger that touches the screen.

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