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Saturday, September 20, 2008


Racism, Up By 6

I've been criticized by some ModFab commenters recently for suggesting that race is a deciding factor in this election. Glad to know that the first exhaustive study of the issue proves me right...according to AP/Yahoo, 6% of Americans are making their voting decisions based upon race.

While that may not seem large, it could easily be the deciding factor...consider the margins that defeated Kerry (3%), Gore (well, he was actually ahead, so let's call it 0%), and Bush I (5.5%). And note that this is just the detectable racism...many people may not even realize that this is a subconscious factor.

It's going to be close...I'm no statistical pundit, but my guess is that Obama needs to be at least 7-8% ahead on November 4th to easily overcome the racism gap.
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Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

you know i love you but this is so cynical.

First of all "glad to know" that you've been proven right? Wouldn't you rather be wrong?!

Second of all this discounts people who may be voting by race IN FAVOR OF HIM. Yes that factor is also in play.

I myself have heard disheartening racist comments in the past few months, so I'm not here to suggest that's not a factor. But for the most part those disgusting feeble minded comments have been coming from conservative minded people (yes, I know a few) ... those least likely to vote for him anyway.

I'm worried too but I'm just sayin...

9/20/08, 8:35 PM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Cynical? That seems an elitist response to the reality of racism...that it's somehow "cynical" to openly address the invisible elephant in the room, metaphorically speaking.

The admission of racism in this election is decidedly NOT cynical...it is instead an attempt to bring the issue forward, into the light and into an honest discussion, instead of pushing it back into the shadows where, to be honest, a great many Democrats want to hide it away. (And furthermore, Nathaniel, you were one of the first people I know to cry sexism when Hillary was in the primary...was that "cynical" as well, or merely the truth being revealed?)

As far as me being "glad to know" that racism is indeed a factor, I'm only glad insofar as to have independent verification that what I see and hear in the electorate is not an invention of my overactive mind. I'm glad to know there is a problem, because hopefully if we can all ADMIT it -- instead of calling it "cynical" or "imaginary" -- we can begin to address it.

You're right to suggest that there are people who would vote FOR Obama because he's black...but that was outside the scope of this study, as far as I can tell.

And finally, I wish I were in your shoes, where the only people I hear saying racist crap about Obama were right-wing nutjobs. Sadly, I'm hearing it on my television, at my office (from liberals! Who say he's "shifty"!), and from commenters here. In my view, it's not an isolated problem at all.

But I hope you're right...because if you are, it won't be a factor at all.

9/21/08, 12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The truth is, there will ALWAYS be an element of racism, ageism, sexism or whatever 'ism' you can dream up when it comes to people's decision as to how they cast their vote. You are right though, when the polls are consistently this close before an election, it is those very people who will ultimately decide this election. The Obama camp understands this, which is why the ground troupes his campaign successfully established throughout the U.S. during the primaries will play a large part in ensuring that everyone who has pledged to support him or who would even consider it gets out and votes on November 4th. If they have to rent a bus to get the elderly out to vote then so be it. If they have to stage a free rock concert that is nearest to the university voting precinct the day of the election, then go for it. The idea being is to use the solid ground base he already has in place to ensure that everyone who’s pledged to vote for him actually does. They were ingenious when they went on to college campuses and handed out absentee slips to potential voters right after he gave a speech and had students fill them out and just drop them in the mail. I’m certain there are other things that can be done to enlist the apathetic or those who just don’t find the time to get out and vote for whatever reason. Successfully mastering these obstacles will ensure victory for the Obama campaign come November, regardless of that 6% block of idiots. Granted, this has never been done before, but it IS doable.

My point in all this is that there will always be an element of ‘race’ in a minority of people’s decisions. So, rather than trying to have some wide open discussion about a small percentage of peoples’ prejudices people whose minds we will never change, what does a campaign have to do to counter that? That’s the most important question. Just remember, the old adage that states ‘everything counts even in small amounts’ could never be truer.

9/21/08, 12:43 PM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Anytime someone uses a Depeche Mode lyric as political truism, Keith, you've got my vote. "Eveyrthing Counts" indeed. People are people. :-)

9/21/08, 4:10 PM  

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