A new Pew Poll shows that Barack Obama isn’t connecting with white voters. This is hardly big news: Obama won just 43% of the white vote in the 2008 election. But his popularity rating with white voters now rests at 38%. Even more chilling, if you’re a Democrat, a full 60% of the white electorate backed Republican candidates in the 2010 midterm election.
What’s going on here? Two things.
First, as we commemorate the 43rd anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, the Republican Party is still advertising itself (surreptitiously, of course) as the Party of White.
In the short run, this makes a lot of political sense. Baby boomers, the demographic currently controlling American politics, are 75% white. But the “Party of White” strategy will shortly run out of gas. From the earliest days of European colonization, America has been a majority white nation. Not for long. A slight majority of Americans 18 and younger are people of color. These rapidly shifting demographic patterns have injected a strong dose of cognitive dissonance into the hearts and minds of white folk. We feel we are losing control. We pull the red lever because we hope it will preserve the white-dominated world we were born into. (more…)