While researching my blogs I have repeatedly observed that there is a great divide in America. Actually, there is more than one. At the risk of oversimplying matters, we have deep divisions between rich and poor, white and African American and East Coast-West Coast versus Middle America. I don’t think that’s healthy. I find it very disturbing, and so should you regardless of your political preference. Worse yet, I believe these divides have been accentuating in recent years as a result of the Great Recession and other reasons. For purposes of this blog, however, I will focus on the white-African American Political Divide and the impact on the current Presidential election.
In the past few decades, Democratic Presidential nominees have netted 41% – 43% of white voters fairly consistently whether they won or lost. For example, in 2000 Al Gore lost in a virtual dead heat with 42% of the white vote and 90% of the black vote. Kerry netted 41% of the black vote in 2004; Mr. Obama, by contrast, won 43% in 2008, the same as Clinton had in 1996. So, 41% – 43% seems to be the standard range. This cycle, Mr. Obama has been running at 40%. At first glance one might say this would doom him despite his strong showing among Latinos and 90%+ black vote. But, he’s running better among whites in Ohio where he is getting credit among working class whites for having “saved” the auto industry, and they account for his 50% – 46% lead in that state.
Conclusion and Prediction
The way things are going right now, the other seven battleground states will net out more or less indecisively. In that event, those relatively few working class whites in Ohio may decide the whole election. I predict that due to the extreme closeness of the election the losing side will be very, very unhappy and very vocal about it, particularly if the loser receives more of the popular vote. The nuances of the Electoral College System versus the popular vote may be ignored by some people in their zeal to seek “justice” for an election they perceive the other side somehow “stole” from them. There will likely be accusations of voter fraud and challenges in the courts afterwards. I fear the situation will be accentuated by racial overtones as it always is when there is a perception that race is involved. Yes, November 6 may not be the end of the campaign, just another chapter.