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CNN exit polls from the 2008 presidential race yielded some interesting results, as follows:
Voting by race and gender
White men voted 57-41% for McCain.
White women voted 53-46% for McCain.
Black men voted 95-5% for Obama.
Black women voted 96-3% for Obama.
Latino men voted 64-33% for Obama.
Latino women voted 68-30% for Obama.
Other races voted 64-32% for Obama.
In addition to his strength with minority voters, Obama had a significant advantage with young voters and lower income voters. I've read reports in the past that Obama won the college graduate vote (liberals like to pretend this makes them smarter), but that also depends on the race of the college graduate. White college graduates voted 51-47% for McCain. Non-white college graduates voted 75-22% for Obama. As for party affiliation, Democrats and Republicans voted like Democrats and Republicans usually do. Not much to tell there. The story is the independents, who voted for Obama 52-44% overall, but once again, that vote also hinged on race. White independents voted for McCain, 49-47%.
I'm not leading up to any grand discussion of race by citing these statistics. What I'm leading up to is a discussion of 2012 campaign strategy, particularly the strategy of the Democrats. That strategy has been obvious to me for a long time, but it was nice to finally see it in writing, as I did this morning. The writing was done by a left-wing think tank, the Center For American Progress (CFAP), which is run by former Clintonista John Podesta and funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros (aren't the terms "left-wing" and "billionaire" supposed to be a contradiction in terms ? How can someone be both ? Maybe we should check in with the Occupy movement's brain cell for clarification. The Occupiers can form a circle, beat on some tom-toms, do some bong hits, and get back to us with an answer in 3-6 months). Anyway, the CFAP (which is not to be confused with the PFJ) has produced a guide for Obama's 2012 re-election, called The Path To 270: Demographics versus Economics in the 2012 Presidential Election. 270 is the number of electoral college votes it takes to win the presidency. Here are some of the CFAP's observations:
With a little under one year to go before the 2012 presidential election, next year’s battle looks increasingly competitive, with ongoing economic distress and a highly energized Republican base potentially neutralizing the incumbency advantage that President Barack Obama would traditionally hold...In August 2011, Gallup reported record low public approval of President Obama’s handling of the economy, with barely one-quarter (26 percent) approving of the president’s performance on this key indicator. No president in the past 50 years has been re-elected with unemployment as high as it is today. Historically, administrations with unemployment problems have seem them mitigated with significant employment change ahead of an election.
Translation - the economy stinks, and the advantage that gave Obama over the Republican nominee in 2008 now works against Obama. If the 2012 election is about Obama's record and the economy, he loses.
...it is clear that two large forces will ultimately determine the outcome: the shifting demographic balance of the American electorate, and the objective reality and voter perception of the economy in key battleground states. The central questions of the election are thus fairly straightforward. Will the rising electorate of communities of color, the Millennial generation, professionals, single women, and seculars that pushed Obama to victory in 2008 be sufficient and mobilized enough to ensure his re-election in 2012?
Translation - the "shifting demographic base" means that white people comprise an ever falling percentage of the electorate, and minorities comprise an ever rising percentage of the electorate. Latinos in particular are the fastest rising demographic. The percentage of white voters in 2008 was the lowest in election history, and that trend will continue. The Democrats hope to appeal to the rising minority demographic to counter their disadvantage on the economy. The Democrats also count on getting the votes of young people, single women, and the non-religious. What's interesting about this to me is who this "progressive" vision leaves out - white men, married white women, Christians, and adults. I'm not sure who the CFAP is referring to when it says it wants the vote of "professionals". Maybe they meant to say "professors". I consider most adult working people to be professionals, and they aren't particularly fond of the tax and spend policies of Democrats. Successful professional people tend to vote Republican. They don't want their hard-earned wages to be "redistributed" to someone who didn't earn them.
The financial crisis and the Great Recession have severely clouded the electoral picture, making it clear that 2008 marked only the potential for a new progressive alignment in American elections, rather than its consolidation.
Translation - The "progressives" hoped Wall Street's sins would result in an anti-capitalist backlash that would bring the socialist policies of leftists into favor. That has not happened to any large extent, and remains confined to fringe elements like the Occupiers. America has not yet lost it's collective mind and decided to eat the rich. Thus, the "progressives" have more work to do.
CFAP restates it's conclusions:
As we’ve previously argued in other CAP reports (see “New Progressive America,” “State of American Political Ideology, 2009” and “Demographic Change and the Future of the Parties”), the shifting demographic composition of the electorate—rising percentages of communities of color, single and highly educated women, Millennial generation voters, secular voters, and educated whites living in more urbanized states or more urbanized parts of states—clearly favors Democrats and has increased the relative strength of the party in national elections in recent years. In contrast, the Republican Party’s coalition of older, whiter, more rural, and evangelical voters is shrinking and becoming more geographically concentrated and less important to the overall political landscape of the country.
In CFAP's view, the Grand Old Party is just that...old. And as they say on New Year's day, it's out with the old and in with the new. In this case, what is jettisoned from the "progressive" coalition is small town white Christian America. Screw Norman Rockwell. The "progressives" don't care about him. He's so yesterday.
Given the voting demographic the "progressives" hope to capture, what policies do you suppose they might endorse ? Might they endorse wealth redistribution, higher taxes for successful people, no taxes for the less successful, big new entitlement and government spending initiatives, lax immigration policies, higher minimum wages, more government re-engineering of society, etc ? You're darn tootin' they would. Would they demonize wealthy and successful people, act like success is an accident of birth as opposed to being the result of hard work, pile demand after demand onto the shoulders of the business sector, and try to control the minds of our children via a monopoly on government education ??? Absolutely. And if all these "progressive" policies have a negative economic effect on the country, lead to higher prices, fewer jobs, an overall poorer citizenry, stagnant economic growth, the erosion of our founding principles of liberty, and an end to the American dream, do the "progressives" care ? No, they certainly do not. After all, they have election battles to win, and class warfare is their weapon of choice. If someone has their hand out, the "progressives" intend to fill that hand, and the consequences be damned.