Saturday, February 09, 2008

Only When a Woman or a African-American Runs Does Media Become Concerned about "Dividing" America

Gerald Seib writes for the Wall Street Journal. He had a column on February 6, 2008, lamenting the divisions that are supposedly being created by the Clinton-Obama race. The column was titled "When Will the Wounds Heal?" and contained the following:

The problem for Democrats is that the race is opening up the kind of sensitive divides that go to the party's very identity as an institution that unites races and genders.

The racial split was glaring in Georgia, where exit polls showed that roughly half the Democrats who voted were African-American, and that some 80% of them voted for Sen. Obama. And it wasn't just Georgia. In New York, a much different kind of state, roughly six in 10 blacks went for Sen. Obama over Sen. Clinton in her home state.

The flip side of the black-white split is the white-Hispanic split. Hispanics are starting to consistently back Sen. Clinton. In the electoral crucible of California, for instance, roughly two-thirds of Hispanics went for her, exit polls showed.

There also is a less glaring split within the party between men and women, with women going for Mrs. Clinton, and older women showing more enthusiasm than younger women. Older Democrats generally are tending toward Sen. Clinton, younger ones toward Sen. Obama.

Such commentary by other pundits can be found on other media websites. Now, we don't know Mr. Seib, but we are willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that he is a white male. The reason why we think that is that white males tend not to realize or acknowledge that this country has been divided along racial lines when voting for generations.

From the end of the civil war until 1964, the states of the old Confederacy voted pretty consistently for the Democratic nominee. Indeed in 1952 and 1956, Adlai Stevenson, in two elections, carried states of the old Confederacy 13 times out of a possible 22 times. All that, though, began to change when the Congress passed, and Johnson signed, the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Starting in 1964 with Goldwater, and then continuing in 1968, the states of the old Confederacy started voting against Democrats. By 1972, this voting pattern was very clear. Indeed, the only two Democrats who carried states in the old Confederacy were Carter in 1976 and Clinton in both 1992 and 1996. Natives of the old South, however, even they didn't do that well.

In 1976 Carter carried 10 states out of a possible 11 old Confederacy states, but in 1980, that figure dropped to just 1. In 1992, Clinton carried 4 out of a possible 11 states, and in 1996, he again carried 4 out of 11, but not the same 4. Those results mean that two white male southerners managed to carry old Confederacy states 19 times out of a possible 44 times.

The reason is very simple, and can be summed up in one word: Race. Old Confederate states were reliably Democratic until the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and since then, they have been reliably Republican. Yet, very few media commentators are willing to call that voting pattern for what it is: Whites deciding to vote for the candidates of the party that they conceive of as the most "white."

Now, however, when we have a credible African-American candidate and a credible femal candidate running for the Democratic nomination, they are now concerned about the dividing of America. Give us a break.

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