|Elections 2012 – Divided Crowd|
Now that President Obama has won a second term, have you noticed how the major media outlets keep emphasizing how the Latino, African-American, Asian and women voted overwhelmingly for Pres. Obama? Although this is important to recognize, there is another more significant statistic that one should note. According to political economy commentator Tom Ferguson, exit polls highlight a big divide in the 2012 vote which revolves around income-based voting. Tom says:
“Now look at the exit poll in today’s New York Times. Yes, indeed, Obama did very well among women, Latinos, and African-Americans. But in sharp contrast to 2008, the partisan split along income lines is huge. Obama’s vote percentage declines in straight line fashion as income rises. He got 63 percent of the votes of Americans making less than $30,000 and 57 percent of those making between $30,000 and $50,000. Above $50,000, the Other America kicks in. Romney won 53 percent of the votes of Americans making between $50 and a $100 thousand and 54 percent of the votes of Americans making above $100,000. The Democrats’ poor showing in the House elections — they way under-performed for a party that had lost so many seats two years before — probably reflects a substantial Republican advantage in money, including the famous Superpacs, some of which poured resources into Congressional races. It was surely also affected by the White House’s reluctance to spend time and resources trying to elect Democratic House candidates. As the President negotiates for a Grand Bargain in the face of the Fiscal Cliff, these are realities that are worth pondering.”
Quite interesting – the implications are enormous especially when you combine this with a recent Pew Research study which charted the keys to Pres. Obama’s victory:
Two things strike me instantly: the black vote was overwhelming, as expected, which in my opinion is a double-edged sword – Yes, it is celebratory to see the first black President (re)elected in a country still bristling with racial animosities, but what was the price paid for this historic achievement? In his first term, African-Americans – notably the poor and working class – went from bad to worse. Although this was not entirely Pres. Obama’s fault, he did/said nothing to address their major concerns (perhaps he was afraid of alienating other groups & ruining his re-election chances. ) African-Americans were, for the most part, ignored & their voices muted. The second thing that struck me was the percentage of white votes that went Obama decreased from 2008. I can bet that the racially-charged, ultra-conservative rhetoric had a lot to do with this. Fox News, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and a host of other bats from Hades should be credited for poisoning the waters with their disguised racism (& classism). Why a vast number of white people cannot think outside of skin color is one of the major mysteries of our times. (Spoiler Alert: Pres. Obama is not a Muslim Anti-Christ aiming to destroy the world…..geeez.…)
So where does this leave us? In my opinion, we have to get rid of the rock-star adulation for President Obama (& other political elites), think critically for ourselves and pressure his Administration (& state /local governments) on a host of important issues, from health care to taxes. Note how the Latino leadership immediately went to work after Election Day – they called a national press conference and went on record letting the President and the whole world know that they were pivotal in his win and laid out immediately what their expectations & demands were. We – white/black/Latino/Asian/poor/working class/unemployed//elderly – have to demand economic & social justice or else be cast to the side as is the customary practice in US politics after the spectacle of elections is over.