Free at Last?
The statistics tell some of the story:
First time voters Obama won overwhelmingly – 69% to McCain’s 30%
Men – slightly more –49% – voted for Obama than for McCain – 48%
Women – Obama won a big majority of the women’s vote – 56% to 43% for McCain
Ethnicity – McCain won 55% of white voters to Obama’s 43%. Obama won more white voters than either Kerry (2004) or Al Gore (2000)
Obama, as might have been expected, was backed by almost every black voter – 95% –and 20% more of them turned out than is usual. Obama won overwhelmingly among Hispanics – 66% – and Asians – 62%
Age – Obama won 66% of voters under 30, 53% of voters between 30 and 44; tied with McCain –49% each – among voters 45 to 59 while McCain won the majority only among the oldest voters, those over 60 years, at 52% to Obama’s 46%
Education – Obama won a majority among all classes, with his largest majority 63% among those who were not graduates of high school and between 51% and 53% of high school graduates and those with some college education and college graduates.
Religion – McCain won 54% of the Protestant vote and 55% of those who go to church at least once a week. Among Catholics Obama won 53% and 77% of Jews gave him their votes.
Location – In big cities Obama won big majorities – 71%, and in small cities, 59%. In the suburbs he beat McCain by two points – 50% to 48%. Only in small towns and rural areas did McCain win – 53%.
These figures strongly suggest that Barack Obama has been the most cosmopolitan vote getter in the history of elections in the USA.
And he is the first since Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson whose election did not depend on carefully selected subsets of the American demography. He has in fact uprooted the carefully constructed Republican blueprint for electoral domination -prejudicial redistricting enforced by carefully selected judges.
This process has over the last thirty years, has made the US House of Representatives almost immune to change with a majority of seats having been made safe by gerrymandering. In April, in New York State, for example, there was great consternation when a Democrat won a seat held by Republicans since 1939. That was my first clue that Obama was likely to be elected President, that there was an insurrection afoot.
I expect that the new US president and the congress will take steps to abolish this ‘rotten borough’ system and put new life into the electoral process. One malign result of the process of embedding permanent representatives is that the Republicans have a built in electoral advantage The most malignant result of this long-term process has been the increasing politicization of the US Supreme Court in support of a fundamentalist theological agenda, delicately racist and intolerant of modernity.
Free at Last?