Some Final Reflections On the 2012 Presidential Election: The Politics of Race, Class, and Gender within the American Electorate
by Kofi Natambu
One month ago on November 6, 2012 the voting public of the United States--some 125 million people--re-elected Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the Republic. The election was simultaneously both largely predictable in some fundamental respects and yet historic, even unprecedented in others. What this election also revealed in stark dramatic terms is just how deeply divided the country remains along racial, class, and gender lines and how the two major political parties (and significantly the radical right 'Tea Party' wing of the Republican Party) are currently dependent upon and dominated by these stubbornly persistent trends. The national electoral data and overall demographic analysis of the final election results (click on the the link at the top of this page to see electoral map charts and graphs for empirical specifics) all firmly indicate that Obama and Romney had distinctly different voting constituencies who were strongly divided and at major ideological and philosophical odds on every major political, social, and economic issue facing the country. Furthermore these various groups also formed specific bloc voting coalitions with like minded constituents who in turn voted for and/or against both the perceived and real agendas of the respective candidates on the basis of these widely differing perspectives and desires. For example, a close analytical examination of the statistical breakdown of regional voting patterns along geographic lines reveals that while Mitt Romney won a commanding 13 of the 15 southern states in the country by a very wide and decisive margin (Obama won only Florida and Virginia by contrast) and thus amassed 149 electoral college votes or a whopping 72% out of his final total of 206 nationwide this domination absolutely collapsed and was nowhere in evidence outside of what I like to grimly refer to as the 'New Confederacy'. Thus, this regional domination left Romney with only a shockingly feeble 57 electoral college votes total in the remaining 35 states COMBINED with Obama absolutely dominating Romney outside the region by winning 24 of these other states for an additional total of 290 electoral votes outside of the 42 he also won in Florida and Virginia. This resulted in the President amassing a final total of 332 electoral votes. Thus Obama won an incredible 87% of his electoral college votes in the rest of the country OUTSIDE the south while Romney garnered only a miserable 28% of his electoral college votes outside of the region (it should also be noted here that Romney received 31% of his total popular vote nationally in the south). It is these stark statistics above all others that exposes the strangely widespread and wildly inaccurate media lie (that too many others who should know better are ignorantly repeating) that this election was somehow even remotely 'close' on a national level. This ridiculous assertion is nowhere near the truth. All superficial appearances and false claims aside what actually occured is that outside the south (whose 15 states constitute 30% of of the entire country!) Romney lost the election spectacularly in the remaining 70% of the country, and in the other 11 states that he did manage to win outside the south eight or 72% of these states (e.g. Utah, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Alaska, Idaho, and Nebraska) are by far the whitest and most sparsely populated states in the entire country.
What all this means of course is that contrary to what some clueless and lying pundits, Republican/Tea Party operatives, and "mainstream" journalists have said this was decidely NOT a close "status quo" election and wasn't really nationally competitive at all once one views and honestly analyzes the clear empirical evidence in its statistical totality (which ultimately explains why Obama won the national popular vote by over 5 million votes!). It should also be strongly pointed out in this context that without the combined African, Latino, and Asian American vote going 80% for Obama nationally (just as they did in 2008!) the President would definitely not have won this election. African Americans for example not only cast 93% of their votes nationally for the President (while Latinos cast 71% and Asian Americans cast 73% of their votes for Obama) but were the final decisive victorious factor in the states of Ohio, Florida, and Virginia going to Obama. And just as the Latino American vote proved crucial for the President's victory in states like Colorado, Florida, and Nevada where Latinos make up more than 25 % of the state's population, this also proved to be important to the final tally of votes in even predominately pro-Obama "blue" states like California, Washington, and Oregon where Asian American voters made their considerable electoral presence known. Moreover given the sobering and disturbing fact that Romney received a whopping 59% of the white vote nationally (to Obama's anemic 39%--four percent less than 2008), it was absolutely essential that there be a strong and unified ethnic/racial counterweight to these rather stark racially divided demographics nationally wherein 62% of all white male voters and even 56% of all white female voters--52 million people or 88%(!) of his final total in all!--voted for Romney. By a startling and very significant contrast to white women voters for example Black, Latina, and Asian American females cast over 80% of their votes collectively for Obama which-- along with a huge 36% gap between single and married women generally throughout the country wherein single unmarried women voters came out in massive support for Obama-- accounts in the final analysis for the President's final 11% national margin of victory among female voters in general (55% to 44%) and also had a significant impact on the national generational split between voters 18-40 and those voters over 40. For example, voters under 40 voted over 60% nationally for Obama and those voters 50-65 years of age cast 47% of their votes for Obama while voters over 65 cast only 40% of their votes for Obama.
Finally class and income level divisions were even more stark and clear cut overall nationally. Upper middle income to wealthy voters (those making more than $100,000) cast 55% of their votes for Romney and those making between $50,000 to $100,000 cast 52% of their votes nationally for Romney (keep in mind here that because of widespread and historically severe and ongoing structural patterns of racial, class, and gender discrimination in the United States whites Americans in general--and white males in particular!--make considerably more income and own far more wealth and property generally than African, Latino, and Asian Americans); by contrast the President won over 60% of the votes of people who make less than $50,000 which constitutes the general living wages of the working and lower middle classes, and even a larger share of the working poor (defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as those making less than $25,000) which becomes a very significant factor when one considers that 41% of the entire national electorate makes less than fifty grand annually (the median income in the U.S. is about $45,000 per year). This class/economic demographic consists largely of adult workers in the national labor force who make between $15,000 to $40,000 annually and can be classified as either living below the poverty line, the working poor, and the working class. This class group voted well over 70% for Obama which more than offset the high percentage of upper middle to wealthy voters who collectively voted for Romney but whose share of the general electorate is significantly smaller overall,
So there you have it--a general empirical breakdown of the statistics ruling this year's national presidential election. So please read for your own pleasure or edification and especially pass it along to anyone who stupidly suggests or insists that the 2012 election was "close" or a "status quo election." That's all BULLSHIT. Please keep in mind that President Obama won over 62% of the electoral college vote (332-206) and the national popular vote by well over five million votes or 3% of the 122 million votes cast (8 million fewer overall than 2008!). Also considering that Obama won eighteen million FEWER WHITE VOTES THAN ROMNEY (52-34 milllion votes) it is very telling that the national shifts in the racial, class, and gender demographics generally augurs well for the future of progressive politics in this country IF the liberal to left forces nationally can somehow manage to keep and even expand the current 'Obama coalition' of voters of color, women, poor, working, and middle class voters, and young voters under 40 together and intact. It still remains to be seen if we can effectively translate this national demographic force and organized electoral energy into a highly mobilized and socially dynamic force for real change in the U.S. political economy, and culture generally--and this is very important and necessary whether Obama and his administration--or any other politician-- is on board or not. Which of course means that we, OURSELVES, must take control, LEAD, and strongly assert our own collective vision and theoretical, strategic, and tactical ideas and practices that will transform our society and world in OUR lifetimes. We can and must make this commitment if we are truly serious and clear about who we are and what we say we want to do and be. Certainly the various diverse human communities and cultural elements are in place in this country to do so. All we need is the WILL. There is no excuse for us not to creatively use what we have in the way of knowledge, experience, desire, technology and yes, brothers and sisters, LOVE, to work for and accomplish the revolutionary transformation of our society, our culture(s) and our lives. There are no more excuses anymore! It's our turn now...
"Dare To Struggle, Dare to Win"
Popular national vote totals:
Barack Obama: 65,899,660
Mitt Romney: 60,932,152