Saturday, May 31, 2014

Minorities (including unmarried women): Obama’s Unshakable Base

In the concluding third part of my late 2012 summary of why Barack Obama whipped Mitt Romney that Fall, I wrote:
Obama overperformend because he was a minority candidate running against a rich, white guy.  Caring for "minorities"--including unmarried women, liberals, and young people--overcame as an issue criticism of Obama's poor job performance.  "He's one of us and we forgive him for trying and coming up short."
If you are a minority and/or unmarried woman living in a nation historically dominated by white men, you can’t help but see minority leader Obama’s re-election in the terms that have defined your life--overcoming a barrier handed you at birth, a barrier you fight against daily.   You probably view “lack of performance” as a code word put-down white males use against those they believe get an unfair break. Vote against Obama because of what they call “poor job performance?” Not on your life.

I find it hard to watch the number of white male Republicans who miss the importance race holds for minorities, including the unmarried female minority. So I applaud conservative scholar Victor Davis Hanson, a white man living in majority-minority California, for understanding why nonwhites vote along racial lines.

Of the upcoming 2014 elections, Hanson writes that Obama’s
record support among minorities will not change since 70-90% of various hyphenated groups see the Obama tenure as long-overdue representation of their own interests — economic, ethnic, and symbolic. It does no good to cite rising unemployment rates among African-Americans or a deterioration in household income among Latinos. The point is that Obama feels their pain, even if his policies helped cause it. In this view, expecting blacks, to take one example, to defect from Obama would be as if right-wing rural Texans would have abandoned Bush in 2006, or the Malibu set would have given up on Clinton during Monicagate. In short — unlikely.
Women living without the male partner society once expected them to have, these women feel the connection between the civil rights struggle and the feminine fight for equal rights.  They share the visceral animosity toward a civilization long dominated by “the man,” even though, according to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics findings, single women who have never married earn 96% of men's earnings. No matter. It isn't about the money, it’s about an historical lack of standing that still burns today.

Mollie Hemingway, the conservative Federalist senior editor, has jumped on findings from last November’s Virginia gubernatorial election. Hemingway wrote the big Virginia story wasn’t Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s 8-point winning margin among female voters, it was that he carried unmarried women by 42%! Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli, in fact, actually did better with married women (51-42%) than he did with married men (50-44%).

Unmarried women, like their racial minority brethren, seem to want government’s large protective arms around them--and Obama knows it.  Hemingway concludes, “The more we move away from a marriage culture, the more we move to a government culture.”

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