California’s Unusual Black Vote in 2010

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

The black vote is one of the most reliably Democratic constituencies out there. Blacks commonly give Democratic candidates more than 90% of the vote; Democratic presidential candidates in 2000, 2004, and 2008 won 90%, 89%, and 95% of blacks respectively.

Blacks were as reliably Democratic as ever in the 2010 midterm elections. The black vote undoubtedly saved many a Democrat from defeat. Exit polls indicate that 89% of blacks nationwide voted for a Democratic congressman.

In California, however, blacks seemed to have been quite a bit more Republican than this. The table below indicates the black support, according to exit polls, gained by Republicans in California’s statewide races:

2010 Black Vote Democratic Republican Nationwide (House of Representatives) 89 9 California Governor 77 21 California Senator 80 17

This can be graphed as below:

 

Link to Graph of 2010 Black Vote For Republicans

 

Now, a word of caution before analyzing these results: exit polls are notoriously unreliable. It is entirely possible that a bad sample skewed these results (although since it appears that the polls for the two California races were separately done, this may be less likely).

If the exit polls prove correct, however, California blacks voted significantly more Republican than blacks elsewhere in the nation. Generally speaking, it is quite a feat for a Republican to get more than 15% of the black vote.

Yet in 2010 Republican candidates in California did this twice. These were not especially impressive candidates; both lost pretty badly. Nevertheless, they got a degree of black support one would only expect Republican to pull during a landslide victory.

Whether this degree of black support is something recent, or whether blacks in California have always voted this way, is hard to tell. According to exit polls, in 2008 they gave 94% of the vote to the Democratic candidate. In 2004 they gave 86% of the vote for Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer (this was an election she won by a landslide). On the other hand, in 2004 a relatively paltry 70% voted for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides (who lost by a landslide).

Looking at the results does seem to indicate that blacks in California have been consistently more Republican than blacks nationwide, if not to the extent they were in 2010.

There are several reasons why this might have happened. Several years ago a blogger named dreaminonempty did a fascinating analysis, in which (s)he found that the blacks living in extremely non-black states tended to support Democrats less. For instance, blacks residing in states with higher black populations were more disapproving of President George W. Bush. This was the graph the blogger created:

 

Link to dreaminonempty's Graph

 

Califonia is a state with a relatively low black population. Moreover, blacks in California are unusually integrated and getting more so. Places traditionally associated with the black community are rapidly diversifying. For instance, today Oakland is barely more than one-fourth black and Compton is less than one-third black.

California, then, constitutes a good example of dreaminonempty’s hypothesis. Its relatively racially integrated communities may have something to do with a less monolithically Democratic black vote.

Republicans should not start celebrating yet, however. Their relative strength amongst the black vote has very little to do with Republican success at appealing to minorities, and much more to do with the characteristics of California’s black community. If the party is ever to regain competitiveness in California, it must begin reaching out to minorities. Judging by the 2010 election results, this is still a challenge the party has yet to overcome. 

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Blacks Need Not Apply: Modern-day Segregation, Greek Organizations, and the University of Alabama

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

On Modern-Day Segregation

College is often described as a wonderful institution, a place in which many people have the best experiences of their lives. Students like me forge lasting friendships, take a leap into independence, and even sometimes learn.

College is also a place to make lifelong connections. If you’re destined to be a future Wall Street businessman and your roommate an important politician – good things can happen.

Greek fraternities and sororities are particularly good at this. Take the University of Alabama. Its Greek organizations run The Machine, a secretive organization which effectively controls campus politics.

Since student government was initiated in 1915, the Machine’s choice for the SGA Presidency has lost a grand total of seven times – the last of which occurred in 1986. That’s a century of unchallenged Greek dominance.

Machine candidates often go on to have shining political careers. In 2000, The New Republic reported that:


When the Machine’s members leave Tuscaloosa, they typically go on to Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery, and join Machine alums in Alabama’s political and business elite. Machine members work in Alabama’s most prestigious law firms and businesses; they have been state legislators, state party chairmen, congressmen, presidents of the state bar, members of the Public Service Commission, and federal judges. For most of the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, both of Alabama’s U.S. Senators, Lister Hill and John Sparkman, were Machine alums. Alabama’s current governor, Don Siegelman, was the Machine-backed SGA president in 1968; Senator Richard Shelby is also said to have been a member of the Machine (although his office has denied this). As one former member of a Machine-affiliated sorority explained to the student newspaper The Crimson White, “The goal is to run campus politics, but the real reason they want to run campus politics is so they themselves can run politics in Alabama.



The meat of The New Republic article, however, does not dwell upon University of Alabama politics – but instead on a rather different theme. It tells the story of one Melody Twilley, a sophomore student at the University of Alabama attempting to join a Greek sorority. Like many of her fellow students, Ms. Twilley “blended right in to the roiling mix of social ambition and social privilege.” Compared to her peers, however, Ms. Twilley was unique in two interesting ways:

For one thing, unlike the vast majority of rushees, who are admitted into sororities as freshmen, this wasn’t Twilley’s first time through. She had tried–and failed–to join a sorority the year before. Which may have had something to do with the other thing that set Melody Twilley apart: She is black.

...Indeed, when Melody Twilley stood in front of the Delta Zeta house last September, it was believed that no white fraternity or sorority at the University of Alabama had ever offered membership to a black student.

 

More below.

There's more...

Our Best And Our Brightest

    For years many blacks have just come to accept that integration was the path to success in America. Blacks who have been able to have deftly navigated the integration maze either through employment, education, or athletic achievement. And once reaching the pinnacle of their success they have chosen to leave their neighborhoods, friends, and communities to relocate into white America where they take on mythical status as being more than black. To whites they become not like those other blacks and therefore become more acceptable to their white sensibilities. And in some cases blacks believe they have some mythical characteristics that separate them from other blacks. In their wake they leave behind a community that is devoid of role models and success stories. They leave behind a community that is becoming more financially and morally bankrupt.

There's more...

NJ-04 BOMBSHELL: Smith's Segregationism & Homophobia EXPOSED

Cross-posted at Blue Jersey.

Today, a bombshell article in The New Republic (TNR) exposed what many of us thought to be true?that Chris Smith's misguided priorities go far deeper than his twenty-two attempts to ban the common, everyday birth control pill.

Thanks to new investigative reporting by TNR's James Kirchick, we now know that Chris Smith is a founding member of the radical right.  A reporter at TNR, Kirchick is the author of a highly-regarded article on Ron Paul's ties to segregationists; that article changed the national narrative on Paul earlier this year.

Kirchick's new article reveals that Chris Smith has longstanding ties to religious-right hate groups; that he sat on the board of advisers of a pro-racial segregation organization in the 1980s; that he authored legislation that would bar gays and lesbians from working openly as nurses, doctors, first responders, federal employees or federal contractors; and that he played a role in a vicious disinformation campaign about HIV/AIDS that demonized gays and lesbians as "serial killers." The article also reveals that Smith concealed campaign contributions from at least two hard-line, pro-segregation groups.

The New Republic only scratched surface of Smith's bigotry. Following up on TNR's reporting, this morning, the Zeitz campaign discovered Chris Smith not only worked with segregationists; he voted with them. In 1981, Chris Smith voted to restore non-profit status to segregated private schools [HR 4121, 7/30/81] that were created as a mechanism for white Southerners to avoid the full implications of the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

The Zeitz for Congress campaign also obtained a copy of Chris Smith's early college writings. In an article dated 1973, Smith accused gays and lesbians of being in league with "the Anti-Christ":

In Smith's words:

"We can live in harmony with His [God's] spiritual laws and be like the man, as Christ said, who built on an undestructable [sic] rock, or we can live in disharmony with the Anti-Christ; the devil, not the laughable, fiery and character with horns, but the evil one often spoken of by Jesus and he like the man who built his life on sand which eroded and eventually fell. God wants us happy; His laws are for our welfare, our protection, not Sin!"

Chris Smith's bigotry goes beyond his early career. In the 1990s, Smith introduced legislation that would force any company or public entity that receives federal funds to fire openly gay employees. The legislation would deny gays and lesbians the right to work as teachers, doctors, nurses, first responders, federal contractors, or state and federal workers.  It might even deny basic rights like student loans to gay college students.

What we've learned today:

Chris Smith is a founding member of the Religious Right, having sat on the advisory board of the Christian Voice. The Christian Voice strongly supported racially segregated private schools in the South and worked closely with Jerry Falwell.

Chris Smith voted to support segregation by allowing all-white private schools (which were created after forced-desegregation) to remain segregated.  

Chris Smith failed to abide by FEC rules and report contributions from openly racist, misogynistic, and homophobic groups on the radical right.  

Chris Smith introduced legislation in the 1990s to mandate that the government (or any recipients of federal funds, like local school district, fire departments, police departments and federal contractors) fire any openly gay employees. Openly gay individuals would have been barred from any receipt of federal funds such as school loans, food stamps or unemployment benefits.  

"Chris Smith is an extremist," said Steven D'Amico, Zeitz for Congress campaign manager.  "There is nothing moderate about racial segregation.  There is nothing moderate about denying jobs and education to millions of gay Americans. There is nothing moderate about taking away the right to use common, everyday birth control. These are unacceptable positions that are out of step with basic human decency."

I'm asking you to do a couple of things here. Please make a contribution. Also, if you're in or near the district, please contact ian_at_joshzeitz_dot_com to volunteer.

We can win this race, and we need to do it in order to show New Jersey and the country that this kind of extremism is immoral and unacceptable, and voters will hold such extremists accountable.

Thanks so much.

There's more...

Michelle Obama's College Roommate Wanted Segregated Dorm

Cross-posted at DailyKos under my real name.

There has been much ado about Michelle Obama's college thesis in which she described feeling like an outsider at Princeton -- a black person first, a student second. I understand how she could have felt that way, especially twenty five years ago. After reading a poignant article about Michelle Obama's first college roommate, I have new insight into the environment that made her feel like a second class student during her college years.

More after the fold...

There's more...

Diaries

Advertise Blogads