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2012 Election

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Here’s my presentation at the early 2013 symposium, transcribed and then translated from spoken Sailerese into actual written English.

Hi, I’m Steve Sailer, and it’s a real pleasure to address our symposium. I’m going to talk about some overlooked aspects of the 2012 election.

As we get to the data, we’re going to focus on voting by state because that is, more or less, how Electoral Votes are counted. For Republicans to ever take back the White House, they will have to figure out more states they can win.

In the interest of simplicity, all the percentages are going to be for Romney’s share of the two-party vote. I’m leaving out Libertarian voters, write-ins, and so forth. I apologize for ignoring non-two party voters (I saw recently that Tom Wolfe wrote in Ron Paul’s name in 2012), but this expedient will allow us to think about just one number at a time: Romney’s share. Thus, if you want to know what Obama got, just subtract Romney’s percentage from 100.

I’m working with a huge poll that almost nobody’s talked about. It was conducted online by Reuters-Ipsos throughout the election year. This particular edition features a sample size of 40,000 two-party voters who responded immediately after voting.

Now, the Reuters-Ipsos panel has advantages and disadvantages versus the better-known Edison exit poll, which had a sample size of only about 25,000. I haven’t noticed any systematic differences in results reported by the two polls, but Reuters-Ipsos has a number of strengths for the serious analyst.

For example, the more celebrated exit poll wasn’t even conducted in 20 states, including Texas. If you want to know something about the future of American politics, you better know something about Texas. The Reuters-Ipsos poll had a sample size of 2,403 respondents in Texas. In summary, we’ve got a decent sample size on almost every state, not just 30 favored states.

Most importantly, Reuters lets anybody make any crosstabs they want of their results, while the Edison exit poll only lets subscribers who pay tens of thousands of dollars get their hands dirty with the data. So, the quality of discussion of the exit poll numbers has been constrained.

Below is something nobody has seen before, a table of Romney’s share of the vote by race in each of the 50 states.

The first column of percentages is Romney’s final share of the actual two-party vote. Nationally, Romney only got 48.0 percent to Obama’s 52.0 percent. (After all the votes were counted, Obama’s victory margin turned out wider than almost all polls had predicted. The Reuters’ poll has Romney at 48.5 percent, so it was a half-point too high.)

National, Romney won 58.1 percent of the white vote which, unsurprisingly, was not enough. He lost 97-3 among blacks and 72-28 among Hispanics.

Actual Reuters Whites Blacks Hispanics Other
National 48.0 48.5 58.1 3.0 28.3 39.0 17.7
Alabama 61 61 82 7 na 38 10
Alaska 57 60 72 na na na na
Arizona 55 56 66 na 26 31 26
Arkansas 62 62 69 6 na na 22
California 38 39 49 5 25 38 25
Colorado 47 48 52 na 27 26 22
Connecticut 41 42 45 6 na na 20
Delaware 41 41 52 na na na 8
D.C. 7 0 8 0 na na 0
Florida 50 50 61 4 35 38 22
Georgia 54 54 79 3 25 43 7
Hawaii 28 20 56 na na 0 15
Idaho 66 67 67 na na na na
Illinois 41 42 51 1 30 34 12
Indiana 55 55 60 2 na 38 13
Iowa 47 47 48 na na 31 21
Kansas 61 61 64 na na na 31
Kentucky 62 62 66 3 na na 17
Louisiana 59 60 84 0 na na 0
Maine 42 42 42 na na na na
Maryland 37 38 56 1 na 32 4
Massachusetts 38 37 40 4 27 23 19
Michigan 45 46 53 2 32 35 13
Minnesota 46 46 47 na na 18 25
Mississippi 56 56 88 0 na na 0
Missouri 55 55 62 8 na 34 17
Montana 57 56 55 na na na na
Nebraska 61 62 65 na na na na
Nevada 47 47 57 1 na 46 17
New Hampshire 47 48 48 na na na na
New Jersey 41 41 52 0 24 36 15
New Mexico 45 45 52 na 27 na 41
New York 36 36 46 2 18 24 10
North Carolina 51 51 67 2 22 38 9
North Dakota 60 55 57 na na na na
Ohio 48 49 54 13 25 33 18
Oklahoma 67 67 74 na na 71 41
Oregon 44 46 48 na 22 33 23
Pennsylvania 47 47 54 0 13 31 5
Rhode Island 36 36 39 na na na na
South Carolina 55 56 78 0 na na 0
South Dakota 59 59 58 na na na na
Tennessee 60 60 71 1 na 33 10
Texas 58 58 76 2 37 41 25
Utah 75 75 75 na 31 33 30
Vermont 32 32 34 na na na na
Virginia 48 48 60 3 26 38 13
Washington 42 44 46 3 29 30 29
West Virginia 64 64 66 na na na na
Wisconsin 47 47 49 7 na 31 21
Wyoming 71 67 74 na na na na

Unfortunately, Reuters just lumps together American Indians with Asians and whoever else feels like calling themselves “Other.” Romney garnered only 39 percent of the Other, although that’s better than what the exit poll reported for Romney among Asians (26 percent, down a purported 9 points from 2008), and 38 percent among “Other” mostly American Indians (up 7 points from 2008). There was a fair amount of theorizing based upon the exit poll about why Romney did so much worse than McCain among Asians (although none about why he did so much better among American Indians).

The Reuters poll, however, suggests these sharp swings didn’t actually happen.

Which poll is right about the Other? Beats me. Mostly, the exit poll and Reuters are pretty similar, so when they disagree, I’d just recommend taking the average of the two surveys.

The Reuters-Ipsos Polling Explorer interface won’t display any breakdowns where the sample size is less than 100. But I managed to get around that cautious limitation by lumping together in huge California with each small state’s sample, then doing the math. That worked out fairly well. Rather than a minimum sample size of 100, I chose an aggressive minimum of merely 15. That’s quite small, so don’t trust each number above too much. Since it’s so hard to get these numbers, I felt it better to err on the side of giving my readers more rather than less information.

We’ll start our analysis with minority electorates, then give the white vote the careful inspection it requires. Yes, I know that white voters are out fashion, but they are still numerous and much more of a swing vote from state to state than are the trendier minorities.

The black share of the vote is routine almost all the way through. Traditionally, California blacks vote a little more Republican than the national blacks, and, sure enough, Romney hauled in a full 5 percent of California blacks versus 3 percent nationwide.

The one black figure that’s unexpected is Ohio, where Reuters reports that Romney get 13 percent of the black vote. That’s from a moderate sample size of 92 black panelists. A vast amount of money was spent on advertising in the battleground state of Ohio, so maybe Romney’s strategists can pat themselves on the back for buying a few extra black votes. Or maybe this 13 percent figure is just a fluke due to limited sample size.

A few anomalies like this are actually reassuring about the authenticity of the Reuters poll. The results fit my model of how the world works, of how various factors interact so well that occasionally I break into a cold sweat over the thought that maybe Reuters just made up the results! I mean, if you hired me to create a model of how demographic and regional factors work together, it would spit out numbers very much like these. But, the occasional unpredictable result, like Romney supposedly getting 13 percent of the black vote in crucial Ohio, is, in a way, confidence-inducing.

With Hispanics, you can see that Puerto Rican Hispanic states like New York (Romney got 18 percent of New York’s Hispanic vote) and Pennsylvania (13 percent) are a little bit further to the left than Mexican Hispanic states such as California (25 percent). But, most of the Hispanic vote falls within a relatively narrow band. Rather than swing voters, these look like solid Democrats who drift a little right if their white neighbors are conservative..

Ever since the election, we’ve been told constantly that the main thing Hispanic voters care about is amnesty for illegal aliens, and the only way for Republicans to ever win the White House again is to grant amnesty (and, while you’re at it, throw in “a path to citizenship”). If you doubt this is the right course for the GOP, just ask any Democrat and they’ll tell you.

If there is any state where this logic shouldn’t apply, it ought to be Florida, which Obama won by a hair. The two main groups of Hispanic voters in Florida are Cubans and Puerto Ricans, neither of whom care about “immigration reform.” The Puerto Ricans are born citizens, and yet they still vote overwhelmingly Democratic. You might almost think Democrats are pulling Republicans’ legs over amnesty …

The Cubans, as described in Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood, have their own special immigration law that applies to any Cuban who can set foot on American soil. The Cubans used to vote heavily Republican, but Florida Hispanics now went overall 65-35 for Obama, suggesting younger Cubans are trending Democratic. In Wolfe’s novel, even the conservative cops among the Miami Cubans resent the Anglos as competitors who get on their nerves by thinking of Florida as part of America. And the Democrats are the natural home for the resentful.

There is a small difference between the Mexican American voters in California (25 percent for Romney) and Texas Hispanics (37 percent). That 37 percent sounds pretty good – it must be the pro-amnesty role models of the Bush family, while, as we all know, California Latinos were alienated by Proposition 187 — until you notice that Romney got an astonishing 76 percent of the white vote in Texas versus only 49 percent in California. So, relative to whites, Romney may have performed better with Hispanics in California where there is only a 24-point gap, not the 39-point gap in Texas. Or if you look at it proportionally, California’s 25/49 is almost identical to Texas’s 37/76. So maybe the Bushes and Prop. 187 don’t really matter, and what really matters is that Mexican Americans mostly vote Democratic because they find it to be in their self-interest for old-fashioned tax-and-spend reasons?

What about the white vote?

This graph below shows Romney’s share of both the total vote (in dark) and white vote (in red). The states are sorted in order of how well Romney did overall, with Utah at the top and Hawaii at the bottom.

It started out as a bar graph, but I had 100 bars (50 states times two), which seemed excessive, so I made the bars invisible and just left the values of the bars. If you look at Utah, you can see that Romney got 75 percent of the total vote and 75 percent of the white vote in the state. In Wyoming, 71 percent of the total vote and 74 percent of the white vote.


So, for Romney to do really well, he needed two things: states that are almost all white and whites that are almost all Republican.

Now, as you get further down, you see outliers where the GOP’s share of the white vote is far higher than the GOP’s overall performance, such as Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. These are states typically in the deep south with large black populations where there’s a strong degree of white solidarity to keep blacks from taking over the state. For example, the state of Mississippi went for Romney 56-44, and the way he won was by getting 88 percent of the white vote. Why did he get 88 percent of the white vote? Well, Mississippi has the largest black population of any state and according to this Reuters-Ipsos poll, blacks in Mississippi voted 100 percent for Obama (sample size = 38)

So that’s kind of what diversity gets you in the long run. As Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore says, in a multicultural democracy, everybody ends up voting on race.

Probably the two most interesting states that Romney won are not in the deep south: Texas (76 percent of white vote) and Arizona (66 percent).

Texas is not really an old deep south state by any means. It has had a huge influx of Americans since oil was first discovered in 1901, and it has its own culture. It shows the possibilities of what a state could do in terms of going heavily toward Republicans as a bloc vote: 76 percent is a pretty amazing number, but that’s what it took to keep rapidly-Hispanicizing Texas handily Republican. If whites in Texas don’t vote consistently Republican, then the state, with its 38 Electoral Votes, will go Democratic in some future presidential election. And that would end the chances of the Republican Party as we know it ever regaining the White House. So, GOP, you better hurry up and put all those illegal aliens in Texas on the path to citizenship!

One thing to keep in mind about Texas is that its formidable degree of white solidarity is the result of generations of white Texans indoctrinating each other in the superiority of Texas over the rest of the country (as I noticed while a student at Rice U. in Houston). This solidarity has some real payoffs. For example, back in the 1980s Texas had a hugely successful anti-littering campaign featuring the slogan “Don’t Mess with Texas.” Politically, it turns out that Texas pride among whites keeps Mexicans discouraged. (Mexicans are not terribly hard to discourage.) On the other hand, the braggadocio of Texans has not necessarily endeared themselves to the rest of the country.

As you may have observed, the demonization of Arizona in the national press over the last few years has been virulent. The front page of the New York Times routinely featured articles about horribleness of white people in Arizona and how something needs to be done about them.

That’s because by the standards of Western states without many blacks, there was strong solidarity among Arizona whites, with 66 percent voting Republican. That frustrated Democratic efforts to register and turnout as many Mexican Americans as possible.

The most interesting states on the graph are the ones where Romney came close to 50 percent. These are the states future Republican candidates must improve in to have a shot at the White House.

The message you’ve heard ever since the election is that the Republicans lost because of the amnesty issue and therefore they must agree to amnesty and a path to citizenship. You know, the New York Times and the POTUS have all been explaining to the Republican Party how they need to pass amnesty right now for their own good. And if Republicans can’t trust the leadership of the Democratic Party to look out for their partisan interests, who can they trust?

Yet, the states in which Romney came close to winning are typically ones where he just did not get enough of the white vote. Consider Ohio, where Romney lost 52-48 overall by only getting a grand total of 54 percent of the white vote. Almost anywhere in modern American, Republicans have to win more than 54 percent of whites to win.

Here are some other north central states where Romney came fairly close:

Pennsylvania: 54 percent of the white vote

Iowa: 48 percent

WI 49 percent

Minnesota 47 percent

Michigan 53 percent

Romney couldn’t get the job done in these northern states not because of the tidal wave of Hispanics, but because he just didn’t get enough whites to show up and vote for him.

Let’s see where we could make the amnesty argument. Florida was close. And, as we know ever since the infamous 2000 election, Florida has been ripe for people with an ax to grind to claim that their particular panacea would have determined who won the Presidency. For example, I got a press release during the 2000 vote counting in Florida from a Sikh lobby. The Sikhs hate laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets because they muss up their turbans. Traditionally, helmet laws are the Sikhs’ hot-button issue. The press release announced that if Al Gore had come out against helmet laws, the Sikhs of Florida would have made him President. I checked their math, and, yeah, they had a point.

But the larger point is that this logic is mostly nuts.

But the Republicans don’t get it. At the moment, they think that all they have to do to get back to the White House is turn the party over completely to Marco Rubio. Let him negotiate amnesty with the Democrats. (What could possibly go wrong?) Mexicans must love the guy, right? After all, both his name ends in vowels.

Yet, do Mexican Americans even like Cubans, such as Sen. Rubio? (One of the hidden messages of Back to Blood is that Cubans don’t care at all about Mexicans.) Nobody seems to have checked.

Virginia is another interesting state. It’s an example of how the Republicans are beginning to shoot themselves in the foot with legal immigration. The Washington DC suburbs are home a large number of well-educated legal immigrants, and, it turns out, they like to vote Democratic. Even if they’re making a lot of money and it’s going to cost them in taxes, these legal immigrants just find the Democrats more to their taste.

Then there are what I call the Clean Green states such as Colorado (where Romney won 52 percent of whites), New Hampshire (48 percent), Oregon (48 percent), and Washington (46 percent). Amnesty isn’t going to win them those states.

There’s New Mexico, with its large Hispanic population, but once again the GOP lost there because they only won 52 percent of the white vote. New Mexico is interesting as a view into the future of Hispanicized America. Hispanics have been in the Upper Rio Grande Valley for 400 years, yet the state that does not attract many illegal immigrants. How come? Because there aren’t many jobs in New Mexico. Why not? Because it has been filled up with Hispanics for its entire history, and they don’t create a lot of jobs.

What about California? Surely, that’s a state where whites have been crushed under the rising tide of Hispanics? Actually, Romney only won 49 percent of the white vote there. Kind of hard for a Republican to win that way.

As we all know from having heard it over and over that Republicans were doing fine in California until they shot themselves in the foot with Proposition 187 in 1994. What they don’t tell you is that George H.W. Bush won less than 33 percent of the total vote in California in 1992, two years before Proposition 187. But who has time to fact-check The Narrative?

Nevada might be the closest thing to an example supporting the amnesty-uber-alles narrative. Romney won a mediocre but not terrible 57 percent of white votes there, but lost due to Hispanics (and Filipinos) voting heavily Democratic. Unfortunately, the Reuters-Ipsos poll only has a Nevada sample of 14 Hispanics, so we’re flying kind of blind here.

My impression of Nevada Hispanic voters is that the big issue for them is not amnesty, it’s that they were just hammered by the mortgage meltdown of 2007-2008. Nevada long led the country in foreclosures. Nevada Latinos were flying high during the Bush Bubble, but haven’t forgiven Republicans since for their defaulting. How amnesty will cure that for Republicans is a mystery.

Let’s briefly look at the national level. A one-word characterization of Mitt Romney’s campaign would be bloodless. He stressed serious, respectable issues involving entitlements and taxes. He avoided any mention of anything ungentlemanly. Unfortunately for Romney, he’s living in a time that our leading man of letters calls the age of Back to Blood.

In contrast, coming out of the 2010-midterm elections, Obama saw he had a real problem. The Obamamania of 2008 had carried him to a large victory over a wounded and already flawed Republican candidate. But how was he going to re-mobilize his base, which largely consists of the margins of American society, without the Hope and Change piffle of 2008?

The Obama base is, to be blunt, the fringes. The epitome of Romney’s base is the married white father, while the essence of Obama’s base is the single black mother. Obama’s base hadn’t bothered to show up to vote in 2010, so how was he going to motivate them in 2012? The former are a lot more likely to vote out of a sense of civic duty, while the latter need some emotional motivation.

Here’s a table of data I published on just after the election that clearly shows the Core v. Fringe distinction:

Reuters-Ipsos Exit Poll Romney’s Share Sample Size
Mormons 86 percent 766
Married white Prot. 74 percent 11,761
White Protestants 70 percent 15,732
Married white men 65 percent 7,001
Married whites 63 percent 24,176
Married white women 62 percent 17,175
White Catholics 57 percent 8,173
Whites 58 percent 34,446
Married men 58 percent 7,910
Marrieds 57 percent 27,106
Homeowners 55 percent 31,163
Married women 55 percent 19,196
Single white men 51 percent 3,383
Married other races 48 percent 958
Men 51 percent 12,002
All Voters (2 candidate) 48 percent 40,000
Single whites 48 percent 10,270
Women 47 percent 27,997
Single white women 44 percent 6,886
Other races 39 percent 1,642
Married Hispanics 35 percent 928
Single men 39 percent 4,092
Married Jewish men 40 percent 419
Hispanics 28 percent 1,584
Singles 35 percent 12,894
Renters 33 percent 8,835
Single Jewish men 30 percent 163
Married Jewish women 34 percent 652
Bisexuals 25 percent 616
“Other orientations” 31 percent 229
Single other races 28 percent 684
Single women 31 percent 8,801
Single Hispanics 21 percent 656
Hindus 23 percent 101
Single Jewish women 23 percent 328
Gays/lesbians 16 percent 976
Blacks 3 percent 2,087
Black single women 2 percent 925

At the top are Mormons at 86 percent for Romney. Now, obviously, Mormons are a minority, but they’re increasingly the only minority group in modern American that still tries to act like they’re part of the core.

Then come married white Protestants (74 percent), then white Protestants, married white men, married whites, married white women, white Catholics, whites, married men, marrieds of both sexes, homeowners, married women, single white men, married other races and men in general.

At the bottom are black single women at 2 percent for Romney. Then blacks, gays and lesbians, single Jewish women, Hindus, single Hispanics, single women, single other races, other orientations. I’m going to stop there. “Other orientations” comes from the sexual orientation question. They gave you four choices: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual; and for those who didn’t find those adequate, “other” was a choice. The Other Orientation folks went strongly for Obama.

Obviously, this turned into an election based on identity, on whether people felt themselves in the core of America or in the fringe of America. The core versus fringe can be defined in a couple of ways. For example, over multi-generational periods, do you come from people who settled this country a long time ago, or are you, say, an immigrant from Somalia who is now going to gift us with all the lessons that Somalis have developed over the eons on how to run a successful country?

Or, on a personal level, are you somebody who is married, has stayed married, has children, owns a home, and is employed? Or are you somebody who’s single, renting, who basically doesn’t find your life satisfactory and is looking for somebody to blame?

The way the Obama campaign turned out their base was to whip up feelings of resentment toward core Americans, toward those people whose ancestors had built the country, who largely keep it running today and who in their personal lives have done a pretty good job of keeping their act together.

Obama did a spectacular job of taking those two kinds of people from the fringe, and telling them that they should resent the white married people of America, the ones who own their homes, the ones whose grandparents helped make this country, and that there’s something shameful, unfair, or at least uncool, about coming from the core of America.

It was a brilliant strategy. Obama ran a really ugly, nasty campaign full of subliminal hatred. The Obama campaign did a good job keeping the stew of ill will they were brewing somewhat under wraps until after the votes were counted. But in the days following the election, out came pouring the chest-beating Suck-It-White-Boy exultation, the mindless fury at the losing white male bogeyman for being old and white, but, mostly, for losing.

The Republican Brain Trust now assumes that the way to solve this problem is via amnesty, just like their good friends the Democrats keep telling them. Amnesty, however, will be seen as white America’s surrender declaration, as an official invitation to kick the former top dogs while they’re down. And who can be expected to resist that?

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From an interview in the Los Angeles Review of Books by Kelly Candaele of John Heilemann, New York magazine’s main political correspondent.

KC: You say that Obama doesn’t like needing people. Other than a normal feeling that many people have of not liking to ask for things, what is that about? 

JH: Obama is an unusual politician. There are very few people in American politics who achieve something — not to mention the Presidency —in which the following two conditions are true: one, they don’t like people. And two, they don’t like politics. 

KC: Obama doesn’t like people? 

JH: I don’t think he doesn’t like people. I know he doesn’t like people. He’s not an extrovert; he’s an introvert. I’ve known the guy since 1988. He’s not someone who has a wide circle of friends. He’s not a backslapper and he’s not an arm-twister. He’s a more or less solitary figure who has extraordinary communicative capacities. He’s incredibly intelligent, but he’s not a guy who’s ever had a Bill Clinton-like network around him. He’s not the guy up late at night working the speed dial calling mayors, calling governors, calling CEOs. People say about Obama that it’s a mistake that he hasn’t reached out more to Republicans on Capitol Hill. I say that may be a mistake, but he also hasn’t reached out to Democrats on Capitol Hill. If you walk around [the convention] and button-hole any Democratic Senator you find on the street and ask them how many times they have received a call [from the President] to talk about politics, to talk about legislative strategy, I guarantee you won’t find a lot of people who have gotten one phone call in the last two and a half years. And many of them have never been called. 

I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t know what the root of that is. People have theories about it. But I know in practice he is a guy who likes to operate with a very tight circle around him, trusts very few people easily or entirely. He ran his campaign that way in 2008, he runs his White House that way, and he’s running his campaign that way in 2012. President Obama just doesn’t talk to too many people.

One totally unshocking revelation in Bob Woodward’s new book is that the June 2011 “golf summit” where Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner played golf together helped the two men forge a personal bond. That’s … what people always tell you golf is for, isn’t it? The number of rounds of golf the President has played (104 at last count) is hardly excessive — when healthy Eisenhower would come close to that number in one year — but Eisenhower played with big shots to forge personal ties. Obama almost always plays with junior staffers. 
• Tags: 2012 Election, Obama 
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A commenter points out that the Democratic Convention’s “European and Mediterranean Americans” innovation has yet to percolate to, where we read:

Groups are made up of supporters

Organizing around the issues they care about 

As a member of a group, you’ll be connected with an online and offline community of people passionate about re-electing President Obama. Pick one (or a few) to join today. 


Meanwhile, at, we find the following list of “Communities:”

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Romney
Black Leadership Council
Catholics for Romney
Energy Voters for Romney
Farmers and Ranchers for Romney
Former Obama Supporters for Romney
Jewish Americans for Romney
Juntos con Romney
Lawyers for Romney
Polish Americans for Romney
Public Safety Professionals for Romney
Romney Voters for Free Enterprise
Veterans and Military Families for Romney
Women for Mitt
Young Americans for Romney 

• Tags: 2012 Election 
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A commenter points to this Google nGram graph so we can see the history of the phrase used by by the Democratic National Convention for one of their 14 identity politics communities: “European and Mediterranean Americans” (of whom, we are informed by the Democrats: “The culture and history of European and Mediterranean Americans contribute to America’s unique fabric.”)

In other words, from 1800 through 2008 (the latest year Google allows), the phrase “European and Mediterranean Americans” appeared in zero books known to Google.

It appears that the term was chosen by the Democrats to represent what used to be called the “white ethnic” vote, but without using the word “white.”

The phrase “Mediterranean American” was probably chosen to represent Christian Lebanese, who aren’t from Europe in a geographic sense, but are a prosperous group. The leaves up in the air “Armenians,” who used to have a Black Sea coast and have a fairly Mediterranean culture.
• Tags: 2012 Election 
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From the official Democratic Convention website, here is the “Communities” page for “European and Mediterranean Americans:”

The culture and history of European and Mediterranean Americans contribute to America’s unique fabric.


European and Mediterranean Americans will share their voices at the 2012 Democratic National Convention to keep the country moving forward.

This would seem curious, until I read another official Democratic Convention page:

2012 Democratic National Convention
Log in
European and Mediterranean Americans Come Together

Posted by Amaia Kirtland on Sep. 3, 2012

European and Mediterranean Americans met in the Ethnic Council meeting at Charlotte Convention Center on Monday, September 3 to discuss the engagement and empowerment of grassroots communities in the political process.

The Ethnic Council is a coalition of leaders representing Democrats who have organized among diverse backgrounds, faiths, ethnicities and demographic or geographic origins. At the convention, they are coming together to support President Barack Obama’s re-nomination and discuss strategies for increasing grassroots participation.

The personal stories of the delegates reflected American diversity and shared heritage. Members offered ideas about connecting with specific communities as they work to keep our country moving in the right direction.

Maryland State Senator Jim Rosapepe, an Italian-American, is excited to re-nominate President Obama. Senator Rosapepe said, “I think he stands for the values we grew up with: family, education, and community. When Italian-Americans came, we had to stand together. Italian-Americans got ahead by the way others got ahead, by standing together.”

Okay, so the point is not for, God forbid, “European and Mediterranean Americans” to “stand together,” but for, say, Italian-Americans to stand together with other Italian-American, for Irish-Americans to stand together with other Irish-American Democrats, all for the greater glory of Barack Obama.

I had never, ever heard the term “European and Mediterranean Americans” before. A look at Google suggests that it’s a novel coinage of Obama Campaign, perhaps in the last few days, perhaps much earlier. The earliest usage I can find is from an Obama 2012 page dated November 28, 2008 (that date strikes me as implausible, but possible — they were setting up Obama 2012 webpages months in 2008?):

European and Mediterranean Americans (sometimes known as Ethnic Americans) for Obama are Americans of varied backgrounds – from the newly naturalized citizen building a family and laying down roots to the fourth-generation family in the US with ties and heritage connected to the land of our ancestors. New Polish-American citizens in Toledo, Irish-Americans in Scranton, Italian-Americans in greater Detroit – these are just some of the stories of American families, stories of resounding hope and affirmation in the American dream – and it is Barack Obama’s story as well.

When viewed properly, all stories are Barack Obama’s story.

And here are all 14 official Democratic Convention “Communities:” (Interestingly, the descriptions for 11 of the groups emphasize how their respective caucuses listed will meet during the Convention. The only three groups without their own caucuses are “Americans with Disabilities,” “Labor,” and “European and Mediterranean Americans.”)


The Democratic National Convention provides a platform for representation by people of many different origins, orientations and backgrounds. To get involved with a group, find the community that best fits you and see how you can connect with others.

Select your community below:

• Tags: 2012 Election 
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During election years, everybody is supposed to genuflect to Hispanic Numbers, although the usual acts of obeisance are often inept. For example, the Obama Administration engineered that the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in Arizona go to Richard Carmona, a guy with a remarkable track record: high school dropout; Vietnam vet; sheriff; nurse; doctor; surgeon; was shot by a lunatic but the wounded Carmona pulled his gun and killed the shooter; Surgeon General under Bush; the GOP wanted him to run for Congress in 2006; but he then changed from Republican to Independent in protest over various Bush policies. 

The only problem is: Carmona’s not Mexican. He’s a Puerto Rican from New York City. This is a general problem: 35 million Mexicans in the U.S. and not a lot of amazing individuals. Thus, the recent silliness of everybody pretending the ceremonial mayor of San Antonio is really a powerhouse executive.

All immigrant groups are not created equal. Polish Catholics, for instance, appear roughly equal in number to Jews in the U.S., but have negligible clout in U.S. culture outside of maybe outfielders. Consider the Borat episode in 2006, in which Polish-American complaints about being assaulted with a giant old-fashioned Polish Joke of the kind that Yiddish-speakers brought to the U.S., and having Borat wildly celebrated by Jewish critics went virtually unheard.

Likewise, I’ve often argued that in the long run, the most important element of the current immigration mix in terms of setting the tone of politics in the future are not Mexicans, but South Asians. They are articulate in English, and are one of the few groups who seem to like to argue in public. Indians, though, seem to lack the edge, that motor of internal hostility and aggression that makes male Jews the reigning World’s Heavyweight Champs at both getting the last word and at being funny.  For example, on the Atlantic Magazine’s 2009 list of the most important pundits in America, Jewish men were over-represented by a factor of about 50.

But it’s easy to imagine a future in which Asian Indians rank second among ethnic groups in opinion-molding in America.

So, it’s important to study the voting and ideology of South Asians. They are a high income group from a socially conservative part of the world, so they are natural Republicans, right.?From the Guardian:

An impressive 84% of the 2.85 million-strong Indian-American community voted for Mr Obama in 2008, second perhaps only to African-Americans as a minority group. 

Has he still got their love? It appears so. 

According to a Pew Research Center survey released in June, 65% of Indian-Americans approve of the way Mr Obama is handling the presidency. 

Of all the Asian American groups surveyed, Indian-Americans were the most Democratic-leaning, again at 65%. Only 18% favoured Republicans.

Well, good luck Republicans with the rest of the 21st Century. You will need it.

The most obvious step is to take away South Asians’ valuable status as minorities eligible for various minority-only benefits to business. Go back to pre-1982 when they were just Caucasians not entitled to racial spoils. Right now, South Asians have a financial incentive to identify as victimized minorities — indeed, the applications Indian entrepreneurs have to fill out for government benefits in terms of procurement and loans often demand that they concoct narratives about how discriminated against they are by whites. Remove this destructive incentive and the traditional South Asian aspiration to whiteness will re-emerge.

• Tags: 2012 Election, India 
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From the Washington Post:

The elephant in the room 

By Kathleen Parker, Published: August 31 


Gazing out on the pale continent of the Republican National Convention … Where are the blacks? 

Notwithstanding the dazzling performance of Condoleezza Rice and the GOP’s raucous affection for her, African Americans are scarce in the party of Abraham Lincoln. Republicans can honestly boast of having once been the party of firsts. The first Hispanic, African American, Asian American and Native American in the Senate were all Republicans. But that was before the GOP went south, banished its centrists and embraced social conservatives in a no-exit marriage. 

The impression that Republicans don’t welcome blacks and other minorities is, however, demonstrably false. Note the number of minority Republican governors recently elected: Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Susana Martinez of New Mexico. Even so, the party is undeniably and overwhelmingly white, and minorities (and increasingly women) don’t feel at home there. …

African Americans are not a monolithic group, obviously, and many likely would find comfort in the promises of smaller government, lower taxes, balanced budgets, school choice and so on that Mitt Romney put on the table Thursday night. But this isn’t likely to happen. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 0?percent support for Romney among African Americans. (Zero doesn’t necessarily mean none but is a statistical null.) Obama also leads Latinos younger than 35 and women. Romney, alas, leads whites. 

Right, because what candidate in his right mind would want a majority of the majority? Doesn’t Romney know that the majority has cooties, that white people are icky, and that it’s only because of some outmoded tradition that an individual white person’s vote still counts just as much as the vote of a cooler individual? When is somebody going to do something about that anyway? And when are white people going to stop being so racist and be more like blacks and favor Obama 100-0?

• Tags: 2012 Election 
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From Slate:

Sixty percent of Milwaukee’s black voters have disappeared. … 

New data from Milwaukee give an indication of how dire the Democrats’ disappearing-voter problem already is. This spring, the League of Young Voters, which was created to mobilize young minority communities, collaborated with the liberal Wisconsin Voices coalition to dispatch teams of young canvassers. Starting in April, they spent eight weeks knocking on 120,882 doors across 208 of Milwaukee’s 317 wards to raise awareness of the gubernatorial recall election scheduled for June.  The doors had one thing in common: the voter file said they were all home to a registered voter whom a commercial data vendor had flagged as likely to be African-American. 

But the voter file represented a fiction, or at least a reality that had rapidly become out of date.  During those eight weeks, canvassers were able to successfully find and interact with only 31 percent of their targets. Twice that number were confirmed to no longer live at the address on file  — either because a structure was abandoned or condemned, or if a current resident reported that the targeted voter no longer lived there. 

Based on those results, the New Organizing Institute, a Washington-based best-practices lab for lefty field operations, extrapolated that nearly 160,000 African-American voters in Milwaukee were no longer reachable at their last documented address — representing 41 percent of the city’s 2008 electorate. 

The problem with this article is that there is no control group of other voters to see what percentage of them have disappeared.

In general, however, the Democrats would win a lot more elections if they could just find their voters to remind them that today’s Election Day and to not screw up their ballots. More people who went to the polls in Florida in 2000 wanted to vote for Al Gore than for George W. Bush, but a higher percentage of Gore voters failed to mark their ballots properly, thus giving America a second President Bush.

• Tags: 2012 Election 
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I actually like Mitt Romney, but I have no idea if he’ll make a good President. 

One concern I’ve heard is the notion that he’s a prime product of the general healthiness of Mormon culture. Mormons try to set up their lives to have a lot of good influences from other Mormons around them. But it gets pretty lonely in the White House, and it’s a new set of challenges. (Also, despite his looks, he’s not young anymore.)

By way of analogy, think of the late Neil Armstrong. He was a prime product of the general healthiness of mid-20th Century American culture (which Mormons continue continue to espouse, which is why they are considered so weird and creepy today). American culture had systems in place that produced a lot of competent, brave, altruistic, and modest people, few more so than Armstrong. And part of that modesty was that he didn’t much mind being viewed less as a unique superman and more as proof that the systems worked. He didn’t run for President.

Today, we have a sense that our society’s general systems don’t work that well, so we are more invested in longshot hopes placed upon space oddities like Obama.

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From the Washington Post:

Julian Castro, Latino mayor of San Antonio, to keynote DNC convention

By Nia-Malika Henderson, Tuesday, July 31, 6:01 PM 

Eight summers ago, a fresh faced politician took to the podium for a keynote address at the Democratic convention that launched him onto the national stage and a path to the White House. 

Among the viewers of then Sen. Barack Obama’s national debut was Julian Castro, now mayor of San Antonio, who will follow in Obama’s footsteps as keynote speaker at the Democratic convention this year in Charlotte. 

In picking Castro, Democrats are acknowledging the power of the Latino vote in the 2012 race for the White House and the changing demographics across the country. In attempting to fill Obama’s shoes, Castro, 37, is set to raise his national profile and lay the foundation for possible statewide or national ambitions. 

“He could be the first Latino President or Vice President and it would be reasonable to suggest that Julian would be well positioned to be the Democratic nominee for Texas Governor, ” said Walter Clark Wilson a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

Back in May 2010, I wrote a article about Castro as the next Obama-like Blank Screen to be touted for President, and pointing out what a joke this all was:

Despite all the national hype about Mayor Castro, he holds a largely meaningless job with few duties. “The daily business of San Antonio is conducted by a professional city manager,” Chafets notes. Indeed, San Antonio’s city manager is paid $275,000 annually, while the mayor earns about $3,000. Not surprisingly, only 9.83 percent of San Antonio’s registered voters bothered to vote in the Mayoral contest last year.

• Tags: 2012 Election, Politicians 
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Here’s the most prominently featured article on today, one that exemplifies a number of my old themes:

Presidential campaigns missing the mark in advertising to Latinos 

President Obama and Mitt Romney have yet to adopt a nuanced approach to targeting the country’s 21.3 million Latino voters, Spanish-language media experts say. 

We all ought to know by now that a huge amount of journalism consists of reporters synthesizing materials provided by paid PR flacks. Obviously, reporters appreciate this. They don’t mention it because they don’t want to offend the folks who do much of the work for them by pointing out that the “experts” who return their messages so promptly with cut and paste talking points have glaring financial conflicts of interest. So, readers must keep this in mind.

But, how obvious is all this to readers? How obvious is it to reporters, even? I’ve read thousands of articles over the years that quote these Latino political consultants as objective experts, and maybe a half dozen articles pointing out their financial interestedness. There is very little evidence whatsoever that mainstream media understands what it doesn’t mention. Here’s a rule of the long-term effect of self-censorship in public discourse: What goes unsaid eventually goes unthought.

Both political parties agree that the country’s 21.3 million registered Latino voters could make a crucial difference in this year’s presidential election. 

Yet in a race defined by massive spending on television ads, fast-response Internet videos and sophisticated social media efforts, both President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney have fallen short thus far when it comes to targeting Latino voters electronically, according to some Spanish-language media experts. 

Republican candidate Romney trails Obama badly among Latinos, according to polls released last week, and isn’t counting on them to propel him to victory. Even so, his Spanish-language advertising has been minimal and clumsy, the experts said. 

Some of his ads are simply translated versions of his English-language commercials — a particular no-no when trying to reach Latino consumers. 

Are there many people voting who don’t speak English? If so, why?

Furthermore, from an honest government perspective, why is it a good thing for a candidate to say one thing in one language and something else in another language? If Romney is going to advertise in languages other than English, I am least reassured to learn that he’s trying to say the same thing in all languages.

Obama has spent more heavily, and created more effective ads than his rival, but some experts said that so far he has failed to craft a campaign that keeps pace with the rapidly increasing size and sophistication of the Latino population, which climbed to 50.5 million in the 2010 census, from 35.3 million a decade earlier.

Those experts would say that, wouldn’t they?

Neither campaign has adopted the approach honed over the years by businesses targeting Spanish speakers — one that not only depicts Latinos in positive settings, but also reflects attention to cultural nuance. A truck ad in the Midwest, for example, will show American flags and beer-drinking men, while an ad for the same truck in Arizona will depict Latino men hauling construction equipment and managing their farms.

“In the TV world, there’s incredible sensitivity to trying to get Latinos excited; there’s tons of money spent on ‘how do we get this demographic to like our product?’” said Matt Barreto, a prominent Latino pollster at the University of Washington. “The political world has been very slow to change.” 

A more subtle point is the merger over time of the sympathies of journalists and marketers. In Ben Hecht’s day, reporters tended to be cynical wiseacres, but today they tend to view marketing campaigns the way movie fanboys view marketing campaigns for summer blockbusters: as enthusiasts, as admirers of the arts of trailer trickery, whose only objection is that they think they, personally, could do an even more awesome job.

Some marketing experts say Romney’s Spanish-language efforts suggest he’s abandoned hope altogether of reaching the Latino community. Polls indicate the same — an NBC/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll showed Obama led Romney 66% to 26% among Latino voters. 

Romney’s campaign has released two Spanish-language video ads so far — “Día Uno” and “Van Bien?” — but both are directly translated from identical ads in English, a blunder in Spanish-language marketing, said Glenn Llopis, founder of the Center for Hispanic Leadership. 

“You can’t just translate these things,” Llopis said. “That’s where a lot of these marketing things go wrong. They need to be customized, form-fitted. If the Hispanic community thinks you’re just translating and not creating a campaign that speaks to them, they’ll just shut off.”

Glenn Llopis could no doubt provide the Romney campaign with a list of friends and relatives of his they could hire.

The ads also don’t talk about issues such as healthcare and education that are important to Latino voters, many of whom are uninsured and benefit from policies such as Obama’s healthcare law.

Obviously, Romney should hire a whole bunch of Hispanic marketing experts who, at vast expense, would come up with a brilliant marketing plan of some sort to delude Hispanics into voting against their rational self-interests.

Seriously, having looked at countless polls of Latino voters over the years, they strike me as far more sensibly straight-forward voters than white people. The majority of Hispanics vote for the tax and spend / affirmative action party because they net benefit from the Democrats’ tax and spend and affirmative action policies. Further, Hispanic voters seem relatively immune to the complex semi-self-deluded meta-reasons that white voters are prone to, which makes whites such fascinating prey for political marketers.

What’s more, some of the phrases in those ads are awkwardly translated, said Melisa Diaz, a Latino media consultant based inWashington, D.C., who has worked for the Democratic National Committee. 

“Doing Fine?” would be more accurately translated as “Las cosas están bien?” Diaz said, while the proper phrase to convey “the right direction” would be “la dirección correcta,” not “la buena dirección,” as used in the ads. And the English idiom “Day One” would be better if phrased “El Primer Día,” not “Día Uno,” Diaz said. 

“These kind of mistakes would not happen in an English-language ad,” she said. “You can tell that the ads were not proofed by a native speaker.”

Like, say, Melisa Diaz.

“In every way, he’s not really courting the Latino vote,” Barreto said. “He’s doing as little as possible.” 

That includes spending — Romney spent just $33,000 on Spanish-language ads between mid-April and mid-June in the battleground states of North Carolina and Ohio, while Obama spent $1.7 million over the same period, according to SMG-Delta. 

Maybe, I’m out of date on business arrangements, but the traditional way it worked was that political consultants also own agencies that bought advertising spa
ce in the media. Indeed, a main source of compensation was for them to pocket 15% of the ad budget in return for placing the ad buys. Not surprisingly, that gives these “experts” an incentive to advocate spending more on ads.

Here’s a more interesting part of the article:

Perhaps the Romney campaign is paying close attention to studies that show advertising in Spanish can turn off white and black voters. When white and black audiences saw ads with a Latino endorsement or in Spanish, their support for a candidate dropped, said Ricardo Ramirez, a professor of political science at Notre Dame. 

“We know that appearing more inclusive by outreaching toward Latinos seems to work well for immigrants, but it seems to have a negative impact on blacks and whites,” he said.

Who make up close to 7/8ths of the voters.

• Tags: 2012 Election 
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From the L.A. Times:

Analysis: Romney-Obama race dividing U.S. along fault lines 

By Paul West 

Increasingly, the 2012 presidential election appears to be dividing along a pair of fault-lines. 

The first is demographic: old versus new America. 

President Obama’s reelection depends increasingly on a coalition of minorities and younger voters, the same groups that helped put him in office. Their overall numbers are increasing, but the president’s ability to turn them out this year at anywhere close to 2008 levels remains in doubt (at least among Latinos and younger whites; the black vote is virtually certain to be there again for Obama). Their potential explains why Democrats have sought to portray the election as the future against the past. 

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, is likely to become president only if he can improve on John McCain’s performance among whites, who represent a declining share of the U.S. population. The GOP candidate’s  recent campaign swings have been through areas where whites make up a disproportionate share of the population — including portions of the old Midwest Rust belt and southwest Virginia. A potential key to mobilizing conservative whites: voter drives by Christian organizations to sign up millions of unregistered evangelicals; one of Romney’s biggest advantages over Obama, according to the Gallup Poll, comes from religious whites, who favor the Republican by better than 2-to-1.

The huge advantage that Obama possesses is that in The Narrative, his pandering (e.g., declaring he won’t enforce immigration laws to get more Hispanic votes) is admirable because he’s on the side of the right kind of people (e.g., gays, Latinos, single moms, etc.). In contrast, what Romney has to do is shameful because they are the wrong kind of people. 

On the other hand, twine and duct tape coalitions like Obama’s are inherently unstable. But doing anything to exploit that would be “divisive,” and we can’t have that.

• Tags: 2012 Election 
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Thomas Edsall in the New York Times has a post, White Working Chaos, on the various disputes among social scientists such as Andrew Gelman, William Frey, and Larry Bartels on the voting patterns of the white working class. 

Allow me to offer a theory that I haven’t tested directly, but doesn’t even come up: a main cause of confusion is overlooking the voting impact of the decline of being married among the white working class.

As I pointed out after the 2004 election:

Bush carried merely 44% of the single white females but 61% of the married white women—a 17 point difference. 

Among white men, Bush won 53% of the singles and 66% of the married—a 13 point difference.

Now, that’s for all classes, but as Charles Murray’s Coming Apart finally got the chattering class to notice, the upper classes of white people continue to be married at a fairly high rate, but not so for the white working class and lumprenproles.

Logically, this would suggest that the GOP would favor policies that would encourage white people to marry — e.g., the Ben Franklin idea of high wages and low land prices — but that’s simply off the mental radar.

• Tags: 2012 Election 
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From the WSJ:

Mitt Romney promised Latino leaders a long-term fix for immigration policy and short-term relief for immigrants in a speech Thursday that was notably softer in tone than when he was battling to win the Republican presidential nomination. 

In a calibrated attempt to attract Latino voters without alienating some in his own party, Mr. Romney spoke of bipartisan solutions he would pursue as president. He pledged … to let those with advanced degrees remain in the U.S. …

Now, that’s some brilliant politicking, Mitt: With your speech to Latino leaders today, you’ve definitely picked up some of that crucial voting bloc of Hispanic American citizens who are closely related to illegal immigrants with advanced degrees. You just keep listening to what the WSJ and NYT tell you and you can’t go wrong.

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Wisconsin has long been an interesting state, fairly rural but with a high-proportion of well-run family farms. It’s usually been an example of D.P. Moynihan’s Close to the Canadian Border effect (except for its blacks, who appear to have been largely recruited from the South by the generous European-style social benefits offered post WWII). 

A reader tries to make sense of recent voting changes on a county by county level, using the evenly split 2004 Presidential election as a baseline:

[1] that among conservative Catholics there has been a distinct upswing in favor of the Republicans and[2] that among lax Catholics there has been an equally distinct, albeit not so pronounced upward swing. Specifically, in the 2010 governorship race, conservative ‘over-voted’ their 2004 baseline numbers by an average of 3.5%. In the 2012 recall election, they ‘over-voted’ the 2004 baseline by almost 14%. Among lax Catholics the 2010 ‘over-vote’ was about 3%, whereas in the 2012 recall it was almost 8%. 

I suspect that the 2010 shift in favor of the Republican side was, to at least some extent, a referendum on the Obama Administration’s economic performance. I further suspect that–again, to at least some extent–that the significant upward swing in 2012 reflects anger with the ham-handed behavior of the Administration in regard to the medical insurance mandate relating to abortifacients. If my data reflect reality and if my interpretation of these data is anywhere near accurate, I believe that Mitt Romney has an reasonable chance to carry Wisconsin in November.

Managing a Coalition of the Diverse is always going to be a challenge, especially if the opposition tries Divide and Conquer techniques on them.

• Tags: 2012 Election 
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The New York Times notices something I’ve been mentioning for about a dozen years:

Latino Growth Not Fully Felt at Voting Booth

DENVER — The nation’s rapidly growing Latino population is one of the most powerful forces working in President Obama’s favor in many of the states that will determine his contest with Mitt Romney. But Latinos are not registering or voting in numbers that fully reflect their potential strength, leaving Hispanic leaders frustrated and Democrats worried as they increase efforts to rally Latino support. 

Interviews with Latino voters across the country suggested a range of reasons for what has become, over a decade, an entrenched pattern of nonparticipation, ranging from a distrust of government to a fear of what many see as an intimidating effort by law enforcement and political leaders to crack down on immigrants, legal or not.

Not to mention the distractingly frequent showings of The Fast and Furious movies on cable TV. 

• Tags: 2012 Election 
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Here are excerpts from a review I published in in 2003 of a book written by Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and her daughter:

Huge numbers of mothers entered the labor force over the last few decades. And the inflation-adjusted price of food, clothing, appliances, electronics etc. dropped sharply. So how come we don’t feel like we’ve got a lot more discretionary income than our single-income parents had? 

A wise and readable new public policy book called The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke provides a simple answer: 

We don’t have more discretionary income than our single-income parents had. 

The mother and daughter team of Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren and former McKinsey consultant Amelia Warren Tyagi explain: “The average two-income family earns far more today than did the single-breadwinner family of a generation ago. And yet, once they have paid the mortgage, the car payments, the taxes, the health insurance, and the day-care bills, today’s dual-income families have less discretionary—and less money to put away for a rainy day—than the single-income family of a generation ago.” 

The two authors note: “The brunt of the price increases has fallen on families with children. Data from the Federal Reserve show that the median home value for the average childless individual increased by 23 percent between 1983 and 1998 … (adjusted for inflation). For married couples with children, however, housing prices shot up 79 percent—more than three times faster.” 

For example, in August, the median price of a single-family home in pleasant, suburban Ventura County west of Los Angeles was $480,000. 

Many economists shrug that this vast rise in prices increases Americans’ net worth. “But that net worth isn’t worth anything,” the two women point out, “unless a family plans to sell its home and live in a cave, because the next house the family buys would carry a similarly outrageous price tag.” 

… The biggest single cause of this growing financial stress on middle-income parents: the breakdown of much of the public education system. As Warren and Tyagi note, “Even as millions of mothers marched into the workforce, savings declined, and not, as we will show, because families were frittering away their paychecks on toys for themselves or their children. Instead, families were swept up in a bidding war, competing furiously with one another for their most important possession: a house in a decent school district… ” …

But what causes “bad schools”? 

Here the authors play it coy. I can hardly blame them. Almost everybody uses “bad schools” as a euphemism. Who wants to become a pariah for telling the truth?   

And for a book about the economics and law of personal bankruptcy, The Two-Income Trap is full of well-crafted zingers. I came away just plain liking these two ladies and their down-to-earth approach based on both formal data and the realities of daily life. 

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It’s a truism in the study of politics in the Third World that the real test of democracy is not voting a president in but voting him (and his party and/or relatives) out. 

That’s true in the First World, too. For example, I was a little surprised in 1981 that The Economist was relatively enthusiastic that in the French election that year the Socialist Mitterand had taken power from the Gaullist Giscard d’Estaing and immediately set about soaking the rich. But, the magazine pointed out, the last time there had been a substantive change of power in France was in 1958 when de Gaulle came to office and that was during the mutiny of the French Army in Algeria, which had seized Corsica and was threatening to seize Paris. So, the defeat of the Gaullists and their good grace in accepting that defeat by, you know, leaving office marked a milestone in the maturation of French politics. 

The election of Barack Obama in 2008 as the first black president of the United States was widely celebrated as marking a step forward in American history. But nobody gave much thought at the time about whether large swathes of American voters and elites are mature enough to accept with good grace another step forward: a black man being voted out of the White House. 

The weird, hypersensitive frenzy that has entered American political life since Mitt Romney wrapped up the GOP nomination and the fall campaign began in earnest suggests that many people on the left of center would perceive Obama losing in 2012 not as just one of those things that happens in a democracy, as George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter can attest, but as a Giant Diss to blacks. This potential Triumph of Racism (as they perceive it in their Who-Whom worldview) would be intolerable, so saying almost anything to ward off Obama’s defeat in November is morally justifiable.

• Tags: 2012 Election, Politics 
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The New York Times has finally picked up on that funny story I noticed last month (“George Lucas to show Marin dark side of the Force“) about how Mr. Star Wars’ neighbors in Marin County, where John McCain got only 20% of the vote in 2008, won’t let Lucas build a film studio on a fraction of the eight or so square miles he owns in Marin, so he’s decided to erect “low-income housing” there instead. The problem is that Marin is so exquisitely rich, liberal, and environmentally sensitive that you can qualify as low income there while making $88,000 per year, so George probably won’t get away with erecting Hunter’s Point North as his vengeance. The development will likely wind up being restricted to, say, widowed Marin school teachers or something similarly nonvibrant. 

On the other hand, George might have some domestic motivation to go all the way in trying to bring diversity to Marin. His girlfriend is Mellody Hobson. She is president of Ariel Investments, the money management firm founded by John W. Rogers Jr., former Princeton basketball teammate of and then employer of Craig Robinson, the brother-in-law of Barack Obama, whose Administration has been giving Marin County the evil eye legally for not being diverse enough. 

This little tiff in Marin reminds me that keeping Obama’s Coalition of the Diverse together is going to be a full time job, requiring nonstop demonization of the Nondiverse as being divisive in order to distract attention from inevitable internal divisions among the Diverse.

By the way, John W. Rogers was a childhood friend of Obama’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan. A reader explains:

Okay, I think I see what’s going on: George Lucas is enabling Arne Duncan to create a network of militarized charter schools to raise a Clone Army of people dumb enough to want to watch George’s movies.

By the byway, in this photo, Spike Lee’s wife appears adorably nerdetteish. She looks as if she were genuinely thrilled to meet her childhood hero George Lucas.

• Tags: 2012 Election 
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Jehu at Chariot of Reaction writes:

Providing adult supervision to government is probably the most winning narrative [Romney] can convincingly put forward—other than the default narrative that I suck a reasonable amount less than does Obama, and the press will actually criticize me when I do evil things, and the permanent bureaucracy will resist my crazier schemes more so than it would resist Obama.  That narrative has the advantage of being God’s honest truth, but it’s unlikely to actually inspire many people. 

Actually aggressively attacking things that people actually hate probably would.  The list of things that the population hates is pretty damned long, but the TSA [i.e., airport security] has bipartisan hatred and even substantial hatred among self-styled cultural elites.  Hang a TSA uniform on Obama and beat him like a pinata.

“Frequent fliers” — the people who make the 7am flight to DFW a few times a month or more — pretty much keep the country running. (I say this as somebody who flies as infrequently as possible.) They wouldn’t be a bad class to cultivate.

“Providing adult supervision to government” — I like that slogan, even if nobody else does.

• Tags: 2012 Election, Politics 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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