When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States the country received kudos from all over the world. The consensus was America, in the eyes of the world, truly was the place where freedom rang for “everyone.” In light of the recent election can we wonder why this might have changed? Up until 2008 only older white men had been elected to the presidency. Obama became the first non-white elected to the highest office in the land. The leader of the free world was indeed African American despite having a Caucasian mother.
The GOP, especially Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is already on the record stating his main goal is to insure Obama is a one term president. This of course means just about doing anything from blocking legislation to attack advertising to make sure it gets done.
Two sets of statistics show there is more to keeping Obama to just one term than meets the eye. Charges of racism have been hurled before. Liberals called the Tea Party a band of racists. There is a lot of support from the left for this view. We’re talking here mainly however about the established Right; the GOP and its leadership and direction. This despite the fact the head of the Republican National Committee is Black himself.
In a previous column it was stated here the move by the GOP from the beginning bore racial overtones. In the first 48 weekly radio addresses given by the Republicans on Saturday mornings over 80 percent either came from former Slave or border states, or from states with large urban Black populations. The significance is this; all of the speeches directly attacked President Obama himself along with the Democrats. Make no mistake about it though, the President was Target One.
Those speakers from the South were reinforcing the age old stereotypes and attacking a Black politician who happened to be President. The words were masked but the meaning was clear. Those from states with large urban area’s holding a black population were targeted in similar ways. Anyone who grew up in the last 50 years cannot think of Detroit, Philadelphia, Newark or Chicago without thinking negatively about the race riots which began in the 1960’s and went past that time. These are engrained in our psyche, especially for older voters.
Now fast forward to the November 2nd election. Look at the same mix and add in those states where there has been harsh news regarding ethnic populations. Arizona tops the list and it is understood Idaho and the Dakota’s are not bastions of ethnic liberalism. Of the 34 states where Republicans picked up 54 seats, 81.4 percent fit into the categories described above; former Slave or Border States, states with large urban black populations and states where there has been recent news and unrest regarding minority populations.
The breakdown looks like this: 21 from former Slave or Border States, 15 from states with larger urban Black populations and five from the third category. Of the Southern States 12 came from Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia. Of the states with urban areas there were also 12. Illinois (Chicago), Ohio (Cleveland, Cincinnati) and Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). It should be noted the two most populous states with large urban Black populations (New York, California) lost six seats between them to the GOP despite their more liberal tendencies.
The GOP in its weekly addresses reached 80 percent in it’s targeting here and achieved 81 percent in the final outcome. With this targeting and manipulation, did an African American President and his Democratic constituency ever have a chance?
If world opinion had its way the re-election of Barack Obama would be just as important as the election in 2008. The fear is if Obama is not elected for a second term the far Right will use this to keep anyone of color as well as women from being elected the leader of the free world in the future.