I said that it became clear early on Tuesday evening that Barack Obama was going to win the election, from the way that certain states that were thought to be close (like Pennsylvania) were called early for Obama and those that were thought to be possibly trending to Romney were not called.
But the dead give away were the expressions on the people at Fox News and the situation became blindingly clear at around 9:00 pm on Tuesday night when Bill O’Reilly made these incredible remarks.
The sentiments being expressed were astounding, viz. this country is no longer run by white men, who are the ones who represent ‘traditional’ America and that it is a scandal that their votes count the same as the votes of those moochers (Latinos and blacks and women and the young) who vote for Obama because they just want ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ and he will give it to them.
O’Reilly was channeling the feelings of aging rocker Ted Nugent, who said openly what O’Reilly was using coded language for. Nugent decried “pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters” and asking “What subhuman varmint believes others must pay for their obesity booze cellphones birth control abortions & lives?”
Another ‘respectable’ commentator Charles Krauthammer also goes into fantasyland, to first deny the breadth of the win and then arguing that this result was an aberration and that the Republican party needs to field an even more extreme candidate than Romney was in the next election. Yes, that is just what the party needs to win over the people who rejected it this time around.
But this view that Obama won with second-class votes is not limited to those who live in Fox News fantasyland. It is quite widespread as can be seen in this passage by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen writing in the popular newsletter Politico:
If President Barack Obama wins, he will be the popular choice of Hispanics, African-Americans, single women and highly educated urban whites. That’s what the polling has consistently shown in the final days of the campaign. It looks more likely than not that he will lose independents, and it’s possible he will get a lower percentage of white voters than George W. Bush got of Hispanic voters in 2000.
A broad mandate this is not. [My italics-MS]
Really? When you list a wide diversity of voters who have voted for a candidate, surely that is the very definition of a ‘broad mandate’? The authors probably thought they were saying something uncontroversial but Josh Marshall deconstructs their remarks to reveal the subtext, that what those reporters are really saying is, “Obama’s winning but not with the best votes. I mean really, if you can’t win with a broad cross-section of white people, can you really be said to represent the country? Really.”
Two days before the election, Kathleen Geier predicted that this would one of the excuses trotted in the wake of Romney’s defeat.
Another popular argument to try to discredit the president: hey, Obama may be “the choice of Hispanics, African-Americans, single women and highly educated urban whites,” but that’s not Amurka, buddy! Everyone knows that Amurka is white people. ‘Specially white people who are dudes. Oh, and of course, rich people! The notion non-whites, the poor, urban dwellers, and unmarried women are second-class citizens whose votes shouldn’t count is straight-up racism and sexism of the most despicable kind. Obama’s detractors will use prettied up phrases — they’ll say he didn’t win over “middle America” or (as per Atrios) “the heartland,” but what they mean is that the votes of those who don’t have white skin or possess a penis, or a piece of paper that legally connects them to a penis-holder, should not count. This argument is of course shameful and beneath contempt. and anyone who makes it should immediately be called on it.
Where does all this come from? As Adele Stan wrote on November 2, the Republican party and Romney campaign have been pushing this kind of coded language demonizing Obama during its entire campaign, in fact since even before the 2008 election, and so we should not be surprised at it emerging in its raw form when the bitterness of defeat lowers people’s guard and strips away the mask of gentility beneath which it has been hidden.