Ramifications of the 2012 U.S. Federal Election: A New Manifestation of Social Schisms: Race

The Presidential U.S. Election of 2012 exposed another emerging and dangerous schism in that nation. In addition to cultural and class wars, we must add that of race or tribe. In a nation, whereby those of European ethnicity handed a landslide trouncing to the incumbent black president (39% versus 59%), the wishes of this 63.4% of the population and 72% of the electorate, was overturned by an even greater margin amongst its ethnic minorities.1 It was a repeat of the 2008 election but with intensification of the tribal schisms. In 2008, the overturning of a sizable majority white vote (43% – 55%) could be understood in the context of a disastrous preceding presidency.2 However, in that the current administration has been equally incompetent; those rationalizations wear very thin, this go-around. For many who supported him, Obama might be a disaster. But he is our boy!

The fact that 93 – 95% of the black electorate voted for one of their skin coloration destroys the last vestige of the noble “I Have a Dream” legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. It is apparent that the dream “that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” need only apply to that tribe’s adversaries. The moral credibility of that sentiment has been undermined by the extreme tribalism of King’s own tribe. And in loose sociopolitical adaptation of Newton’s Third Law of Motion; “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”; it is the inevitability of human nature that a corresponding subterranean movement of an intensifying Caucasian ‘closing of the ranks’ will ensue in response. This is not a dynamic peculiar to the United States. The intensifying racial/cultural divide, which has spawned radical nativist and even Fascist movements in Europe, is testimony to this modern rendition of an ancient, enduring and universal reality.

However, hardening endemic racial attitudes are less causative to the racial divides. Rather, these are incidental consequences of the other schisms. This is not to suggest racism on both sides has not resurged; as attested by silly conspiratorial theories, like those trumpeted by Donald Trump (i.e. Birthers).

Rather, America’s minorities are of a radically different cultural mindset to the traditional American heritage. The socioeconomic environment in which such minorities find themselves is conducive to rejecting the civic religion of that tradition. And though less causative; this radical difference and rejection will spawn a racial manifestation by those who see these minorities as palpable threats to that traditional ethic, an ethic, which is believed as having made America great. And in being superseded by another ethic, America is perceived threatened with diminishing and devastation. In this, a future resurgence of racism would be more powerful and intractable because of more credible foundations than those of the past.

Regardless of all other elements of this racial alienation, ‘white’ traditional America is suffering political blowback for its failure to address the economic disparity and ensuing loss of mobility; to which visible minorities are palpably visible. In short vacations to the Eastern seaboard in the last decade or so; even though I was aware of stronger racial divisions in the U.S. than at home, I was stunned to the extent by which visible minorities act as the economic underclass.

Both political factions have failed in this regard. The traditional Right continues to preach a ‘lift oneself by one’s boot straps’ self-righteous capitalist ethic in the face of a playing field that has become inordinately tilted. The traditional Left has placated the less fortunate with ‘bread and circuses’ entitlements, which calcify the underclass into permanency. However, from the partisan perspective of the Right, the onus is upon them to resolve the extreme disparities in income and wealth. Politically, the short-term prospects of the Left are good, by merely middling through with the status quo.

  1. Edison Research as reported by (Lydia Warrant) Daily Mail U.K., “Record number of Hispanic and Asian voters head to the polls to help Obama secure second term – as his support among whites plummets”, November 7, 2012, (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2229225/Presidential-election-2012-Record-number-Hispanic-voters-head-polls.html),  November 6, 2012 Exit Polls (25,565 voters included 4,408 early/absentee voters contacted Oct 29 – Nov 4, 2012).
  2. Edison Research, November 4, 2012 Exit Polls (18,012 voters included 2,378 early/absentee respondents contacted October 24-November 2, 2008. http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/elections/how_groups_voted/voted_08.html#.UKkkVGe8GSo

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