Obama’s Effect on Race Relations
A few weeks ago, Dan Yorke brought one of his coworkers (a sports guy) into the studio to discuss his Massachusetts primary vote for Barack Obama. That coworker characterized himself as the only non-racist person he knew and sought to explain why it was appropriate to look at Obama and see only a black man who would help to advance race relations in America.
Dan posed the question of whether that approach to voting was racist. To those who’d say “no,” because the vote wouldn’t be motivated by the candidate’s race so much as his effect on a particular issue of defining import in this country, I’d ask whether the same would hold true for somebody who voted the other way for the same reason. That is, would it be racist to vote against a black man simply because the voter believes that doing so would exacerbate race relations?
John Derbyshire offered some thoughts in this line over in the Corner, yesterday:
… Imagine an Obama presidency overwhelmed and floundering, like Carter’s. There are enough issues, domestic and foreign, coming down the pike to make this very possible — you know them, I don’t need to enumerate. Black Americans will of course go on voting for the party of a black president regardless. Nonblacks will flee from the Democrats in droves, though. A Republican landslide in the 2010 midterms (think 1994); a clear GOP victory in 2012 (think 1980).
By that point the Democratic Party might be nothing other than the party of black Americans. To the degree that black and nonblack Americans get on with each other at all, it is largely thanks to the coalition of black citizens and nonblack liberals and interest groups represented in the national political life by the Democratic Party. A permanent sundering of that coalition would be greatly to America’s peril. Black Americans would be shut out of our political life.
Plausible? More to the point, even assuming it’s plausible, would it (of itself) justify an anti-Barack vote?