Comparison of how whites in deep South states voted appears to show that for in substantial number of whites Obama’s race was the deciding factor in voting for McCain. This is in contrast to much of the rest of the country where the percentage of whites voting for the Democratic presidential candidate exceeded the percentage in 2004.
Southern counties that voted more heavily Republican this year than in 2004 tended to be poorer, less educated and whiter, a statistical analysis by The New York Times shows. Mr. Obama won in only 44 counties in the Appalachian belt, a stretch of 410 counties that runs from New York to Mississippi. Many of those counties, rural and isolated, have been less exposed to the diversity, educational achievement and economic progress experienced by more prosperous areas.
“Race continues to play a major role in the state,” said Glenn Feldman, a historian at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. “Alabama, unfortunately, continues to remain shackled to the bonds of yesterday.”
David Bositis, senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, pointed out that the 18 percent share of whites that voted for Senator John Kerry in 2004 was almost cut in half for Mr. Obama.
“There’s no other explanation than race,” he said.
Don Dollar, the administrative assistant at City Hall, said bitterly that anyone not upset with Mr. Obama’s victory should seek religious forgiveness.
“This is a community that’s supposed to be filled with a bunch of Christian folks,” he said. “If they’re not disappointed, they need to be at the altar.”
“I am concerned,” Gail McDaniel, who owns a cosmetics business, said in the parking lot of the Shop and Save. “The abortion thing bothers me. Same-sex marriage.”
“I think there are going to be outbreaks from blacks,” she added. “From where I’m from, this is going to give them the right to be more aggressive.”
While not explicitly referring to a Southern strategy, David Brooks foresees a national Republican party that will go choose insularity over reform:
…this embattled-movement mythology provides a rationale for crushing dissent, purging deviationists and enforcing doctrinal purity. It has allowed the old leaders to define who is a true conservative and who is not. It has enabled them to maintain control of (an ever more rigid) movement.
In short, the Republican Party will probably veer right in the years ahead, and suffer more defeats.
At the same time, many pundits have said Obama was elected by a country which twice elected George Bush and the country is still essentially center-right, as witnessed by Prop 8 and Obama’s calculated reluctance to make an unequivocal position on gay marriage or the second amendment.
For more on racism, there’s this:
Reporters with 16 WAPT News received several calls from upset parents that said a school bus driver told the children on a Pearl school bus that if they said Obama’s name, they would be written up and taken to the principal’s office for disciplinary reasons.
Another parent said that a coach at Pearl Junior High School told students that if they speak Obama’s name, they would face expulsion.
“I did have two incidents and the principals did review the bus-driver tapes. It appears that some persons, out of disappointment and disillusionment with the election, may have been so frustrated that they said something inappropriate to students,” Pearl Schools Superintendent John Ladner said. “We have taken appropriate steps with the bus driver and the coach.”
And, in the Northeast, these troubling stories.