Monday, November 10, 2008

Election Postmortems

It’s never too soon (or too late) to run through exit polls and try to determine who “won” the election for Barack Obama. Ruth Rosen published a controversial take that attributes Obama’s victory to women; Kevin Drum disagrees, and thinks it’s more about men.

The weird thing about the constant parsing of the general electoral vote into different groups based on gender or race is that as soon as a group of people starts voting consistently, they seem to stop mattering. Any “Intro to Poli-Sci” class will tell you that one of the most remarkably consistent voting blocs is African Americans, a group tends to vote for Democrats by above 90 percent. As a result, how African Americans were voting became more or less irrelevant (until they “passed” Prop. 8 in California) in the general election. It’s the same with unmarried women and women of color. Young people may begin to fall into that category as well given their performance in this election.

What I find useless about this kind of analysis — only looking at the “swing voters” who tend to be white and middle class — is that a lot of really relevant issues get left out of the debate, and those that are loyal to progressive causes get pushed aside in favor of claiming victory for a sub-group. I understand that this is the nature of the best when it comes to election postmortems, but let’s avoid pinning an award on the category of the electorate that made the biggest “swing” in the election.

Cross posted at Pushback.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...