I don’t blame African-Americans for voting for Obama

By Tom Quiner

Nine out of ten blacks are going to vote for Barack Obama. Maybe more.

Conservatives understandably bristle when they see these polls. Suppose 90% of whites voted for Romney, they grouse. Wouldn’t that be proof of racism?

Well then, goes the argument, why isn’t it racist for blacks to so overwhelmingly vote for Obama?

For the same reason it was understandable that Catholics voted so overwhelmingly for John Kennedy.

It’s the same reason that Mormons will vote overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney.

When you are a member of an oppressed group, as blacks, Catholics, and Mormons have been at times in our history, you’re going to vote for the candidate representing your group as a show of solidarity. You will continue to do so until your group’s representation in the polity becomes commonplace.

The president will most likely garner fewer votes from blacks than in 2008, but it will still be substantial.

Mr. Obama’s election was an important symbol that America is moving into a post-racial era. After all, he won the most white votes in any 2-way campaign since Carter in ’76. White voters confirmed that they are willing to judge a candidate by the content of his or her character, resume’, and potential rather than the color of their skin.

We didn’t know a lot about Barack Obama’s character four years ago. His resume was thin, and his past sketchy. But he sounded good. He inspired people regardless of their skin color. His potential was great in the eyes of many. In particular, we saw in him the opportunity to put an end to racial divisions.

He has squandered that opportunity in the eyes of many. A Gallup poll revealed Obama’s election has had little impact on racial politics.

Political commentator, Star Parker, who is African-American analyzed our racial state of affairs this way:

“The Obama presidency has not ushered in a new era of racial tranquility because, despite all the hype, it’s not what it has been about. The real tension in America today is not about black versus white but about liberalism versus conservatism.

Liberalism is about government as a political agent, not as a protector of individual freedom. By it’s very nature, liberalism creates political classes – whether based on race or gender or business interests. Those that get the goodies are happy. Those that pay for them are not. Tensions and animosities get worse, not better.”

Conservatives can make a compelling case to African Americans that a Mitt Romney presidency would create more opportunity for them. The reality is that there is very little that can be said to pry black voters away from Barack Obama.

I get it.

But I don’t like it.


  1. illero on November 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Actually, though, I am pretty sure I saw something indicating that in past presidential elections black Americans have voted about 89-90% for Democratic Party candidates. Have you seen that? If true, 1) having a black candidate didn’t really have room to boost the proportion of black supporters all that much, and 2) we still have the problem of why black Americans have voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic candidate, whether white or black.

    • quinersdiner on November 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      I know the percentage has always been high. It went about as high as it can go with Obama. Now it has no where to go but down!

  2. d. knapp on December 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Obama said he’d have won if he’d run for a 3rd term. Despite our problems under him, i think he’s right. The majority were against the ACA in 2012, but he still won. The sentiment that we were going in the wrong direction has been strong for 5 yrs but he won again,and I think he would again…b/c so many don’t “like” Trump. I liked Reagan. He reminded me of a grand dad. I think I’d like Trump. He reminds me of a guy friend I might have to challenge now and then, but he’d be willing to argue w/ me. Thank goodness he cant run again. He has a cult of personality on the order of JFK. I don’t see it, but it’s there for much of the country. Maybe w/o Obama the African American community can b/c free of the dem. goals for them.

    • quinersdiner on December 29, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      I’m not convinced Obama could have won. His popularity went up only because he wasn’t on the ballot. A bruising campaign would have left him just as vulnerable as Hillary. But it’s a non-issue. He brought it up because he is a vain man who needs to remain relevant.