Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
Seth Stephen-Davidowitz for the NYT:
I performed the somewhat unpleasant task of ranking states and media markets in the United States based on the proportion of their Google searches that included the word “nigger(s).” This word was included in roughly the same number of Google searches as terms like “Lakers,” “Daily Show,” “migraine” and “economist.”
Once I figured out which parts of the country had the highest racially charged search rates, I could test whether Mr. Obama underperformed in these areas. I predicted how many votes Mr. Obama should have received based on how many votes John Kerry received in 2004 plus the average gain achieved by other 2008 Democratic Congressional candidates. The results were striking: The higher the racially charged search rate in an area, the worse Mr. Obama did.
Add up the totals throughout the country, and racial animus cost Mr. Obama three to five percentage points of the popular vote. In other words, racial prejudice gave John McCain the equivalent of a home-state advantage nationally.
Really telling. Direct anyone to this article who denies that racism factors into this race or into commentary regarding President Obama. Racism is not dead in this country. Decades of oppression, slavery, and bigotry do not just disappear. Instituional and social inequities are still so deeply intrenched in this country. We have to continue acknowledging racism and working to fight it.
Reading through my daily slew of news websites it’s hard to ignore the onslaught of articles regarding Obama’s ‘slip’ in an interview during which he said ’The private sector is doing fine’. One in particular, via MSNBC, caught my eye, not because of the issue in particular, rather for a comment on the treatment of the quotation itself. ’In context, the president was noting that the private sector is doing fine IN COMPARISON with the public sector, and the job numbers back that up. But in politics, the context often doesn’t matter.’
Perhaps in the world of sound bites ‘context often doesn’t matter’, but how is it that we have gone from ‘context is everything’ to ‘context often doesn’t matter’. Is this really the current state of media/politics/modern American thought that the greater context of a statement or idea is disregarded for the sake of manipulation in order to ‘win’. Wasn’t there once a time when knowing/researching the entirety of an issue was the standard of legitimacy? The emphasis on the world of ’politics’ is even more interesting because of its connotation that this world is one of its own, separate from some other more objective reality. I could think of no better way to describe this idea of ‘politics’ as arbitrary rule making/enforc(e)ing and power mongering that seems to define what was once Law.
Clearly this is a slippery slope into discussions of Law and the questioning of our mondern way of Being (casual subject matter nbd), but for now I’ll just leave it at this: if ‘context often doesn’t matter’, then what does?
Read the rest of the article here.
As usual, mainstream news media pouncing on the chance to misquote and misrepresent Obama and his “mistakes”…
When I was 17 years old, I committed voter fraud. I lied about my age (my 18th birthday birthday being in Decemeber, and the general election in November) so I could participate in what seemed then to be the most important election EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Remember this was the election where Proposition 2, a landmark animal cruelty bill, and Proposition 8, one of the most highly contested equal rights Amendments in modern history, were up for referendum…oh, and I guess some people voted for that Obama guy too.
If I sound flippant about the Obama election now, I was far more so in fall 2008. Obama, an institutional, centrist Democrat who supported Henry Paulson’s $700 billion TARP handout, campaigned on the promise of “clean coal” as a Illinios Senator and presidential candidate, and equivocated on social issues, including his support of gay marriage, marijuana prohibition, etc. from the outset of his candidacy. Obama’s campaign slogans of “HOPE” and “CHANGE”, which moved many supporters, Millenial or otherwise, to tears on the campaign trail, left me feeling more “cool story, bro” than “get out the vote!”.
However tepid my feelings are regarding Obama’s politics, I strongly feel he’s gotten a bad shake from a liberal constituency (particularly young voters) who feel cheated by a candidate who promised revolutionary political change, but whose legislative pace has proven to be more of the tortoise than the hare. Obama has worked exceedingly hard to pass substantive legislation, including unprecedented appeals to immovable Republican foes, and vigorous public campaigns for key initiatives such as his ‘Jobs bill’. But ironically, Obama’s concilliatory efforts to appease staunch Republican foes are the very thing that have weakened his appeal to young leftists the most; voters who are eager for a strong, progressive leader willing to make unilateral decisions regarding important political and social issues.
Hmmm…a charismatic leader willing to make unilateral decisions, opposition be damned? Sounds like what liberals, and many Millenial voters, want is a black, progressive George W. Bush, sans the nepotistic oil baron father and laughably muddled speeches.
Many people’s, especially young, passionate, (and frankly naive) young people’s, expectations of their political leaders are unrealistic. Sometimes they’re contradictory. Almost always they’re complicated, and in Obama’s case, they’re all three, all the time.
I don’t know whether Obama will “win” the college vote this November. Young people in royal blue California, particularly the anarcho/deep green hipsters I hang out with, aren’t really the most reliable pulse to dial into if you want to understand the collective political will of United States 20-somethings. Most of my friends are too pretentious to vote anyway, or are too busy reading “Infinite Jest” to read their voter pamphlets. However, I can say that I strongly disagree with Lawrence’s characterization of Millenial voters in one area: young people don’t give a shit about the “economy”. Young people don’t follow the jobs report, or understand what Romney’s role at Bain Capital was comprised of (I do, but I just spent the last two hours writing this forum post — I’m weird). If Obama wants to reach the hearts and minds of America’s youth this election, I would tell him to stick to social issues. Blast Romney for beating up gay kids at his preparatory school, pat himself on the back for finally unequivocally supporting gay marriage, drum up class sentiment by pointing to Romney’s tax return and awkward classist statements, and continue to portray the Repbulican party as the “Party of Aristocratic Misogynists 4 Free Markets and Global Inequality”. That should do fine.
Another take from someone who isn’t an avid Obama supporter, but brings up good points about the election, young voters, and the unfair treatment Obama has faced.
Page 1 of 2