osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

The Demographic's of Rationalization

I find this AP story interesting.

Let me begin by saying that there are many people who support Hilary Clinton because they like her rather than don't want Obama, just as vice versa. But there has been a lingering question about whether the inability of Obama to win over older, white, working class Democrats is race related.

Again, we must be careful what we mean by "race related." I believe there is a wide range of complex human behavior between "racist" and "not-racist-but-there-is-all-this-unconscious-stuff -that-lurks-around-and-I-can't-even-talk-about-it-because-even-talking-about-it-would-make-me- racist-so-I-will-do-my-best-never-to-think-about-it-but-it's-still-down-there." This shows up a lot in other areas, such as the debate on gay marriage. Lots of people who think there is NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GAY just get all ooky inside when they think about gay marriage, and can't talk about it because admitting that would make them evil racists. Which is why people keep being surprised when state referendums to ban gay marriage pass.

What is also interesting is that people under a certain age who grew up in the liberal coast cities generally can't grok the attitude. It's like trying to understand how people once kept slaves. This is a fine example of Lois McMaster Bujold's quote that "some attitudes cannot be untaught, they must be outlived."

A few days ago, I was talking with a coworker of the under 35 set who simply could not get how people can remain so rivitted by the Rev. Wright. My theory was that Wright is useful for people who are experiencing the deep down ooky feeling. For people who just get that irrational panic at the thought of someone non-white as President, even though they are absolutely not racist, Wright provides the means of classing Obama with "them." The black people who are just, too angry, too crazy, too radical, and not normal like the rest of us.

Which brings us to the AP article. What is intriguing is that half the voters in Indiana say that the Wright thing had a big impact on them, but that these are the the same voters that were going to vote for Clinton anyway, based on previous primaries and previous polling data.

It's possible Wright swung some voters in the undecided. But can Rev. Wright really have been an "important factor" to almost 50% of the votes surveyed when the same percentage was saying well before the Wright thing got to prominence that they supported Clinton because she was more "experienced" or "electable" or whatever? Or is it more likely that Wright merely provides a convenient focus and symbol for a combination of things, including an inarticulable ook factor?

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