Today`s Letter: MIT
Graduate Reader Says Race (Etc.), Not Income, Determined
Scott Brown`s stunning victory over
Martha Coakley is filled with national implications.
Of course, what makes his win so dramatic is that
Massachusetts is one of the
states in the country. Brown underlined this in his
victory speech when he said
"When there`s trouble in Massachusetts, rest assured, there`s trouble
everywhere, and they know it."
Democrats control Massachusetts`
entire Congressional delegation and Obama won the state
with a 26% margin in 2008. That a Republican can now win
a statewide election by over five points is truly
But if the GOP is to learn any
lessons about this election, they need to look at what
really makes Massachusetts different.
Massachusetts is blue—but it is also
still White. According to Census
estimates, 79.2% of the population is White, 8.6% is
Hispanic, 7% is Black, and 5% are Asian. In
2008 exit polls, Blacks made up 9% of the electorate
(probably disproportionately high because of the Obama
effect), whites made up 82% and Hispanics and Asians
both made up 3%.
While no one took exit polls on
Tuesday night, it is a very safe bet to assume that
Whites made up an even greater percentage of the
electorate this election than they did in 2008. Brown
won by getting huge numbers of white independents and
white Democrats to shift the GOP.
William F. Buckley famously
quipped that he would rather be governed by the
first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the
2000 members of the faculty of
Harvard University. But even the random white names
in the Boston phone book would normally have voted
Democratic. In 2008, Barack Obama won 59% of the white
vote in Massachusetts and John Kerry won 64% to retain
his senate seat. In contrast, only 43% of whites
nationwide voted for Obama.
However, aside from the Harvard
professors, most of the white Democrats in Massachusetts
are not liberals who are tied to the party out of
ideology. Rather, they are
Irish ethnics and
union members wedded to the Democratic machine for
cultural reasons. These people were
rioting when blacks were bussed into their
schools, but they
still voted for Ted Kennedy.
Republicans will never win the Harvard
professors over. But they can win over the white ethnics
and Union members, as Reagan and Nixon did in their
landslide reelections. Scott Brown did an outstanding
job appealing to this demographic. His campaign became
synonymous with his GMC Canyon pickup with 200,000 miles
on the odometer. As Peggy Noonan
noted, "He is
a regular guy, looks like an American."
Coakley made it clear she was with the
Harvard professors, not the phone book, when she
insulted Brown for shaking hands outside Fenway Park,
called Red Sox hero and Brown supporter
Curt Schilling a
"Yankee Fan," and said that the American people
were wrong on Health Care.
But as much as the national
Democrats want to put all the blame on Coakley, Brown
would not have been able to win were it not for the
enormous unpopularity among Barack Obama among whites.
And we cannot forget that Obama`s fall from grace among
began when he sided with black Harvard Professor
Henry Gates against
Irish-American Cambridge Cop James Crowley.
On July 22, when Barack Obama`s
approval ratings among whites was still well above 50%,
he said Crowley "acted
stupidly" in arresting black Harvard Professor
Henry Louis Gates for disorderly conduct and
racial profiling was involved.
Only 20% of whites believed Obama`s
comments on the incident were appropriate and his
approval ratings immediately plummeted among them.
Obama has not held a press
Brown made absolutely no comments on
Gatesgate or any other racial issues. But MSNBC
Keith Olbermann still
called him a
"reactionary" because he accepted support from the
Tea Party movement, which Olbermann is
collection of people who don`t want to admit why they
really hate since the racists of the South in the
sixties insisted they were really just concerned about
Scott Brown`s A `Homophobic, Racist, Teabagging
Supporter of Violence Against Women`,
NewBusters.com, January 18, 2010]
Olbermann`s comments actually have an
indirect relationship with the truth. With the
Democratic nomination in 2008 between a
black man and a white female and then Barack Obama
appointing that woman as Secretary of State, an
African American as Attorney General, and a
Hispanic Woman as his first Supreme Court Justice,
white men are legitimately concerned.
said, appearing on the same TV show as Peggy Noonan:
"[Brown] is a traditional looking middle-aged white male. We`re going back to
basics. You know, we obviously have our first
African-American president, we`ve had the female
candidates and what not. You look at him, he looks like
the candidate, the traditional view of the candidate."
No doubt some voters were indeed happy
to go "back to
basics" with Brown.
Furthermore, there is an unspoken but
obvious racial dimension aspect to Obamacare: it is not
just an increase of government power and spending—it is
also a transfer of that spending from whites (who are
the main benefactors of Medicare benefits that will be
cut; and of course the bulk of taxpayers) to minorities
(who make up over half of the uninsured.)
As the white share of the
population of the country continues to decline, there is
only one way for the Republicans to get back into to
power: to win the James Crowley vote in Massachusetts.
And while voters may have told
pollsters that health care was the number one issue in
this campaign, Republicans should not think that
Club for Growth talking points is going to be a
consistent winner among this demographic. While these
people opposed Obamacare, they also oppose free trade
and support tougher regulations on Wall Street.
There are two issues that James
Crowley voters are most at odds with the Democratic
affirmative action. Scott Brown did not mention
affirmative action. He took a pretty strong position
against illegal immigration in his platform, but did not
make it a campaign issue (although he seems to have used
it in his
Martha Coakley`s weakness and public
opposition to Obama made it possible for Brown to win by
making populist appeals with free market economics. But
this will not work in every election.
"Washington Watcher" [email
him] is an anonymous source Inside The