The election may be over, but the battle for the hearts and minds of the American people continues to rage on. At least that’s the implication of a new page at the Obama-Biden campaign website (yes, it’s still up!) that asks visitors to take part in a survey:
Your hard work and passion defined this campaign and re-elected President Obama.
Now, we’re counting on you to help take this organization forward as we continue our work beyond 2012.
Please take a few minutes to complete this short survey.
There are a few questions about you, your work with the campaign, and how you’d like to stay involved in the future. At the end, you will also have an opportunity to share any thoughts you have that aren’t covered by the questions.
After asking for your personal information—email address, name, postal address, date of birth, and gender (the latter, nota bene, including “Other/No Answer”!)—the survey asks: “Which constituency groups do you identify yourself with? Select all that apply.” The available range of choices is here.
As James Taranto notes:
There are 22 boxes you can check off. Some are ideological (‘Environmentalists’ and perhaps ‘Labor’), some occupational (‘Educators,’ ‘Healthcare professionals’), some regional (‘Americans abroad,’ ‘Rural Americans’)….
There are also ethnic categories, Taranto observes. These include African Americans, Arab-Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Jewish Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. That pretty much covers the bases, right?
Well, not exactly. One group that comprises nearly four fifths of the nation’s population is conspicuously absent. That group is whites (‘European Americans’ in the Obaman nomenclature)—or more precisely white males, since ‘Women’ as a category is covered. This subset still account for roughly half the population. (There is also a ‘Youth’ category, narrowing down the field even further, but suffice it to say the poll ignores a rather large class of Americans.)
So why are whites/white males excluded? Taranto hazards a guess: “[W]hites tend to vote Republican, and the campaign is interested in Democratic-leaning voting blocs.” But, as he goes on to note, “several other of the Obama survey categories lean toward the GOP, too: ‘People of faith,’ ‘Rural Americans,’ ‘Seniors,’ ‘Small business owners’ and ‘Veterans/military families.’”
The bottom line motivation for the exclusion seems to be a “fact” over which Democrats and liberals have been rejoicing since the election, and that is the decline in the number of white Americans and concomitant rise in non-white ethnicities, especially Latinos. Typical of this triumphalism in print is an essay by Duke Law School Professor Jedediah Purdy at the Huffington Post that celebrates the rise of diversity while simultaneously dancing on the grave of the white plurality.
Taranto warns of the downsides of this type of premature and misguided victory dance:
The danger to Democrats is that they still need white votes. According to this year’s exit polls, Obama won re-election while receiving only 39% of the white vote. But that’s higher than Mitt Romney’s percentage among blacks (6%), Latinos (27%), Asian-Americans (26%) or ‘Other’ (38%). It’s true that Republicans suffer electorally for the perception that they are hostile to minorities, but Democrats also stand to suffer for being hostile to whites.
The danger for the country is that a racially polarized electorate will produce a hostile, balkanized culture. In 2008 Obama held out the hope of a postracial America. His re-election raises the possibility of a most-racial America.
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