Sure, Obama Could Win—But Only with Votes That Don't Really Count

[Content Note: Racism; misogyny.]

An actual passage from an article in Politico, filed under the headline "Lessons learned from 2012," in the "Democrats have a liberal problem" section of the piece:
If President Barack Obama wins, he will be the popular choice of Hispanics, African-Americans, single women and highly educated urban whites. That's what the polling has consistently shown in the final days of the campaign. It looks more likely than not that he will lose independents, and it's possible he will get a lower percentage of white voters than George W. Bush got of Hispanic voters in 2000.

A broad mandate this is not.
So, to recap: If President Obama wins among Hispanic voters, African American voters, educated urban whites, and single women (who are obviously a mutually exclusive group from the previous categories, ahem)—and, although not mentioned here, the President will win among LGBTQI voters, Asian American and Pacific Islander voters, and Native American voters—that is not a broad mandate. Because a voting base that is authentically diverse, i.e. broad, is just so much garbage without the credibility conferred by the more heavily weighted votes of straight, white, cis, married, rural, working class men.

The votes of the Real AmericansTM!

Or, as they were recently described by an official at TeamRomney in another Politico piece about how Chris Christie was almost Romney's veep pick: "ordinary white men."
"[Christie would have been] great anywhere there are ordinary white men," the official said. "They would have loved him because here's this straight-talking, hard-charging, in-your-face guy, and he's a man's man."
And you can't have a "broad mandate" without men's men.

Treating the votes of marginalized people like second-class votes that don't really count is not just a self-evidently gross reflection of the values of the kyriarchy: It's an insidious laying of the groundwork to delegitimize Obama's potential reelection.

Jamelle Bouie notes: "I expect Obama's low support among white voters to become a bullet point in the inevitable conservative case against his 'legitimacy' should he win. The usual suspects on the Right will argue, loudly, that a president who loses a majority of the white vote isn't a president who represents 'Americans,' narrowly defined."

When we hear conservatives express—vaguely, but with an angry certitude—that they find something "un-American" about President Barack Obama, it's not just about his being black. It's about the fact that he has made visible the collective power of a base that doesn't rely on straight white men. Which is a profound threat to their privilege.

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