Last year, I discussed a study put out by the University of Rochester outlining what they called the “slavery effect.” This was defined as the powerful, magical, residual force left over from an institution that ended 150 years ago, which still mysteriously is able to force white people to vote more conservatively in correlation to the areas that had the most black slaves in the nineteenth century. I argued that the much more reasonable explanation was that these areas still contained a high percentage of blacks, so what this study actually measured was the “living-around-black-people effect.” Unfortunately, getting a really clear picture of this is difficult, as even the Rochester study showed only a weak to moderate correlation. The reason for this is that there is a lot of noise which gets in the way: firstly, because about two in three whites tend to vote conservative regardless of the presence of non-whites, and secondly, because the only three states in which whites are a minority (California, New Mexico, and Texas) have only recently become so, and they lost majority status due to Hispanic increases rather than black increases. This tends to mask the effect this will have in the long term, as many of non-whites in these states are still below voting age and Hispanics don’t vote Democrat as sharply as blacks do: 70% versus 90%.
But there is a situation both in which blacks are a simple majority in a handful of states and in which the two thirds of sane whites are removed from the equation entirely – the Democratic primary. The 2008 primary is the perfect case study. In 2008, the Democratic primary was primarily a contest between a white liberal and a black liberal over three types of states: states with a black majority, states with a white majority but exposure to blacks, and states with a white majority and little to no exposure to blacks. Here were the results:
Americans remember what a surreal time the 2008 Democratic primary season was. One commentator, David Sirota, implicitly divided the Democratic Primary electorate into three camps:
(2) Whites who live around Blacks
(3) Whites who do not live around Blacks
Group (1), of course, went overwhelmingly for B.H.Obama.
Group (2) went heavily against Obama.
Group (3) went marginally for Obama.
Thus, Obama won two types of states,
a.) Heavily-Black (Southern) states in which Blacks were often the majority of voters in the Democratic primary (as in South Carolina, where 12 Blacks voted for every 10 Whites who voted), and
b.) States with next-to-no Blacks, e.g. Idaho, Vermont, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah.
Obama lost almost every single state in between; that is, in which Blacks were a significant share of population but in which Whites were still a strong-enough majority that the Black Vote couldn’t simply steamroll Obama to victory. This will make more sense in visual form. I take the visual from the place I originally found it, Electoral-Vote.com:
Note how this bears out the point I made in my post last year, that the Rochester study was being disingenuous by only focusing on southern states and that, if they had included northern states, those areas with significant black populations would have been rather embarrassing for them in terms of northern whites’ attitudes. And while it is certainly legitimate to use this data to identify the detrimental effect black suffrage has in American elections, the bigger takeaway in my opinion is that, rather than increasing tolerance and understanding, increased diversity creates polarization and friction (i.e. diversity is self-defeating). Politics in a multicultural and multiracial country are necessarily identity-based politics; if the people calling for an end to partisanship, radicalization, and polarization in American politics were actually genuine, then they would be pushing for cultural and racial homogeneity, rather than for increased diversity and tolerance.