Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Reverse Bradley Effect

Now that we are seeing the numbers and the trends from the election, I think I can finally go public with an idea I had two weeks prior to the election. As many of my colleagues and news media types were debating the “Bradley Effect” I was telling all who would listen that there would be a reverse effect. The reverse Bradley Effect is when white Republicans and independents would tell pollsters that they would not support Barack Obama and then got in the voting booth and did in fact vote for him. I guess their black side over-ruled their white side.

It is one thing to suggest such a phenomenon it is another to provide evidence of such. I do not only believe that Obama gained among the higher middle-class normally Republican voters I also believe that his race allowed some Republican suburbanites to take part in an historic moment by helping to break down the racial barrier for the Presidency. How can anyone Democratic or Republican after watching the McCain campaign make overt attempts to keep the nation divided not be moved to strike a vote for freedom and unity of an ailing nation. I have spoken with moderate Republicans who stated that given the eventual loss of McCain and the “real America” branding of the Republican Party by Governor Palin they were able to in good conscious to break with the Party and vote Obama. General Colin Powell was the beginning of the exodus of moderate Republicans that abandoned the sinking ship that is becoming the Republican Party.

Senator Obama not only got the majority of the 100,000 dollar income group, but also the 200,000 dollar income group. These voters have notoriously supported the Republican Party since the days of Reagan and despite the McCain camps socialism alarms the majority of them switched to Obama. Last night was a great night for the Democrats but more importantly it was a tremendous night for President Obama. I think this election began as an anti-Bush campaign but as the campaign continued it became less of voting against Bush and more about voting for Obama. Even though last night’s overwhelming victory for Obama was a complete and total repudiation of the Bush years even by some Republicans, it was more than that. I think we should not completely focus on the negative aspects of this election but look to the positive opportunities that this election provides us. For the first time in a generation we have the opportunity to put the past political, cultural, and social wars behind us. In order to do this we will all have to kill our sacred cow issues and begin to seek common ground. What can we agree on in all issues?

Regardless of the issue whether it is abortion or the war there are ideas that we can agree on and begin to work out from there. I think we all can agree that there are too many abortions in America. Okay from there what can we do to reduce that amount? We have to take the demagoguery out of these issues and look to come together to seek solutions. For too many years we have chosen partisanship demagoguery over common sense. Rather than basing our acceptance of ideas on the merits of the idea and what is right for America regardless of who proposes it, we have been focusing on the source of the idea. We have the opportunity to marginalize the intolerance that has too often led to so many of our problems being embedded and mired in inactivity. We are still fighting the same issues year after year with no solutions. In a democracy no one is going to get everything they want exactly the way they want it. We must learn to compromise.

Last night could be a do-over for America. Once again we have the good will of the world and amongst ourselves similarly as we did after the 9/11 tragedy. We have the opportunity to use this time to reach out not only towards each other but to the rest of the world. The world has been holding its collective breath waiting for this election and the result was more than they could have expected. But this period of good-will is not eternal but will be based on the policies of the new President. If President Obama does not change the policies of the last administration it won’t matter what race he is or what symbolism this election may have signified. President Obama should very early in his administration make a gesture to the world either through his selection of his cabinet or with a gesture of goodwill through diplomacy. Wow, wouldn’t that be a novel idea diplomacy instead of unilateralism; cooperation instead of isolationism. I think in the end the American electorate had had enough of the obstructionist politics of the past and chose some redemption and hope over fear and divisiveness.

Just in case there was any doubt in the new America green trumps black. Thanks to the bankrupt policies of the Bush administration and the financial meltdown Americans showed that they were willing to trust someone with a plan regardless of their race. This has not always been the case. According to pollsters last night was suppose to be a long night with an election that was expected to be too close to call. “The Mac is back!” If Barack Obama had underperformed the poll numbers we would have been inundated with the “Bradley Effect” theories and calls of closet racism. Since he outperformed the polls then there has to have been a reverse “Bradley Effect”. Many of those polled who responded with support for the white guy actually voted for the black guy. It won’t be long before the job of pollster goes the way of blacksmith. Rather than this election vindicating them it further exposes the inherent flaws of the process. Remember the week before the election when the McCain pollster publically leaked their internal memos and numbers showing a “tightening” of the race?

While the election of Barack Obama does not signal the end of racism or partisanship it does demonstrate that the American public has developed a pragmatism and a willingness to move pass some prejudices of the past. How many could have predicted that there would have been a reverse “Bradley Effect”? I remember posting an essay on the major liberal blogs stating how I felt John McCain had lost this
election and it was met with derision and requests to have it deleted. I even predicted that the election would be called at 10:00PM CST again many feared “jinxing” the results to speak of a victory let alone a resounding victory. We have traveled a long way as a nation and yet we have many miles to go before we sleep. Faith and hope has won out over fear and that is something we all can celebrate.

1 comment:

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