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Obama and Electoral Numbers

Updated on November 15, 2011


It is bad manners to become too involved in the political process of another country. It is also politically incorrect to suggest race is a factor in American politics even though everyone knows it is. The USA is too important for something important not to be said out of politeness. What I am suggesting is that President Obama is in significant danger of losing his re-election. When one sees the political pygmies vying for the Republican nomination there is a tremendous temptation to think that Obama should walk his re-election. It is often said in British politics that the Opposition party does not win elections, the Government party loses them. This article suggests Obama could lose the next election regardless of his Republican opponent.

President Kennedy beat Richard Nixon by 0.1% of the popular vote. The black vote split 72:28 in Kennedy's favour, allowing Kennedy a very narrow win. Lyndon Johnson was the last Democrat President to win a majority of the white vote - every Democrat since has lost on the white vote. Those Democrats who won election since won because the black and latterly Hispanic vote has favoured the Democrats. But if the blacks do not turn out the Democrat does not win.

Obama lost the white vote in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia but won the states overall because the black and Hispanic vote split so disproportionately in his favour - and they actually voted. Without these 142 electoral votes he would have lost by 315 to 223.

What happens in 2012?

The recession has hit black and poor white voters disproportionately hard. The middle class shout loud, but the real losses are among the relatively poor. More of their jobs have been lost in the recession. More of their jobs have been exported. While they may not rush to vote Republican, if they simply do not vote Obama loses.

All is not lost for Obama. Elections tend to be won or lost by differential turnout rather than by individual conversion. For every elector who crosses the divide to vote for the party they normally vote against there are a dozen who simply do not vote this election.

As the individual Republican contenders stake out more extreme positions, and their individual flaws and failings become better known, it is possible that the person who wins the Republican nomination will become a liability to the Republican ticket. They may by injudicious comment cause huge numbers of Republicans not to vote. They may say or do something that galvanises the black vote and so rescue Obama.

Or Obama could flag an issue that becomes an election winner for him. Whether this is how an individual has been treated by the system.or how Republicans including the Republican candidate have had their hands in the corruption pork barrel, or something else I do not know. One has the sense that Obama is "keeping his powder dry" and is waiting to see who his opponent is before he decides what weapons to use.

Prime Minister Harold MacMillan was once asked what in his opinion influenced elections most. He said "Events dear boy, events!"


This article is inspired by an article "Angry White Men" by R. W. Johnson in the London Review of Books of 20 October 2011. The full article is a fascinating read, dealing also with the gender drift where over the years more women have tended to vote Democrat and more men have tended to vote Republican. And of course pointing out that by fighting two wars without raising taxes to pay for them George W. helped to create the current financial crisis.


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    • Quilligrapher profile image

      Quilligrapher 6 years ago from New York


      Hi JT.

      Although there is talk of changes lately, the Settlement Act is still in effect and it forbids Catholics or those who marry a Catholic from becoming a member of British royalty. Even though Anglicanism and Catholicism are similar, if the bride-to-be is Catholic, she must convert to Anglicanism to become part of the royal family. In the world of British Royal succession, it is not a joke.


    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi Henry James,

      I am saying Europe isn't any less racist then the USA. And that there have been very few if any black leaders coming out of Europe at all. I am talking about all of the wars for ethnic cleansing in Europe which have gone on for centuries.

      As for the bar on the royal family being barred from marrying Catholics that is a joke right? Your Queen Elizabeth is German and so is the entire Royal family. The 1st Reich made Germany and hence England.

      I've spent way to much time in Europe to ever believe there is an argument in the last 100 years between England and the Catholic church or any pope for that matter. Besides all of that was put to rest with Pope John Paul the III.

      My point is Barack Obama would never have been elected if America was racists and if he loses the election it will not be based on race but on his poor decisions and not on racism or because he has a Swahalia name.

      Enjoy your vacation my friend.


    • Charles James profile image

      Charles James 6 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

      The possibility that Obama could lose is what this hub is about!

      King John (he of Magna Carta fame)was having an argument with the Pope and threatened to turn England Muslim. He said that the top lords would convert if he told them to, and it would be enforced downwards. The common people will do what they are told.

      In England there is still a legal bar on the Royal Family marrying Catholics, but otherwise they can drift away from the Church of England. And for the top few Parliament has to approve their marriages in advance.

      Both our societies have racist elements. I am trying to understand your point. Which war are you talking about?

      PS I am away now for about 3 weeks so If I do not post further comments it is because I am having 3 weeks away from the Internet.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi Charles James,

      But English people have been in Pakistan since the 1800(s) as well as Afganistan so they are just English people returning home.

      And the key word you used is a few. Has there ever been a Prime Minister of England that has been black?

      Black doesn't mean muslin. I have many Muslim friends. We do that here in America and they aren't all black at all. Now if you are referring to Obama being a black muslin even he would take offense to that because he swears he is neither.

      And finally if anger translates to USA citizens voting the incumbent out then Obama is gone.

      I haven't see one royal that has married a black person either. Unless Prince Harry has someone on the side line. Middleton is an exceptinally English name. I grew up in a very Englsih place with and one of my friends was named Middleton so please don't claim America is racists when we have a Black president and England has no black royals and has never had a black prime minister.

      I consider you brighter then that Charles James. A "few" is not dealing with the racism that plagues facist Europe at all. I would say this entire war broke out because Europe is having difficulty not being able to adjust to no longer being white.

      Come on you can do better then this to argue for Obama.


    • Charles James profile image

      Charles James 6 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

      "anti the Government" will usually translate into not voting for the party currently seeking reelection.

      If you are more sophisticated in being anti the government as a whole then there is a tendency to vote for whichever party promises to reduce government activity. Not good for Obama.

    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Interesting rationale. Two questions:

      Is your premise that the results of the electoral vote will be largely predictable on the basis of economic considerations? If so, How does it affect your argument if we're more angry at government in general than we are at one of the parties?

    • Charles James profile image

      Charles James 6 years ago from Yorkshire, UK


      We have a Muslim woman of Pakistani origin actually as a member of the Cabinet. Under the Labour Government we had Baroness Scotland as a Minister. We have Asian lords and knights, and a few Black lords and knights.

      We have in Bradford a Sikh elected principally by Muslim votes and we have Black MPs elected in majority white seats. I do not pretend there is not racism in our society - there is. But many people vote the party they support and sometimes for the individual.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      What an intelligent examination of the voting process, or more exactly, the voters in America, Charles. I did enjoy reading this. I am waiting to see the Republicans come up with a more viable candidate than the current slate but sincerely doubt that will happen. God help us if an Obama-friendly event occurs before the '12 election. Thanks for this fascinating hub.

    • Quilligrapher profile image

      Quilligrapher 6 years ago from New York

      Another great hub, Mr. James. Thumbs up for a fine job with this very interesting topic.

      Examining past elections through a racial loupe is to ignore all the other factors that will come into play in 2012. Population demographics will account for more combined political clout for Black, Latino, and Asian voters as they approach full majority around 2050. The economy has hurt the youngest and the poorest the most and these groups played a major role in electing President Obama in 2008 and they will be heard from again in 2012. Next year, the OWS people will also be occupying voter booths and they seem to know who is responsible for today’s economic meltdown.

      2012 will be an interest election year.


    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi Charles James,

      Obama will not win this race on division and everyone is united against government period in this country. The problem the government faces is there is no more division in America. We are all extremely angry at our government inlcuding but not limited to Barach Obama who in an interview on the View said, "I do not consider myself a black man.".

      Racism isn't a disease of the United States. If anything we have dealt with racism more then most of the countries in the world including but not limited to England. So how many black knights have the queen of England knighted in the last ten years?

      I like you Charles James it is just the English hypocrisy that gets me down.



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