According to an article written for CNN, this election is more racially polarized than any before. This has lead many to wonder if Americans are voting by race instead of by issues. According to national polls such as Gallup and Rasmussen eighty percent of all African Americans will vote for Obama and fifty-nine percent of Whites will vote for Mitt Romney. Although these polls are just projections, they do show a very startling contrast. Are these statistics just polling bias or are people truly voting by race?
There has to be a certain amount of voting by race because the statistics are too drastic to assume coincidence. It is worrisome that the race lines are getting stronger as we would like to think that our country is moving towards an acceptance of diversity. By habit, some liken this trend to that of when you’re in school and you vote for the kid who has won the favor over everyone by baking cookies, or for being more attractive and popular than the other one.
It’s intuitive to immediately assume Obama will be the one hurt by a tendency (if there truly is one) to “vote by race” — he is, after all, the minority. But Romney may be the one who will be hurt more by this purported phenomenon. In the past, minority voters had absolutely no choice but to vote for a white president. So, perhaps for them, race was a non-issue because there was no choice other than white, or maybe they didn’t even vote because they felt unrepresented. Now, though, minority voters have a choice between someone who represents a race-led majority for over two centuries and someone who they may more closely identify with, at least on the outside.
Media perpetuates the idea that race is important to voters because they define the vote by race.
Polls are often shown based on the “Latina vote” or the “African American/black vote” but do those people really consider themselves part of that collective? It’s possible that the media has chosen race as a new means of categorizing votes because it is easier to poll and because it pushes forward a controversial agenda for them to exploit. Perhaps it is true that in 2008 race became an actual point of interest for more voters than it had in the past. But Obama won, hands down, by a broad margin.
The American people are not blind, they see that there is no real difference between these two candidates, but it is so scary we have created another way to differentiate them, and that is by highlighting race.