February 7, 2008

The 15% and 50% rule of black politicians

A reader writes in regards to Obama's performance:

The late Alan Baron used to have the "15 and 50% rule" for cities. If a city was at least 50% black, it would almost certainly have a black mayor (Detroit, DC, Atlanta, etc.). If a city was less than 15% black, it MIGHT have a black mayor because a small minority wouldn't create all that much tension. (LA [where Tom Bradley won five elections from 1973 onward] and Seattle fit this mold).

On the other hand, if a city was between 16 and 49% black, they probably would NOT have a black mayor. The reasons were simple: at say, 30% black, the community was big to stir up a backlash, but not strong enough to win a majority. New York is the classic example of this at 30% black. David Dinkins has been their first and only black mayor. [Similarly, Harold Washington, who died 20 years ago, was Chicago's first and last black mayor.]

Obama is winning the white voters in states where no one is scared of blacks (North Dakota!). He's also winning the Deep South states where black Democrats outnumber white Democrats. But in the big states where blacks are mixed in competition with Catholic labor voters, Asians and Hispanics, he's struggling.

Alan Baron would have predicted this!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Heh, Steve, I just know you said something brilliant. If only I could see it.

William said...

Spot on. Obama won handily here in Utah, where the population is less than 1% black.

Folks in pale white states are more likely to believe what they're told about black suffering being caused by racism. People in more diverse states know better.

nsam said...

Maybe the 15-50 law could be qualified by the % of white admixture in the black candidate?

A black candidate with (say) 50% admixture (like Obama) could win in a region with 30% black whereas one with 5% admixture is far less likely to do so.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I think you're missing something.

Obama's wins in states without much Blacks say something about the COMPOSITION of the White voters.

For example, Idaho. Or Alaska. How many Democrats would you expect to find there among white men and what kind of person would they be?

I'd bet they'd be upper income. Social status dominates their concern. They make their living in the arts or legal or other professions where status rather than achievement dominates.

And the split goes the other way too. How many white men in say Georgia where Obama won big are Democratic Primary voters? Not many I'd say.

I think you need to look deeper into the composition of the white voters to understand Obama's dynamic (and IMHO his very thin reeds of support that he has outside the primaries).

William said...

How many Democrats would you expect to find there among white men and what kind of person would they be? I'd bet they'd be upper income. Social status dominates their concern.

Well, yeah. Here in Utah, Obama took Salt Lake County about 60-40. In Utah County and Cache County, where education is a major industry and where blue collar Democrats are few, he got 2.5 times the vote of Hillary. Same goes for Summit County, home to Park City.

In contrast, Hillary handily won Carbon County (1040-708), a small county so named because it's a coal mining center.

Robert said...

Correction, Eugene Sawyer was Chicago's last black mayor. He was appointed to serve out the remainder of Harold Washington's term when Washington died in office.

David said...

Combining this theory with the "tipping point" theory of neighborhoods might produce interesting results.

On the 15/50 theory: clearly Obama and his handlers are counting on the 15 to push America past 50.

Silly Whites believe they hold all the power - and can afford to be magnamious with NAMs who are hostile. "Well, we'll give them (fill in the blank) and then they'll settle down. We are being generous and Christian toward them, as opposed to throwing our weight around and showing 'em who's boss." What such dunderheads miss is that their weight lessens every day because of the concessions they make. To prove that they are powerful, they are giving up power ("see how powerful I am? I can afford to give it up!") - but then of course they have less or no power. Such a delusional strategy leaves them with only one power in the end: the power to grovel. "See, because I choose magnaminously to grovel, it proves I'm powerful, because I'm can afford to grovel!" (And can't afford to do otherwise.)

Certain religious ethics teach that the ultimate proof of one's goodness is to sacrifice oneself, as Jesus allegedly did on the cross. Part of the "moral status" war among Whites is about who is more self-sacrificing. Because if you're the champion in sacrificing, you are "good," you're the most moral.

The truth is the obilge doesn't make the noblesse.

skidoo23 said...

"And the split goes the other way too. How many white men in say Georgia where Obama won big are Democratic Primary voters? Not many I'd say."

Obama got almost 250,000 white votes in Georgia, which is not that far off from McCain's
280,000 white votes.

http://politics.nytimes.com/election-guide/2008/results/states/GA.html

Granted, it was a three man race on the GOP side, but if you assume that Huckabee and Romney were splitting the white conservative vote, McCain might not have received that many more white votes. Not that I'm suggesting Obama will beat McCain in Georgia, but the white vote there (and elsewhere in the South) might be closer than many people think if it ends up a McCain-Obama contest.

Anthony said...

Oakland is a possible counterexample. The black population has never been 50%, but it's been over 15% since the 1950s. But except for Jerry Brown, it's had lots of black Mayors.

On the other hand, the white population hasn't been 50% in a long time, either.

Ralph Phelan said...

William - the black politicians will be different too.

The black politician in the white state has no choice but to be an ordinary for his milieu politican who happens to have dark skin.

The black politican with the black electorate is more likely to be a racial spoils monger, like Ray Nagin or Marion Barry [who just endorsed Obama, HAHAHA].

A politican who starts his career with a pitch specially tuned to appeal to blacks as blacks is less likely to be able to win over whites.

Also the voters in the mixed race states will have had more experience with the Nagin/Barry types, and when they see a black politician coming are more likely to say, rightly or wrongly, "Oh no, not again!"

Truth said...

"Also the voters in the mixed race states will have had more experience with the Nagin/Barry types, and when they see a black politician coming are more likely to say, rightly or wrongly, "Oh no, not again!"

What do they say when they see another white male Republican president coming; wrongly or rightly?

Desmond Jones said...

The problem with that analysis is that Illinois (~20% black) gave Obama his largest white vote (57%). If the CNN exit polls are reliable, and using religion (Catholic/Protestant) as a marker for European ethnicity, old stock Americans, Germans, English, Irish Protestant, Swedes and Norwegians are voting for Obama. Catholics, even excluding Hispanics, Italians, Poles, Russians, Irish Catholics etc. are a powerful anti-Obama force. Even in the deepest South, Georgia for instance, 40% of whites gave Obama their vote. If it wasn’t for the over 60s in Georgia, Oklahoma and Missouri, (the home of Jesse James and Wild William Anderson) Obama gains much more of the white vote.

Only the staunchest of white Protestant Northern European democrats, in Alabama and Tennessee, are holding the line against Obama. 71% (non-weighted average) of Alabama’s white Protestant Democratic vote went to Hillary. 69% of over 30 New Jersey whites, mostly Catholic, thus Italians etc., voted Hillary. Even in California, non-Hispanic Catholics, gave Hillary a big vote.

New Mexico is odd. Non-Hispanic white Catholics voted in the majority (60-40) for Obama and thus break the pattern, unless those white Catholics were Germans.

Sleep said...

Illinois may be 20 percent black, but it is also extremely segregated. Most blacks live in the Chicago area or in East St Louis. Large areas of Illinois are populated with whites who may see a black person no more than a few times per year.

Desmond Jones said...

Most blacks live in the Chicago area or in East St Louis.

Johnson, Jackson, Brown, Peoria and Winnebago, according to the 2000 Census are all 10-20% black. St. Clair and Macon are over 20% black. It doesn't appear that Illinois is any more segregated than Alabama.