Fifty two weeks ago, I pointed out that the Democrats’ winning 2008 strategy–positioning Barack Obama to blacks as the black candidate, to Asians and Hispanics as the minority candidate, and to whites as the postracial candidate–did not make for a long-term stable political strategy. To quote me: "A black-led four-race coalition is an inherently fragile thing." [Sailer Strategy Supplement: Rebrand Democrats As The Black Party, October 04, 2009]
Now I have to congratulate me. Subsequent electoral events in the heart of the political universe–the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia–are demonstrating the fault lines in the 2008 Obama Coalition.
... The central complaint of young white liberals living in Washington D.C. became D.C.’s schools, which were not only full of black students, but were administered by black bureaucrats for the benefit of black bureaucrats. D.C. whites compared the local black-run public school system to Chicago and New York, where Mayors Richie Daley and Michael Bloomberg had seized control of the schools and installed dynamic white administrators, Paul Vallas and Joel Klein, respectively, to shake up the systems. Publicly, nobody ever put it in terms quite that blunt—everybody hand-waved about "bad schools"—but it was hard for Washington D.C. whites (even though they voted 86-12 for Obama in 2008) to avoid thinking that way.
Let’s do the math. Say you are typical nice white engaged couple in D.C., one with a federal job, the other with a media job. You wouldn’t dream of sending your future kids to a mostly black school after puberty, but you think that public education ought to get them through K-5. If D.C., however, can’t provide even decent public elementary schools, though, that comes right out of your net worth. Now, Sidwell Friends, where the Obamas send their children, costs $31,000 per year. But, say, you could find a low end private school charging only $12,000 annually. Well, six years times two children times $12,000 equals $144,000.
Yet if D.C. public elementary schools improved enough so that lots of other nice white people like you become willing to send their kids to them, not only would you save $144,000 in private school tuition, but your property would appreciate in value–because now your condo comes with "good schools!"
Not surprisingly, the national press was excited in 2007 when new D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty, a yuppie black, appointed as school chancellor the energetic and ambitious Korean-American Michelle Rhee. (She’s the heroine of the current much-lauded documentary Waiting for "Superman.") If Rhee could actually clean out the Augean Stables of the D.C. schools, she could literally provide many in the national press with a financial windfall. So when she fired a large number of teachers for underperforming (many of the teachers black), the white press was ecstatic.
Black voters were not, however. According to Paul Schwarzman and Chris L. Jenkins of the Washington Post in How D.C. Mayor Fenty lost the black vote - and his job [September 18, 2010]:"...blacks also see the school system as a primary employer, providing jobs to thousands of teachers, school bus drivers, administrators and secretaries. When Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee laid off hundreds of teachers, many blacks saw … an assault on economic opportunity."
So in the 2010 Democratic primary, Fenty was defeated by veteran black city councilman Vince Gray 54-44:"Fenty won 53 of the city's majority-white census tracts but only 10 of those that are predominantly black. Gray, in contrast, captured 108 majority-black census tracts and just five that are majority-white…"
The Washington Post asked its readers on September 16: "Should she stay or should she go?" A commenter calling himself kentonsmith vividly expressed the black community’s attitude:"Rhee got her overrated fame. Now...scam!!! Scat!!! …
"She's a consultant, folks. Nothing more....she just happens to be Asian; something we haven't seen before, and folks think that means she has created the "Suzuki Method" or something. It's amazing how much credit a person can get for firing Black professionals. I mean...the chick fires Black folks and ends up on the cover of TIME magazine as courageous?"
October 5, 2010
Here's an excerpt from my new VDARE.com column on electoral trends in what ought to be the citadel of the Obama Coalition:
Read the whole thing there and comment upon it here.
Something I try to do is to mentally put myself in other people's shoes, to think about what are the specific economic and emotional incentives facing other people. When you do that, you see that, for example, this deep, angry split in Washington D.C. between white liberals and local blacks is quite rational on both sides. It's perfectly understandable for white liberals in D.C. to expect at least K-5 public schools to be good enough for their children. And it's perfectly understandable for blacks, especially in a city with perhaps the biggest IQ gap in the country between whites / Asians and blacks (whites and Asians in D.C. are absurdly well educated), to despise a Korean lady whose plans are, in effect, to fire a lot of black workers and replace them with whites and Asians being paid twice as much.
Of course, to understand other people, you have to bear in mind various verboten hatestats, so my efforts to be broadly empathetic have made me broadly hated.