Hey, White Guys, It’s Time to Share America

The voter turnout for minorities and women is a sign that white male privilege is coming to an end.

Yumiko Kinoshita/Anyone/Getty Images

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As much as blacks were accused of voting for Obama simply because he is black, there were likely many whites who voted against Obama because he is black. Preventing him from assuming a second term in the White House somehow protected an institution that should remain the domain of white males. This is what O’Reilly and Buchanan were really expressing, and to their credit, at least they had the balls to admit it.

What everyone, including the right wing, acknowledges is that the votes of minorities and women were basically what put Obama over the top. While only 39 percent of white voters preferred Obama, he got 93 percent of the black vote and 71 percent of Latinos. He also got 55 percent of female voters, which was actually a percentage point worse than he did in 2008.

What is scary about this to the old guard is that traditionally, white votes were enough of a bloc that how other groups chose to behave at the polls in national elections was really of little consequence. Rep. Shirley Chisholm and the Rev. Jesse Jackson likely did not have much chance in their bids for the Oval Office, as valiant as their efforts might have been, because the voters — mainly black — in their corner were simply too few to win them enough primaries to capture the Democratic Party’s nomination.

But now, with minorities on track to become America’s majority population by 2050, and with an 18 percent increase in the number of women who are heads of households, it now means that they have a say in who best represents their interests. It is no longer enough to be a white guy who talks tough like Ronald Reagan or who embodies great statesmanship like John F. Kennedy.

So to an extent and in a skewed way, O’Reilly has a point. He continued blathering about “50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama.”

Yes, the people who elect a chief executive want the things they feel he can deliver. Historically, that’s what people have always wanted from presidents. But O’Reilly, Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh — who said in his postelection meltdown, “I went to bed last night thinking we’re outnumbered” — are implying that the only acceptable version of a president is one who presents the Ward Cleaver image of a square-jawed white male. For them, that’s enough to magically take care of everything, from the economy to unemployment to national defense. Anyone who can’t be Ward Cleaver does not deserve the chance to run for president.