Friday, November 23, 2012

Those zero-Romney vote Precincts

by Clifford F. Thies

In the early 20th century, some of the very same districts in Philly that came in 100 percent Democrat this year, came in 100 percent Republican.

Editors of Democratic newspapers were furious. How could this be? They even identified a handful of people who signed affidavits that they voted Democratic.

A couple of things are going on: First, racial solidarity. African Americans are an amazingly coherent voting bloc. The idea, for example, that Hispanics could be a similar voting bloc is impossible. Hispanics don't particularly think of themselves as HIspanics. In some ways, they oppose other Hispanics (e.g., Cubans versus Puerto Ricans versus Mexicans versus others). Same thing with Asians and American Indians. I'd even bet that at least half of the black vote Republicans get is Afro-Carribean and African, as opposed to African American.

Second, as Tom Knapp has pointed out in some private conversation, at the precinct level, you have a lot of hollowed-out places. The hollowing-out engulfed some of the smaller cities of the country, such as East St. Louis, IL; and, Gary, IN; about a generation. Recently, it has engulfed Detroit, MI. It now threatens St. Louis, MO; Chicago, IL; and, Philadelphia, PA.

These places have become completely dysfunctional. They are sustained by welfare transfers from outside, to include Title 1 support for the local public schools. Teachers, policemen and other civil servants commute in. Grocery stores and medical clinics are like little combat outposts.

I have been to poor neighborhoods in Florida and Texas and they are not at all like the hollowed-out cities of the north. Even Los Angeles, with all of its problems, has a certain vibrancy to it.

Civilization is breaking down in our country, and it's breaking down specifically where the government instituted the Great Society during the 1960s. My students find it hard to believe that, before the 1960s, the unemployment rate among blacks was similar to that of whites, and that the percentage of black children being raised in households that included their two (natural) parents was similar to the percentage of white children being so raised. Gunner Myrdal, the Swedish sociologist, when he came to study race in this country, described our people as "Exaggerated Americans," because of their strong work ethic, families, churches, communities, self-reliance, and hatred of welfare, all the kinds of things that you associate with being American.

Today, black people are Exaggerated Americans in another sense. While unemployment is high in America, it is highest among black Americans. While family breakdown is a tragedy in America, it is an epidemic for black Americans. And, while welfare dependency is alarming in Americans, it is simply a way of life for black Americans.

My libertarian friends may think that we can be a value-free society, and I myself criticize the religious right, but you cannot have a free society with some element of goodness in the people. To paraphrase Alexis de Tocqueville, America is no longer great, because it is no longer good.

Now, could a few people be identified in the precincts in Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Lois and elsewhere that voted 100 per Obama, who would swear that they voted for Romney, let's say if you went door to door in these neighborhoods? Yes, I think so.

And, yes, I think getting a few people to say either that they did or even that they would have if they didn't fear for their lives if they were found out. But, what would be the point of it?

One possible purpose would be to persuade states like Michigan and Pennsylvania that will vote Democratic in a close election, to shift to the Maine-Nebraska method of allocating Electoral Votes. This way the hollowing-out of certain places will have little effect on the conduct of the election elsewhere in the state.

Another possible purpose would be to allow Republicans to name election officials from outside the precinct. If not one person within the precinct voted Republican, how can there be trust in the integrity of the process. We believe in the adversarial system. At a certain level, this means we accept as inevitable and even as good that we don't trust anybody but instead strive for fairness by making sure both sides (or however many sides) have their place. A twist on this idea would be to appoint members of third-parties as election officials, if any are available.

Photo credit -


Gary said...

We are now a society of Looters and Moochers. From the top down the rule of law and property rights has no meaning.

John Morris said...

Clifford, I would really like to start a blog that focused on urban history from a Conservative/ Libertarian perspective.

The best kept secret in America is just how vibrant and succesful much of the black community was - before all that government help arrived.

Somehow, in spite of this being very recent history, very basic knowledge is being lost.

Gary said...

Start it.

John Morris said...

I'll admit to not feeling fully qualified. This is a serious unexplored subject and needs to be done right.

Serious people interested in contributing can comment on here. If I get a few good regulars who want to post, I will try to help as much as I can.

randian said...

Another possible purpose would be to allow Republicans to name election officials from outside the precinct.

Wouldn't matter. I presume the purpose of locking out the Republicans was to accomplish dirty deeds in privacy. By the time the Republicans were let back in, said deeds were already done.

Since nothing happened this time, expect all future elections in Philadelphia to include locking out Republican election observers/officials.

Chuck said...

We don't need inner cities to vote republican. If we did, we'd never win any national election ever.