A recent story onPolitico.com finds that Barack Obama is “poised to win the largest share of white voters of any Democrat in more than three decades.”The article reports that 44% of whites are supporting Obama. This means that Obama is poised to get more white voters than Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry—every white Democratic candidate except for Jimmy Carter, who had support from 47% of whites (image from Mr. Jincks).
I am profoundly encouraged by the number of whites who have been able to move far enough past white racial framing that says that Blacks are lazy, inferior, unqualified, etc. to vote for a black candidate, and would be enormously pleased if these numbers reflect Politico’s expectations on Nov. 4. If we keep going and continue rejecting white racist framing and begin dismantling the institutionalized racism that perpetuates unequal opportunity, think of what kind of country we could have. Whether it will happen or not is still to be determined, and America has an unfortunate history of following progress with regression. But for the time being, I’m hopeful that broad white support for a black man might be the kind of change we can believe in.