Well, we had a big election here in the US — “Super Tuesday” as they call it, where many states hold primaries to let the two political parties select their candidate for the upcoming presidential election. Here in Alabama, and in most other states, “Sleepy Joe” Biden won handily, defying predictions that a 78-year old dementia patient with no platform could never win the support of a major first-world party.
Comrade Bernie Sanders and his trustafarian partisans were left in shock. How could their message of radical change, so popular across the Internets, have lost so thoroughly?
Well, I figured it out:
You get that, data nerds? That’s an R-squared value of OH-POINT-EIGHT, if you run the stats without Bernie’s home state of Vermont*. I ran these numbers on a whim, based on an observation that has been increasingly on my mind: the Democrat party in the US has largely become a chimera, a two-headed monster comprised of sensible Black people on the one hand, and batshit crazy white people on the other. These two constituencies have basically nothing in common; the former tend to be socially conservative, capitalist (at least on a small scale), and individualistic, whereas the latter are prone to embracing every wacky social fad that comes down the pike, hate themselves for having money, and brutally punish nonconformity. It is difficult to imagine a candidate, or a platform, that could represent these two diametrically opposed groups, but perhaps a palimpsest like Sleepy Joe is what we can expect from them from now on.
Two things jump out at me about this graph. First, having grown up and spent most of my life in the South, it boggles my mind that there are whole states in this country where only 1% of the population has African descent. This isn’t a geographical phenomenon, either — the states on the far left side of this graph feature Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Utah in addition to Maine and Massachusetts. My state is the point at the far right end of the graph — 26% African-American. Are states with no Black people really even American? And why is it that the loudest voices chattering about “white privilege” come from places that are essentially 100% northwest European? It’s almost like they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Almost.
But the second thing that jumps out to me is that the graph predicts that, in a state with 0% African-Americans, Bernie would get 33.8% of the vote. Thus, if it hadn’t been for those pesky PoCs, Bernie would have shellacked Biden everywhere. So when you hear a Bernie Bro talking about how Sanders still has a shot at the nomination, remember that what he’s really saying is that there are still a lot of Whitopias out there left to vote, and therefore it remains possible that the Good Guy white kids might be able to deliver benighted Black America from the horrors of capitalism and freedom and into the welcoming arms of the State.
The Republican Party has been completely reorganized in the last few years to actually represent its civic nationalist, somewhere-between-conservative-and-libertarian constituency. It’s more united under Trump than it has been since the 1980s. One suspects a similar reorganization is coming for the unwieldy, two-headed Democrat chimera. I’m hoping that the sensible head wins, but my money is on the devious, rich, crazy-ass Communist head.
* For the record, there was no significant trend between the Sanders vote and the proportion of the population identifying as “white”, or the “other” (e.g. immigrant) population. I didn’t try to run numbers based on income, Gini index, or any of the other stuff that might be a predictor, or autocorrelated with the proportion of African-Americans in a state.