Election 2012: What are white guys afraid of?

One day white guys woke up and found that they were not the masters of the universe anymore, not even in their dreams. Photo: The new face of the electorate, 2012 AP

WASHINGTON,  November 2, 2012 — White guys are having a hard time. They seem to feel they’re on the ropes. They’ve lost their status. They don’t get no respect. They’re on the slippery slope. The world was their oyster, their home was their castle, their word was law. They used to be top dog and now, not so much.

White guys have to look no further than the White House to see their world has turned topsy-turvy. There’s a black guy sitting in the Oval Office. And he could be back for another four years.

White guys are not the masters of the universe anymore, not even in their dreams. The world doesn’t find America so exceptional anymore. We can no longer force democracy on another country with our army. Women are the primary breadwinners in 53% of the households while 38% of women earn more than their husbands. 

And those laws the forefathers put on the books are now challenged by  gay marriage, the DREAM Act, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Obamacare.

Women Are on the Move

More women than men are going to college, both white and black. More women and Asians graduate at the top their class. Women are climbing the corporate ladders, banging on and cracking the glass ceiling. Women are insisting on controlling their destiny by fighting for easy access to contraception, including the morning after pill. Plus more women are voting than men.

Raymundo Castillo (L) and Walter White (R), early voting in Nevada AP

 

And the roles of racial and ethnic minorities are on the  ascendancy in careers, college, income, and they too are demanding more, including recognition for their achievements.

What’s a guy to do? Get angry for one thing. And who better to express their outrage than a Rush Limbaugh fulminating over the radio waves or Glenn Beck, when he isn’t trying to sell you his patriotic line of clothes or bricks of gold, or Donald Trump with his little birther drum. Sure beats wearing teabags on their hats and working the streets to get their Tea Party candidates elected.

No wonder former Governor Mitt Romney and the Republicans started vowing “To take back our country,” although they never revealed from whom. The Communists? The terrorists? The immigrants?

The Fear of the Other

Naw, they want to wrest it away from The Other, personified in the White House by President Barack Obama. That Other also includes women, white and black, Latinos, African Americans, and Asians, in other words the minorities of color, who are actually poised to become the majority. The change in white status has happened so fast that lots of folks, white men in particular, are having trouble adjusting.

Donald Trump feeds right into the racial paranoia with his latest bit of birther nonsense by challenging Obama to release his college transcript with a $5 million bribe. Anything to discredit the man in the White House and show he’s not legitimate. What is seen as legitimate is a white guy in the Oval Office.

The latest polls show that President Obama is trailing Mitt Romney by 33 points among white men. Back in 2008, white men favored Senator John McCain over Obama by 16 points. Lately, most Democratic candidates, even if they are white, don’t fare so well with white men either, but why did the numbers double in this presidential election over four years ago?

In the Washington Post/ABC poll, the very same people who claim that Romney better understands the struggle Americans are having in this economy, then turn around and tell the pollster by 48% that a President Romney would favor the rich while also saying it is President Obama who would do more for the middle class. So now we know white guys are illogical as well as angry.

President Obama votes early in Illinois AP

Can you win without these disgruntled white guys? Definitely and that should be the great fear of the GOP. By nearly 80%, non-whites support Obama and nearly all African Americans. White women are also more apt to support Obama, especially single women, younger women.

So is it any wonder that 65% of white men are voting for Mitt Romney to only 32% for Obama.

The Times Are Changing, Fast

This is not the world of white men’s dads or grandfathers and that makes many white males feel they are under assault, that they are victims themselves. Plus the shifting sands of the economy have only worsened that perception. Do white guys blame President Obama for feeling like they are second-class citizens? He certainly makes a perfect scapegoat for such beliefs, and it plays into the narrative many politicians exploit.

Looking at the transformation of America’s demographics, many political scientists say that after this election, the GOP is basically finished or on a downward trajectory. It can’t survive being just the party of white guys, who make up only 36% of the electorate.

Yet that is exactly what the Republican Party is devolving into. Whether Mitt Romney wins or loses, it appears that the GOP and the malcontented white guys will be the biggest losers in the long run because like it or not, “The times they are a-changin.” You don’t have to ask Bob Dylan. Just look around you. This is 21st century America.

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.


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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe

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