Why is Barack Obama beating Mitt Romney? Multiculturalism

It's not because the President is a great public speaker, or because of contentious social issues. It's because the American electorate is changing.

FLORIDA, October 6, 2012 — Why is President Obama leading in the polls? Let’s face it: Barack Obama’s presidency has been less than stellar. 

This should be easy to admit, regardless of where one might stand on the political spectrum. Obama has failed to be uniter, as he promised, and has failed in his promises to cut the deficit or reduce unemployment. From a lack of sustainable economic progress to ineffective national security policies to the role that special interests play in government, the last four years have done anything but inspire hope.

Those on the left believe that most of these problems can be attributed to a recent groundswell of anti-progressive populism. Those on the right, meanwhile, say that big government and changing societal norms are to blame. 

There are factual elements to both arguments, yet each is critically flawed.

Despite all of the strife which has befallen the United States as of late, Obama does indeed lead Mitt Romney in the national polls. Only a few years ago an incumbent president with Obama’s record would have been trailing his challenger by several points.

It is not Obama’s public speaking skills that are allowing him to defy historical trends, nor is it the hot-button social issues of yesteryear.

No, it is something far more substantial.

The answer is probably multiculturalism. While recognizing diversity is accepting the facts of reality, multiculturalism is something else entirely. As it attempts to unravel any given country’s macro-culture, smaller cultures are inevitably placed in competitive positions. This, of course, leads to some serious problems.

Shelby Steele is one of our time’s most well known social scientists. He explained to me that multiculturalism “is a lose set of ideas by which people in the West rationalize and explain” contemporary immigration patterns. 

In his opinion, “it is the movement of so many different groups of often unassimilated people that has been disruptive. Multiculturalism is essentially plain old relativism―an idea that seeks to see all cultures as equal. Relativism is the corruption inherent in multiculturalism because all cultures are in fact not equal (though of course all people deserve equal treatment and respect).”

Dr. Steele describes multiculturalism as “a hazy ideology that prevents people from talking frankly about the real tensions and conflicts that arise from these immigration patterns.” 

“It,” he continued, “is a banality and an avoidance that thrives because so many western societies―once colonialist oppressors in the Third World―feel they do not have the moral authority to speak frankly about immigration. It thrives because of the terror in the West of being seen as racist. Today even the word assimilation connotes racism.”

The ongoing struggle against macro-cultural assimilation is surely one of the most crucial challenges facing not only America, but all world powers which have seen high rates of immigration. It is not specific to a single culture, rather a common theme wherever people forget the old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

During the years ahead, America will have to accept the fact that multiculturalism simply is not a good idea. This presidential election is shaping up to be the most demographically polarized in history. The fact that there is so little political cohesion between various groups indicates that our country’s social landscape is taking a negative turn.

In the not too distant future, sociocultural identity politics might trump even partisan affiliation. There are no words to describe how sad the day would be when candidates are judged solely on the basis of ancestry or group adherence rather than personal merit and philosophy.


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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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