As this is being written, on Tuesday afternoon with the polls not scheduled to close locally for five more hours, we have only a strong idea of who will win the presidential election, and less than that on most of the other contested races, from governor down to Water and Soil District supervisor.
But we do know that about half the country will be upset with the presidential outcome, and a significant percentage of them will be convinced that the election has been stolen. That is the nature of 50-50 elections. Their outrage will be fueled by what surely has been one of the most contentious presidential races in this nation’s splendid history.
There is nothing groundbreaking about dirty politics.
But the race between President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and challenger Mitt Romney, a Republican and the former governor of Massachusetts, has left a black mark that is unique among this nation’s presidential races: Although this country elected a black man as president four years ago, never has a black man run to be re-elected as president on his four-year record.
That has introduced a troublesome dynamic: Anyone who criticizes the president and his record and who isn’t black is too easily labeled a racist — and that happens far too frequently. See Chris Matthews, who seems to delight in making the charge.
But estimates are about 97 percent of blacks on Tuesday voted for the sitting president — and nary a word is uttered that any of those votes were racially inspired even though they were cast for a president who is basically at odds with fellow blacks on a number of social issues, especially the Big Two, gay marriage and abortion, and that blacks have taken the hardest hit during this troubled economy that is now 4 years old.
We know there were votes cast against President Obama because he was black, and we know there were votes cast for him because he was black. We just don’t know the numbers, but each one was cast for precisely the wrong reason, and without the benefit of thought.
So let’s not close our eyes and pretend we are traveling a one-way street. The hypocrisy should be plain.
The sad and enduring legacy of this election will be that Democrats have accused Republicans of hating blacks, old folks and poor people, and Republicans have accused Democrats of hating hating rich people, whites and Christians.
So here we stand, a nation divided — and the one we deserve.