Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jacob Javits 1958 Prediction




Jacob Javits (second from right) looks over a civil rights bill in 1966 with fellow senators.
In December 1958, Jacob Javits, then a Republican senator from New York, wrote an essay for Esquire magazine entitled "Integration from the Top Down." He opened with an imagined scene from 1999, when the African-American Secretary of State resigns his post to run for president. In these excerpts, written before segregation ended, Javits argued that a black president was not only possible - it should be inevitable.
Fantasy? To be sure, a speculation into the future as we look ahead from 1958. But a speculation based on realistic appraisal of the fact for the march of progress and world events make it quite possible that a member of the Negro race will be appointed to a top cabinet post or elected to the Presidency or Vice-Presidency by the year 2000. And by Negro, I am not quibbling here with regard to the vast but undetermined number of Americans who have 1/32 or slightly more of Negro blood. I am dealing here with a person whose skin pigmentation is obviously other than white. I also believe that racial and religious prejudices will be eradicated so thoroughly that minority group persons - Catholic, Jewish or other - will be able to run for high office without special handicap; the will run on their merits as racial equals with white Protestants.
I base these conclusions on very practical considerations. The solid progress we have made in achieving civil rights gives us every reason to anticipate that these gains will accelerate the move to more progress. Once the fight has won for Negroes in the South their Constitutional right to vote and once they learn to take the full responsibility of voting, this country may well witness a ballot-box revolution in many Southern states. Further, racial and religious prejudice, where used in election campaigns in recent years, has turned out to be very poor politics.
Within relatively few years we should see a marked increase in the number of Negro Representatives in the Congress. Spurred on by the passage of last year's civil-rights bill, leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have launched a drive to practically triple Negro registration in the South to put it on a par with the present 60 per cent registration among eligible white voters. Their immediate goal is the election of three Negro Congressmen from Mississippi and one each from North Carolina and South Carolina in by 1960. I believe the total number of Negroes in Congress (four in 1958) will start to reflect their population share of 10 per cent and that between thirty and forty qualified Negroes will be elected Representatives at the opening of the 106th Congress, second session, in the year 2000. [Javits' prediction is remarkable. In the 2000 Congress, there were 37 black Representatives, including 12 women.]
In addition, Negro leaders have told me privately that they feel it will be possible to name a Negro to the U.S. Supreme Court bench in about ten years [In fact, it only takes nine. Thurgood Marshall is appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the Supreme Court in June 1967], and that at the same time we may have the first Negro since Reconstruction days sitting in the U.S. Senate. [Edward Brooke of Massachusetts was elected to the Senate in 1966. He would serve until 1979.]
What manner of man will this be, this possible Negro President candidate of 2000? Undoubtedly, he will be well-educated. He will be well-traveled and have a keen grasp of his country's role in the world and its relationships. He will be a dedicated internationalist with working comprehension of the intricacies of foreign aid, technical assistance and reciprocal trade.
He may well be a diplomat who has earned the respect of people everywhere for his skill, insight and knowledge. He could be a scientist or engineer or statesman.
Assuredly, though, despite his other characteristics he will have developed the fortitude to withstand the vicious smear attacks that came his way as he fought to the top in government and politics. While we can expect an end to racial and religious discrimination by 2000, the transformation will not be easy and those in the vanguard may expect to be the targets of scurrilous attacks, as the hate mongers, in their last-ditch efforts, spew their verbal and written poison.
My deep belief is that we can remove this roadblock to the peaceful progress of all our citizens by exposing the pillars of prejudice for what they so often are - fear, ignorance, greed. That we as a people have the desire, the strength and the faith to do just that has been said often on the floor of the Senate, but perhaps never more positively than by B.K. Bruce in the year 1880. Rising to vigorously support legislation promoting the welfare and the individual rights of the American Indian, this Republican Senator from Mississippi said:
"As a people, our history is full of surmounted obstacles. We have been scaling difficult problems for more than a hundred years. We have been (and will continue to be) settling material, moral and great political questions that before our era have been unsolved . . ."
Senator Bruce, born into human bondage, was the first Negro elected to serve a full term in the United States Senate.
Thanks to the NY Post for providing the historical record.

What The Voter Numbers Say About The Election Campaigns

Nate Silver, who runs , the pole tracking web site which rather accurately predicted the outcome of the Electoral College and popular vote, has now produced a quick view of the result mix - who voted for Obama.  If you're a number-cruncher type, you may want to go to his site and start digging in.  

Comparing exit polls from 2004 and 2008 makes the breadth of Barack Obama's victory clear. Obama received a larger share of the vote than John Kerry among voters of all genders, races, education levels, and income classes, and virtually all religions. The only groups with whom he underperformed Kerry were older (65+) voters, and gay and lesbian voters.
Conversely, there is a hidden source of strength that hasn't been talked much about before: Obama markedly overperformed Kerry among parents. In a sense, it was those people who have most reason to be concerned about the future who voted for Obama: people who are young themselves, or people who have young children at home.

Big City Barack
One nugget from Pew Research that I'd missed earlier: Barack Obama performed 9 points better than John Kerry among urban whites. This was not by any means the most important factor in his election, but it helps to explain the large improvements that the Democratic ticket made in states like Colorado and Nevada, where a great deal of the population is concentrated in Denver and Las Vegas, respectively, and why Republicans were at best able to tread water by targeting the rural areas of Pennsylvania, while Obama waltzed his way to winning large majorities of white and black voters in Philadelphia.
This also attests, of course, to the stupidity of bashing big cities. Roughly 82 million Americans live in cities of 100,000 persons or more, including 40 million in cities of 500,000 persons or more. This does not count smaller cities or suburban areas, which account for another 150 million Americans or so. (Don't neglect the fact, also, that many Americans who do have their residence in big cities may nevertheless work or play in them, and therefore think well of them). By contrast, only about 60 million Americans live in rural areas.
The Bush-Rove team of 2000 and 2004 understood the importance of appealing to suburban voters ... that is a viable strategy. Pitching your appeal to rural voters, on the other hand, probably will not work. They're outnumbered by the city dwellers in the first place, and if your attacks are strident enough that the suburbanites start to side with the urbanites, you've given yourself a big problem.
And, another seemingly decisive campaign element.... The Contact Gap: Proof of the Importance of the Ground Game?
One of the more interesting questions posed on this year's exit polls was whether the voter had been contacted by the Obama and McCain campaigns personally about getting out to vote.There is indeed a fairly strong relationship between contact rate and Obama's overperformance or underperformance in the polls.  Roughly speaking, each marginal 10-point advantage in contact rate translated into a marginal 3-point gain in the popular vote in that state. So the rule of thumb that a "good" ground game may be worth additional 2-3 points above and beyond what is reflected in the polls appears to hold; a great ground game may be worth somewhat more than that.
Interestingly, the regression line suggests that in states where there was no contact rate advantage -- that is, states where the Obama and McCain campaigns contacted an equal number of voters -- Obama would underperform his polls by about 3 points. This has several potential interpretations, but the one I find most compelling is that Democrats are in fact relying upon lower-propensity voters like youth and minorities. Therefore, it is more incumbent upon the Democrats to have a strong ground game to turn these voters out.
Nationally, there was an 8-point gap in contact rate ... the Obama campaign reached 26 percent of voters with its GOTV efforts to McCain's 18 percent. This can be contrasted with 2004, when Kerry's campaign contacted 26 percent of voters to Bush's 24. Although Obama's field operation was good, Kerry's was pretty good too; the difference may be that while Bush's field operation was also good, John McCain's was not. It is also possible that Obama's field operation was more efficient than Kerry's, as the contact rate gap was larger in battleground than in non-battleground states. I have heard multiple stories of voters in states like Indiana receiving as many as three or four in-person contacts from the Obama campaign on Tuesday. This is a sign of a campaign that knew where the tipping points were, rather than (say) sending volunteers to Michigan on Election Day just to play it safe.


Exit Polls Reveal Conservatives Abandoned McCain
Democrat Barack Obama garnered a surprising 20 percent of the vote from conservatives who cast ballots on Election Day, top-ranked radio-talker Rush Limbaugh told listeners.
Citing exit polls, Limbaugh also said on Wednesday that Republican John McCain lost independents and moderates by a margin of 60 percent to 39 percent.
“McCain only got 89 percent of the Republican vote,” Limbaugh said. “He only got 80 percent of the conservative vote.
“And therein lies the tale, the recipe offered up by the wizards of smart in the Republican Party and on our side — for whatever reason we have to abandon our base, and we’ve gotta broaden our base . . . 
“I have nothing against going out and getting Democrats and independents to vote for you. But not by behaving like a Democrat or independent.”
Fox News commissioned extensive exit polling on Election Day. Some highlights:
  • 75 percent of voters said the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction, and these voters went solidly for Obama — 62 percent to McCain’s 36 percent.
  • 63 percent of voters said the economy was the most important issue facing the nation, and they backed Obama, 53 percent to 44 percent.
  • 48 percent said they are “very worried” that the economic crisis will hurt their family’s finances in the coming year, and they voted for Obama,
    60 percent to 38 percent.
  • Voters who said they wanted a president who can bring about change overwhelmingly went for Obama, 89 percent to 9 percent.
  • Despite predictions that the 2008 election would bring a sharp increase
    in the number of young voters, people under age 30 comprised just
    18 percent of all voters, up from 17 percent in the past three presidential elections and down from 21 percent in 1992. These voters went for Obama, 66 percent to 32 percent.
  • Among the 11 percent of voters who were casting ballots in a presidential election for the first time, 68 percent voted for Obama and 31 percent chose McCain.
  • 18 percent of voters who supported President Bush in 2004 defected from the GOP and supported Obama this year.
  • Women chose Obama over the McCain-Palin ticket by a margin of 56 percent to 43 percent.
  • 52 percent of white Catholics voted for McCain, compared to 47 percent
    for Obama.
  • Black voters comprised 13 percent of the electorate and 95 percent of them backed Obama. White voters favored McCain by a 12-point margin.
  • Hispanics helped Obama win the battleground state of Florida, voting for the Democrat over the Republican, 57 percent to 42 percent. In 2004, President Bush garnered 56 percent of the Hispanic vote.
  • In Pennsylvania, 20 percent of Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton over Obama in the primary voted for McCain on Tuesday. 

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