Racism on Life Support in Philly

Deconstructing the local vote.

This historic election had the feel of it for months, verified tonight by the result and by the long lines of voters who in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware have chosen Barack Obama to lead the nation. 

Polling places in the suburbs and the city report turnouts in the 65 percent to over 80-percent range.  

Republicans in some districts told me they needed unprecedented turnout numbers, higher than what happened, because they feared some Republicans would vote for Obama. 

Exit polls show six in 10 voters say the economy was their main concern. Some of them were what I call 401k voters. Many of them are folks who historically voted Republican, but who right now do not want to endorse the current state of the economy or the policies they believe contributed to its demise. 

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These voters want a new way. 

Higher youth voting, higher African American turnout and these crossover 401k voters made the difference along with the Democratic Party and Obama's turnout machine. 

Word from Republican voters is that Sarah Palin did not help in Philadelphia or the Philadelphia suburbs. Remember, Democrats now outnumber registered Republicans in Montgomery and Bucks counties.  

There is another matter: race.  

Racism is not dead; but today it was put on life support.

And while there were problems at the polls today, most of them caused by the crush of voters and machines that break down, there was a positive feeling at polling places. In wards in West Philadelphia, people who had been waiting in line for an hour or more waited even longer to allow the elderly to get in ahead of them, even applauding when they exited. 

There will be plenty of time to analyze and reconstruct, but tonight, regardless of your preference, it was quite a story. 

The first African American President.  An ever more engaged electorate.

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