A mandate for socialism
If the same electorate that turned out to vote in 2010 had turned out to vote in 2012, then President Romney would be planning his inauguration as you read this column. But the electorate that showed up in 2012 was very different. It was much younger, much more diverse and significantly less educated.
Only 12 percent of the electorate were 18-29 in 2010, but they made up 19 percent of the electorate in 2012. And while whites made up 77 percent of the electorate in 2010, they made up just 72 percent of the electorate in 2012. The percentage of college-educated voters also fell, from 52 percent in 2010 to 47 percent in 2012.
If African-Americans and voters ages 18-29, groups that admittedly overlap somewhat, had stayed home in 2012 the way they did in 2010, then Obama would have narrowly lost re-election. Our nation's young and black populations gave Obama his margin of victory. If Obama has any mandate at all, it must come from these voters.
But what do these voters want?
The exit polls tell us they support Obama's calls for higher taxes on the rich and a government that "should do more to solve problems." But what else do they want? As the New York Times' Thomas Edsall noted recently, both of these populations -- the young and African-Americans -- are far more supportive of socialism than the general population.
According to a December 2011 Pew Foundation study, while 60 percent of Americans view socialism negatively, a plurality of Americans ages 18 to 29 (49 percent to 43 percent) and a majority of African-Americans (55 percent to 36 percent) view socialism positively. Conversely, while a majority of Americans view capitalism positively (50 percent), again a plurality of Americans ages 18-29 (47 percent) and a majority of African-Americans (51 percent) view it negatively. ...