A Contrarian View of Universal Suffrage

Timothy Sandefur, in the course of a commentary about Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, quotes the man himself:

The doctrine of self government is right–absolutely and eternally right–but it has no just application, as here attempted. Or perhaps I should rather say that whether it has such just application depends upon whether a negro is not or is a man. If he is not a man, why in that case, he who is a man may, as a matter of self-government, do just as he pleases with him. But if the negro is a man, is it not to that extent, a total destruction of self-government, to say that he too shall not govern himself? When the white man governs himself that is self-government; but when he governs himself, and also governs another man, that is more than self-government–that is despotism. If the negro is a man, why then my ancient faith teaches me that ‘all men are created equal;’ and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man’s making a slave of another…. I say this is the leading principle–the sheet anchor of American republicanism. [Peoria, Illinois: October 16, 1854]

But there is a good case to be made that the votes of American blacks are responsible for the growth of oppressive government. Take the elections of 2008 and 2012, for example, which enabled the birth of Obamacare, and quite possibly its continued existence.

According to a report issued by the Census Bureau, about 16 million blacks voted in 2008. There is no similar report for 2012, but it is reasonable to assume that about the same number of blacks voted this year, with a somewhat lower voting rate being offset by somewhat larger numbers of voting-age blacks. Of the 16 million or so black votes in each election, 95 percent went to  Obama in 2008 and 93 percent went to Obama in 2012 (according to The New York Times exit polls).

Given the preceding information, and armed with a Census Bureau tally of the distribution of blacks by State, I estimated:

  • the number of votes in each State for the Democrat and Republican candidates in 2008 and 2012, had blacks not voted, and
  • the resulting distribution of electoral votes (EVs) in each election.

Obama might have edged out McCain in 2008, despite losing the popular vote by 54 million to 59 million. Nevertheless, McCain almost certainly would have gained the District of Columbia (yes!), with 3 EVs, Florida (27), Indiana (11), North Carolina (15), Ohio (20), and Virgina (13). Those wins would have brought McCain’s total to 266 — just 3 EVs short of a tie.

There is no doubt that Romney would have won in 2012 but for the black vote. With the addition of DC (3), Florida (29), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), and Virginia (13), Romney would have taken a total of 311 EVs. Also, he would have won the popular vote by 59 million to 49 million.

So, I beg to differ with Sandefur and Lincoln. To paraphrase Lincoln, when the black man governs himself and also governs whites by voting almost exclusively for the Democrat-welfare state, that is despotism.