Truth be told, among all segments of the US population, Asian Americans suffered least as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. But we were among the most enthusiastic in support of an Obama second term, according to Tuesday’s exit polling.
There are several good reasons for this dichotomy. To my mind, at least, the most important is the emotional identification factor. Barack Obama is a high-achieving minority male who has had to struggle against the cosmic, desperate illogic that fills the minds of too many white males when confronted with the prospect of being overshadowed.
We Asian men have dealt with this day in and day out our entire lives. We can smell it a mile away. Everything about the Romney campaign was focused on providing laughable rationalizations for why Obama should be ditched. Fortunately, there were enough white male voters who refused to buy in.
It’s no secret that Romney’s support was strongest among white men, with the support of over two-thirds of them. That’s a startling statistic in light of Obama’s success in restoring security and confidence to a nation on the brink of economic destruction. Obama’s victory was cobbled together thanks mainly to disproportionate support from women and minority voters, including nearly three-fourths of Asian Americans — as well as those white men who didn’t fall prey to deep-seated racial motivations.
I don’t believe that the white men who voted against Obama did so for consciously racist reasons. It’s an emotional reflex for them. Their gut-level reaction against electing a black man to lead the nation for a second term was justified by a grab-bag of inane and even insane rationalizations.
Foremost among them is the argument that Romney would be able to produce a stronger economic recovery. How? By depriving working-class families of more economic security to put more money in the pockets of those who had sought to profit from the kinds of real-estate and other financial ponzi schemes that collapsed in 2008, to the greatest woe of precisely those middle-class people who had no part in them.
How could any adult human being believe that Mitt Romney — a man whose heritage, life and career embody the hot-money leveraging scheme that caused the world’s financial collapse — is better equipped to restore economical vitality than Barack Obama, the man who stopped the economic freight train hurtling toward the cliff of another great depression? Because Romney’s white?
It boggles the mind.
A Romney presidency — at least if you believe his campaign rhetoric — would have produced policies to encourage the buildup of new hot-money bubbles that would have inevitably and in short order popped — throwing millions of innocent working-class people out of work again.
Look back at every major downturn from the one authored by George Bush on back through Ronald Reagan, Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge. Each collapse was preceded by a Republican administration that put the squeeze on security for working class families so more spare change could be put into the hands of the wealthy. The inevitable outcome of such policies is to produce — not capital for creating jobs and building up the economy as is always advertised — but greed-driven hot money that creates investment bubbles that inevitably pop within a few years, bringing another round of pain to the middle class.
On the other hand, a second Obama term will slowly but inevitably rebuild the foundation of a secure middle class whose spending will drive sustainable growth. Especially in this day and age of the consumer, the economy can only grow when the middle class feels secure enough to spend confidently. No amount of economic theory will change that fact since all businesses are ultimately driven by spending, not by the chasing of speculative investment schemes by those with extra money to gamble.
This truth is obvious to all thinking adults whose minds aren’t distorted by either short-sighted self-interest or a deep-seated emotional reaction against the right leader who happens to be the wrong color.