Thomas Sowell's Fuzzy Math

Thomas SowellOn Memorial Day I read the local daily from cover to cover, one of my favorite lazy holiday traditions. I was pleased to find Thomas Sowell writing the same kind of piece he always writes -- an unhappy, factually thin screed on how one of these days, mark my words, as God is my witness, blacks will wise up and become more like Thomas Sowell.

If the share of the black vote that goes to the Democrats ever falls to 70 percent, it may be virtually impossible for the Democrats to win the White House or Congress, because they have long ago lost the white male vote and their support among other groups is eroding. Against that background, it is possible to understand their desperate efforts to keep blacks paranoid, not only about Republicans but about American society in general.

For an economist, Sowell's not very good with numbers.

Black voters comprised 11 percent of the electorate in the 2004 presidential election and went 88 percent Kerry, 11 percent Bush. The shift Sowell yearns for would amount to a 1.98 percent boost for the Republicans, hardly enough to cause Democrats to become electorally extinct.

Sowell's also spreading fuzz when he claims Democratic support is eroding among "other groups." Looking at presidential elections since 1976, it's difficult to find any demographic category in which support for the Democratic candidate is in significant decline.

Exit polls have tracked 28 distinct demographic categories in the last eight presidential elections, according to data compiled by the New York Times.

In 2004, the Democrat's percentage of the vote fell to the party's 28-year low in only three of those categories: Hispanics, Republicans, and conservatives.

By comparison, the Democrat hit a 28-year high in seven categories: people 45 to 59, unmarried people, suburban residents, independents, Democrats, liberals, and Democratic congressional voters.

The party also reached an all-time peak among circumsized white male suburban lapsed Catholic computer book authors aged 30 to 44 with luxuriant hair who are worse off today than they were four years ago.


"In 2004, the Democrat's percentage of the vote fell to the party's 28-year low in only three of those categories: Hispanics, Republicans, and conservatives."

I told Kerry that he should have spent more money of outreach to Rupublicans!!!


The Folks at Tapped (The Amrican Prospect) are more worried:

"George W. Bush defeated John Kerry by 22-points among middle class whites with household incomes between $30,000 and $75,000. House Republicans won middle class whites by 19-points. There is no difference in the preferences of white middle class and white wealthy class voters. Bush won whites with over $75,000 in household income by 23-points, a difference of 1-point over the white middle class. House Republicans won whites with over $75,000 in household income by 22-points, a difference of 3-points over the white middle class. The economic tipping point -- the household income level at which whites were more likely to vote for Republicans than Democrats -- was $23,700. The tipping point is only $5,000 above the poverty line for a family of four."

In other words, forget race. Democrats are losing in the demographic middle.

Since the Neo-repub's have diebold in their pocket - why do voting demographics matter at all? They'll force more of the "Paperless" "voting" machines on us and simply rig another election to be a 49/51 split, have their screaming heads on the tube call it a "close race" and then attack another oil or resource rich country that can't defend itself.

An Empire is soooo much better than a republic democracy for the rich folk. Attacking defensless countries is good for them republican chickenhawks, don't you think?

It's already over people. We have a two headed one party war machine running the's clearly time for "Tea Party II" here in the US.

I tend to think that most demographic doomsaying is just a consequence of two things: Getting beat and running out of ideas at political magazines.

Remember how Republicans were talking after 1992 and 1996? Good times.

There's nothing wrong with the Democratic Party that a 56,000-vote shift in Ohio wouldn't have cured.

I'll point out that the kinds of voting machines the previous commenter is worried about were selected by both parties in numerous jurisdictions - elections are state and local matters, not federal. We had paperless machines here in Maryland - they were brought in by the former Governor (Glendening) and the Democratic held legislature. Are you telling me that Glendening and his Democratic allies in the legislature are part of this vast conspiracy you think exists?

Fuzzy math?

Democrats still like to think we're going for a federal popular vote as opposed to a state by state electoral vote. An 18% drop in the black demographic would only do a 1.98% drop in the popular vote, but it might well swing some states. Of course nobody would know unless we were to see which state(s) that drop took place in.

Mr. Sowell's point was, however, that "it may be virtually impossible for the Democrats to win the White House or Congress" with that large a drop in the black demographic is hard to deny since Democrats have been losing those seats as it is.

Lastly, if the democrats have been gaining in so many demographics than why do they continue to lose elections by larger margins? Where exactly is the NYT taking its polls...NY perhaps?

Lastly, if the democrats have been gaining in so many demographics than why do they continue to lose elections by larger margins?

The Roe Effect?

re -- the machines: You don't even need to fox the tallies coming from those machines if the voters in some areas have to wait in line 3 hours to vote (guess which areas) while voters in others can stop in, vote, and get on with their day in under 10 minutes.


Recall again that how many machines are installed is a state and/or local matter. Localities make those decisions in much the same way that restaurants decide how many staff to put on at various times - they look at the historical data, and make an estimation. The difficulty enters in when something at variance with trends happens.

At a restaurant, that might be a tour bus (when said restaurant almost never gets them)

At a voting place, that would be higher than normal turnout and/or a problem with the hardware. In the last cycle, the latter was a particular problem in areas where states and localities, under pressure from the 2000 race, installed untested/untried hardware too quickly rather than be seen as "doing nothing"

Never assume a conspiracy when raw stupidity or incompetence is explanation enough.

Man, I thought I'd be the only dissenting voice on this one. Rogers, your readership is truly diverse.

And I can't seem to find anything resembling your Sowell quote, even in his archives. He's going on about San Mateo and real estate prices everywhere I look. It may be that the link you posted changes his column daily, I just got here.

But I like Sowell because I like reading at least one black columnist who will admit to being something other than a liberal. And I think he's an extraordinarily smart and logical cat, having read a couple of his books. The quote you posted doesn't seem terribly smart, given what you say about the topic, but in general I think Sowell's a good thing, despite being a cranky old fart, and that you should read him more often. Maybe then you will feel the true power of the Dark Side, and join us ...

Love, Darth Naughtybits

I'm so fucking sick of these racist left-wing fanatics attacking any black man that doesn't toe the Communist party line. It's a modern day version of Jim Crow. "Yessuh, I'mzah sho gladya lets me attend yo fancy cawngressional meetins' Yessuh, it's sho maaaahty kind of y'all to kill us blackfolk when we in da woom, so's we don't hafta look at our nasty selves. Wellz, I don't undastand themz uppity nigras that's tryin to take up fo them unbone chiltren; Massah Kerry, who do dey think they iz, havin they own pown a view?!"

Visitor's comments are typical of Bush supporters. Exactly who is the one exhibiting racist tendencies in their writings, Visitor, it's not Rogers Cadenhead.

Hey, don't try to push that guy off on us. First of all, I would guess that the typical Bush supporter of the last two elections is less a supporter of Bush than an opponent of his opponents. And some of the most hideously racist things I've read were written by liberals.

Generalizing negatively about any large, non-homogeneous group is discrimination, AA.

And a typical liberal is Robert Byrd?

I just had to say that I've always regarded Thomas Sowell as the Step'n'fetchit of the hard right.

As a Southern white male who's not afraid to admit he has a smidgeon (there's a Texas word for you) of Black
blood, I see Sowell as a conscienceless hack of the Heritage Foundation.

I suspect that a fairly high percentage of Southern white males with an historical heritage in the South has some genes in common with our black brothers.

I think it can be demonstrated that there were more than a few people with no physically apparent Negro features
enslaved in ante-bellum times because of their racial heritage.

Sowell seems to have utter contempt for the intelligence of his readers because he so routinely flouts the rules of logic and polemicism.

As I've said elsewhere, to compare the American hard right to Neanderthals is to insult Cavemen everywhere.

Cheers, amen.

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