Here’s a real “check your privilege” moment. Did you know that, in 1971, Bill White became the first black play-by-play announcer in sports when he took to the mic for the New York Yankees? It took until 1971 for that to happen.
It makes sense when you think about it: Teams tend to hire former athletes as their sportscasters, and until 1947 there weren’t any black baseball players. So seeing a black sportscaster 24 years later seems right – except, of course, that neither of those lines should never have existed in the first place.
Still, I had no idea that White was so significant until I read this post on The Undefeated. (I just knew him as Phil Rizzuto’s former broadcast partner.) The piece uses White’s legacy to point out how the Barack Obama Presidency has changed the perception about further color barriers: Obama has made those barriers temporary. If a black person can be President, we assume will will be the “first black [INSERT ANYTHING HERE]” at some point. Time, more than prejudice, is the enemy now.
For whatever you think about now-ex-President Barack Obama (I have some opinions), that legacy alone means something. As a white guy, I can’t even fully appreciate it myself; just as I took for granted growing up hearing Joe Morgan and Ken Singleton call baseball games. When I was young, my parents told me that if I tried hard enough, I could do or be whatever I wanted. It’s hard to imagine a parent having to tell their child the opposite – that no matter how good you are, some doors will be closed. Whether it was always true or not, that was a legitimate feeling in communities of color.
Among the debates surrounding the legacy of our 44th President, this accomplishment is worth celebrating. It’s sad that there was once a color barrier on the baseball field, or in the broadcast booth, or any number of other places. Now, hopefully, we can know there will never be a time like that again.
The President released a nice statement praising former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher upon the announcement of her passing today. Kudos to him for that.
There hasn’t been a tribute image posted on any White House or Organizing for America channels yet, though. Given his tribute to Neil Armstrong’s passing, expect something like this:
Resurgent Republic posted this infographic last week (which I swiped from an email from Pennsylvania political consultancy ColdSpark Media):
The full-size picture does it more justice. It charts various groups, how strong their turnout was in 2012 versus 2008, and how excited the said they were to vote.
In the last month and a week, it seems like no two Republicans can talk to each other without a discussion of What Went Wrong. It’s a great conversation because there’s no wrong answer. Every person who says, “I’ll tell you what Romney missed out on…” and then fills in a reason is usually right. So the tactical deficiency in that picture is a puzzle piece, but it isn’t the whole problem.
All that said, check out the bluest of the blue groups, staunch Obama demographics like single women, 18-29 year olds, and Hispanic voters. Isn’t it funny that the blue groups that were least excited about voting but voted more than the red groups that were more excited? Part of the vaunted Obama turnout operation was figuring out who needed to vote and doing what it took to drag them to the polls; this sure makes it look like the credit was well-deserved.
If you caught the tail end of the Roger Hedgecock show on Friday night, you may have heard me chatting with guest host Matt Lewis about the use of data in campaigns.
Much has been written in the past few weeks about the amazing things the Obama 2012 campaign did in identifying and turning out voters. Just as much has been written about the Romney campaign’s failure to do the same thing, but it isn’t quite as fair. There were many reasons Obama won, but the ability to take advantage of more channels of information to identify voters was a big part of it.
The private sector has been doing this for years. For advertisers like Google and Yahoo! and e-commerce sites like Amazon, knowing what you do and where you click online is their bread and butter. It helps them put products in front of you that you’re more likely to buy, because they don’t make money if you don’t click. Obama’s team was better at adapting those techniques to the campaign world.
What I didn’t get to talk about with Matt do to time constraints was the fact that Republicans can take a great deal of solace in the fact that these aren’t new magical spells being cast by technological wizards. These are old hat tactics that can (and probably will) help Republicans with in the next campaign cycle. For years, the advertising dollars have been moving toward personal advertising (like online ads) which can present content to an audience with much greater precision than mass advertising.
Romney adviser Stuart Stevens was ridiculed for saying that Mitt Romney ran less of a national campaign than Barack Obama, but he’s right, and Obama was right to do it.