Hardball | November 19, 2012
>>> been a lot of focus on the share of the whot vote that president obama won in the election. obama got 39% of the white vote but it's where that vote came from that tells us so much more. first a look at obama 's share of the white vote in southern states . here is where the exit polls we took show a dramatic skewing of the numbers in states like mississippi and alabama. look at the numbers. president obama won only 10% in mississippi , 15% in alabama. in north carolina , a state that's growing more national, he got 31% of the white vote. in florida and virginia, which are very national states , all much closer to national average, he got 37%. you see as you go into the deep south , the old cotton south, it gets more difficult to get the white vote. as you get to the states that are becoming more diverse and more like the united states as a whole, you see the problem is not as bad as it was. you look at the midwestern states . here he overperformed the national average. in ohio the president got 41%. in michigan , 44%. minnesota and wisconsin he got 48%. iowa he got 51% of the majority in those states . those numbers show white support for the president is heavily influenced by region, particularly in the deep south . joy reid is managing editor of the grio and john fep hery is a republican strategist. i think there were some racial games played by people like donald trump and sununu but let me tell you, i'm not saying any voters are prejudiced but i think there's an attitude by federal government policy, resistance to the federal government in the deep south that goes across lines like being more supportive of tough defense, very much against bureaucracy. somewhat still populist but also resident in all fairness to the civil rights area. the deep south didn't like democrats long before obama came along. they particularly don't like him.
>> i think that's absolutely true. you have seen the republican party increasingly become a southern party . look, you hear when you look at people in the south, the rhetoric is about statism. it's tenth amendment stuff. it's all this idea of the federal government overreaching and there was a lot of sort of pro-confederate revisionism you heard coming out of even the tea party movement and i think the tea party was also mainly a southern movement. so you definitely had a resistance not just to this president but democrats in general and then you layer on and i think you add the issue of race and, you know, like it or not, i think that had to be a part of it, too. but for certain barack obama 's white working class firewall was in these more unionized states in the midwest. that's where he had a base.
>> i think unions are a good force against that prejudice because they encourage you to vote by your economic interests not your tribe, if you will. john feehery, i'm looking at this history. if you look back, jimmy carter , for example, look at this, the '64 election, let's start with this. it's a great historic lesson tonight. in the '64 election with lyndon johnson , the last time the democrats got half the white vote, since then jimmy carter also a man of the south, he got 48% of the white . since then democrats have ranged from a a low of 34% with mondale in 84% to a high of 44% with clinton in '96. barack obama got 43%. the second highest number since carter. this year he got 39% of the white vote, only slightly below the 40.6% share for democrats over the years. the democrats are running 2 out of 5 white votes. obama is very close to that with a particular skewing against him in the deep south . what do you make of it?
>> well, i would just disagree with this idea that the gop is a regional party . if you look at all of those states , iowa, wisconsin, ohio , michigan , and pennsylvania, they were all -- had republican governors. mitt romney is from massachusetts. he did well in the south, which is no surprise as you pointed out. republicans have done well in the south since '64. his problem in the midwest and upper midwest is he was kind of a lousy candidate. he didn't do what he had to do. he didn't connect with working class voters and that's a real problem, but republicans have connected with working class voters and they did two years ago and i think they will continue to do that in the elections to come.
>> why did that take -- let me go to something in the rhetoric. you can read it both your own ways. romney kept saying -- we have a little montage. we're going to take back america , take back america . i have to live with the fact that the dallas cloowboys are america 's team. i don't know how they got the name but they got it. how did he get to be the american candidate ? who named him that?
>> that's a frequent thing in politics.
>> i never heard obama say take back america .
>> you know, this is not that unfamiliar. the idea we're going to take back the white house , restore america , renew america , hope and change, whatever you want to call it. the team that's out of politics, out of power wants to take back power. i don't think that's racially motivated. i think it's ridiculous to think it is.
>> but you know what, john? look at the tea party 's rhetoric. that's where this take back america stuff started. these were people looking at the colonial period as the idyllic period in the american history before you had unions and racial integration . that sort of america in which african- americans were three-fifths of a person. that was the era they saw as idyllic. to your point about 2010 , let's not compare apples to oranges. what's in midterms is minority voters and younger voters stay home. sure, you can win a pennsylvania or an ohio or a michigan in an off-year election when basically white voters are the ones coming to the polls. when you add the ethnic dimension and younger voters, it becomes harder for republicans --
>> i this i that's rid includes.
>> let's get away from the ethnic for a second. talk about this john feehery. i just watched "lincoln" last night. tommy lee jones steals the movie. it's an amazing part. and daniel day -lewis is fabulous. anyway, you talk about the tenth amendment in the south, why is the tenth amendment which reserv reserves powers to the states so much an issue with republicans? why do they love that tenth amendment so much? is sounds like the civil war to me. your thoughts.
>> my thought is i would prefer to talk about things not constitutional arguments but the tenth amendment movement is about the federal government is screwing up and we want to have -- spend less of our money and spend more of our money back home. there is a tenth amendment saying that what is not reserved -- not defined in the constitution is reserved to the states and the states should take care of it. the idea that the government locally can do the best job for the american people . that's a constitutional argument. i think it can be a good argument but i don't think it necessarily -- those type of constitutional arguments work with voters, especially in the vast middle where they want you to solve practical problems.
>> i think the tenth amendment could be used. i look at the way the states are running their election laws. every time they rewrite them it's to screw the minorities or the democrats . they're not particularly competent in the way they do these things. your thought, joy. every time i hear the tenth amendment i hear civil war because it says we don't trust washington, we're going to do it at the state level. that seems to be a southern thing more than northern.
>> and u6 that bastion of southern states and governor that is want to run medicaid however they want to do it but in a lot of cases that means spending less money on their poor. these tend to be poorer states ou ronically enough. there's a competency issue in how they're running public education which tends to be poorer in mississippi than in massachusetts or new york. and issues when it comes to medicaid and the way those states are running. they have disproportionately more poor. it's very interesting that the states that want more power devolving to them are the states that tend to need more help from the federal government and, in fact, they get more help from the federal government than taxes they put in. i think the union dimension is important. if you look at the states that have something like 14% and above union membership , barack obama did very well in them and democrats did very well in them. look at the sort attempts to push back the union movement . it has definite consequences for democrats ' ability to win election on the ground. they have the money the ground troops and the loyalty of working class white voters.
>> let's talk about the future now, future elections for president. john, you will be doing this for years ahead. let's talk about the fights. the share of the electorate made up by white voters has been more republican, has been in steady decline. in 1992 , it was 87% of the electorate. dropped three points each year. now it's down to 72%. how does the republican party rebuild itself so they get 51%? imagine trying to get 51% of the whole out of that 72%. wuld have to get 5/7 of the vote if you only relied on white voters. it's not that bad but it's close.
>> obviously long term the republicans can't just rely on the white vote. they can't afford to lose 80/20 with african- americans and hispanic voters and asian americans , that's just not doable. i think the conservative philosophy is not the problem. we have a cultural issue. the republican party has to be more inviting to all ethnic groups . they haven't been particularly inviting. you have people on the right, the shock jocks, the talk radio guys who have the racial code words which are outrageous. as a party culturally we have to be much more inviting and make sure we communicate and then have policy that is work for all americans as every republican has been saying since the election. passing immigration reform is not necessarily going to solve the problem, but it's a one step in the right way.
>> your party has had success there before. the guy is named abraham lincoln and as recently as knell sorn rockefeller did very well with african- americans and george w. bush did extremely well with hispanics. it has to do with personality, too.
>> i think that's right. i think mitt romney just did not connect with a lot of folks. he didn't connect with a lot of white working close voters either and that was a real problem.
>> but john it's tone --
>> we got to go. i'm sorry, joy. joy, you're fabulous, we have to go. you will be back soon.
>>> up next, new jersey gadhafi chris christie is getting a lot of mileage out of that fleece sweatshirt he's always wearing. i am not into this but i will find a way into it. people were making fun of it, and this is "hardball," the