I live in Edina, Minnesota, a quintessential suburb. Southdale, the first-ever enclosed shopping mall was built here in 1956. During that same era, when my mom was growing up here, Edina was a “Sundown Town — non-whites were
required by law to be out of town by sundown kept out of town by real estate covenants and supposedly asked to leave town by sunset.
Edina is 94% White and 0.13% African American. That means there are 752 Whites for every Black person in my town.
The median household income is $66,000, versus the Minnesota state average of $47,000.
Edina is represented by Republicans in the state legislature, state senate, and U.S. Congress.
Get the picture? Edina is a rich, white, Republican suburb.
Barack Obama won Edina 55% – 43% (17,399 – 13,669).
And Obama won my polling place 52% – 46% (916 – 813).
And maybe the most noteworthy statistic is that 95% of the registered voters in my precinct voted yesterday.
What happened in Edina? Was it a referendum on Bush 43? An anti-war vote? Fear of the economic downturn?
Probably all of the above, but I think it was primarily something else: Barack Obama ran the most effective, impressive political campaign in history. His calm overwhelmed the Clinton machine; his embrace of Internet fundraising literally shifted the balance of power from big money donors to 3.5 million individuals giving an average of $83 each; and his caucus strategy (in Minnesota, for instance) will be studied for years. Edina is simply indicative of Obama’s brilliance as a politician and, we can hope, as a leader.
As I write this, Cokie Roberts is talking on NPR about “the white vote,” which is the Republican stronghold, particularly white men. But thankfully, that demographic (of which I am a part) is now a minority in our country. And, even so, we voted for Obama.
It’s a new day in America.