When the word came in last night that Barack Obama and the Democrats had won national elections in something close to a landslide, millions of Americans went to bed, satisfied that even if their candidate didn’t win, democracy had survived. The lopsided results made it clear that this election had in no way been stolen.
But not so at Ole Miss, which last month marked the 50th anniversary of deadly segregationist riots. Shortly after midnight, several hundred mostly white students protested furiously, reportedly yelling anti-black racial slurs and throwing rocks at passing cars. An Obama/Biden campaign sign was burned before campus police broke up the crowd in Oxford. There were apparently no arrests or injuries.
The reaction to the re-election of the first black president from the radical right — and that seemed clearly to include some University of Mississippi students — ranged from sputtering rage and name-calling to calls for a new Southern secession, mass emigration to Europe, or even the break-up of the United States. There was one thing large numbers seemed clearly to agree on: The changing racial demographics of our country, expected to lose its white majority by 2050, was key to the result.