Certainly, the No on 8 folks might have done a better job of outreach to California's black and Latino communities. But the notion that Prop 8 passed because of the Obama turnout surge is silly. Exit polls suggest that first-time voters -- the vast majority of whom were driven to turn out by Obama (he won 83 percent [!] of their votes) -- voted against Prop 8 by a 62-38 margin. More experienced voters voted for the measure 56-44, however, providing for its passage.
Now, it's true that if new voters had voted against Prop 8 at the same rates that they voted for Obama, the measure probably would have failed. But that does not mean that the new voters were harmful on balance -- they were helpful on balance. If California's electorate had been the same as it was in 2004, Prop 8 would have passed by a wider margin....
At the end of the day, Prop 8's passage was more a generational matter than a racial one. If nobody over the age of 65 had voted, Prop 8 would have failed by a point or two.
The mass-mediated racist hairball of common wisdom presently getting hacked up by corporate media figurines on this issue looks for all the world like the same tired dreary culture-war divide and conquer nonsense (memo: the culture war is over, people -- we liberals won it a decade ago) -- but driven more by joyless juiceless narrative inertia at this point than by any kind of energetic outright right wing design as likely as not.
Look, correcting this ugly bit of last-ditch organized bigotry is just a matter of time: and very short-term, too, if the highly plausible court challenges filed so expeditiously by the ever-marvelous ACLU find purchase, and otherwise as early as a 2010 proposition if the gathering resistance to this awful hate and ignorance is any indication.
Time is on our side on this one. I don't mean to sound complacent -- you may recall I was arrested fighting anti-gay job discrimination in Cracker Barrel restaurants in Atlanta as a Queer National in the 90s. Even if Eric and I aren't particularly jazzed about the vestigially patriarchal human trafficking institution of marriage in the first place, committed though we certainly are on our own terms, well nigh seven years at this point, we know well enough the work of catastrophic legal stigmatization and psychological warfare represented by Hate Propositions like 8. But as unhappy as I am about 8 in the immediate aftermath, I just can't manage to be unhappy enough about Prop 8 to feel unhappy about Election 2008. America has turned a corner on race, we are killing the catastrophic Southern Strategy for good, we are starting to open a way past race-hatred and race-panic into a more honest address of the terrain of multicultural class warfare in the US. Don't let tired old inapt racist narratives poison the promise of this moment. I'm still savoring more than stewing. I'm feeling hopeful. I can't help it.