I'd actually tipped Hilary for the top spot before the campaigning started, and no doubt she'd have got votes purely on the fact that she's female. People can't help but feel an affinity or a dislike of a certain politician, regardless of what policies they're waving about.
And McCain appealed to loads of people, as he's Republican, he's white, he's ex-military (i think), he's experienced. The Americans have that whole College voting system thing going on, and a first past the post dealie, too. The number of actual votes weren't that far apart for most states that I watched, but the system meant that Obama won. (California for example has 55 college votes, and if 51% of the people vote Obama, he then gets all 55 in the college section. Too be honest, as far as democracy goes, it's a pretty daft system).
As for the Black/Obama and White/BNP issue.
Obama's not a Black Panther or anything like that, he's probably the best thing that's happened to America in years, but you can't say that he didn't get votes based on the color of his skin. A large part of his campaign was getting the minorities to actually bother voting. It's great that they took part, but if Obama was white, would the campaign have been as effective?
But still, their were minorities that voted for him based on policies and not skin color, because they thought that out of the options of McCain and Obama, Obama would be the most sympathetic to their wants and needs.
The same can be said of the Brits, some people would have thought that the BNP offered the best policies, in regards to how they felt Britain should be represented in the European Parliament. They're likely sick of Labour, have bad memories of the Tories, and didn't like the other options. Logically, they then pick the BNP. If they didn't, wouldn't they just be lumped in with the rest of the people who couldn't be bothered to vote?
Also, Yuffie's mentioned Brighton quite a few times. It's a lovely place, I saw her there a while back. And in the weekend I was there, I was also almost involved in a race-related scuffle. (Some drunk chav moron insulted me, I ignored him, he then insulted a swede and I saw red). That said, Brighton's still a laid-back, multi-national, multi-racial area, so I'm assuming I just happened upon a rare incident.
The votes for the BNP weren't from Brighton, though. They were from up north. I'm currently living in the North East of England, and to be honest, I've not actually seen that many people of ethnic origins. There's the Chinese takeaway, the Indian takeaway, the Kebab shop, and a guy in a cornershop who I'd guess has an Indian grandparent. I can't actually remember the last time I saw a black guy.
There was a few mentioned in the area from before I was here, and they weren't exactly nice guys. I can see they weren't a fair representation of that skin color, but the situations polarised the community against them. Suppose for example, you take 3 people from a place, and they all share the same traits, it's logical to assume that it's a common trait. 100% so far, so what's to say it's not the norm? Sure, it could be that you meant the only 3 albino midgets to ever live there, but that's quite an unlikely statistic. Even if proved false, you're likely to greet each new person with 'Oh, you're taller than I expected'.
The extremes naturally stick in peoples' minds for longer than the average. It's not great, but if someone's had a bad incident with a person of minority, that incident will be far more prominent in their minds than the rest of the folk they meet. In multi-racial areas, if there's a bad person it's likely only just one guy in a thousand, up here if there's a bad guy, it's more like one in five.
There's also the fact that the already polarised community will then perpetuate the myth that all the people of his color are bad, and until they're proven otherwise, they'll raise their kids believing it too. (My friends with racist parents are usually far more racist than those with laid back parents, both here and down south).
So yes, they're likely racist, and they voted BNP, but honestly, it's not entirely their fault. If no-ones said to them 'hey! that's racism! and it's bad! you're parents were wrong!' can you really blame them for voting that way? It's all well and good people condemning racism, but are they going to try and educate the racists? Or are they content to sit on their high horses and just pass judgement on them? Isn't that just hypocrisy and yet more discrimination?
..learned a foreign language to survive here..
That's not always the case.
And where would you suggest the unemployed Brit move to?