Preemptive theories, in no particular order, include: Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama because they are both black (according to Romney surrogate John Sununu); if Obama loses Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, all of which voted for him in 2008, the old Confederacy will be restored (Daily Beast commentator Andrew Sullivan); Americans still harbor racial bias even if they don’t know it (recent online poll, Associated Press). …

For example, the AP poll asked people whether they agree or disagree with the following statements: “Irish, Italians, Jewish, and other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without special favors.”

What kind of question is this? Who doesn’t believe that everyone should work his or her way up? The underlying assumption is blatantly racist, implying as it does that blacks don’t work and do expect special favors. …

What happened? Did all those people who voted for Obama in 2008 suddenly become racist? Or have they lost confidence in Obama four years later? Obama had a 70 percent approval rating early in his administration. Did all those people suddenly become racist?