After nearly two dozen primaries, we now know beyond dispute that the pessimists were wrong. Obama won the majority of white votes in Virginia, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Illinois and Utah, and he received extremely high vote totals among whites in the other states he's run in as well.
Forget, for a moment, about white women, [oh, yes, let's do that!] many of whom have been drawn to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton through a strong sense of sisterhood. Look instead at white men. In a remarkable number of states, according to exit polls, Obama won more than 40% of the white male vote. Those states included Clinton's home state of New York (where Obama got 43%), Arizona (45%) and, most remarkably, the Deep South state of Georgia (46%). Indeed, in Connecticut, New Mexico, Illinois, California, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, his support from white men was in the quite amazing range of 56% to 64%.
What's more, Obama would probably have won similar levels of support from white female voters -- if he hadn't ended up in a race against a woman. After all, there's no evidence to suggest that white women are less likely to vote for an African American candidate than white men are. If Clinton weren't running (and pulling away votes based on her gender), there's no reason why Obama's numbers among white women wouldn't be as high as his numbers among white men.
So, white women voting for Hillary Clinton are basing their vote on gender, but white men voting for Barack Obama are not. Just shoot me now.