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This Is What Democracy Looks Like
Today's Note From a Madman
April 21, 2008
Racism and Votes
I hope that Senator Barack Obama, if he ends up as the Democratic Nominee come the end of this primary season, can get those young and "change" voters to the polls this November. Apparently, he's going to need them. If the reaction of many who consider themselves to be non-racists and tolerant (a word which I personally detest - but that's a conversation for another day) mean anything to anyone, he certainly will need each and every one of these new and "change" voters.
If Hillary Clinton doesn't win Pennsylvania by at least ten percentage points in a primary with a very large turnout, then she will have no choice but to concede the Democratic nomination to Senator Obama. That's the way it is no matter what the Clinton camp says prior to the latest Super-Tuesday. However, if Senator Clinton gets a big win after a big turnout (both conditions need to be met, in my estimation). then we have a two-horse horserace once again.
But my concern are those voters who would bite the sides of their cheeks as they pull the handle form a Candidate Clinton in November. Many of those voters aren't going to pull the handle for a Candidate Obama, no matter what the pollsters say. Therein lies my concern.
Those "tolerant moderates", as we're going to call them (others may call then Reagan Democrats) are looking at Senator Obama and seeing a black man with a Muslim name. And that's all they're seeing. In private, these self-proclaimed non-racist racists are saying they won't vote for "that one", and I've heard it from way too many of "them" to ignore it.
These "them-people" are college educated Suburban dwellers, many of who were brought up in urban areas and should know better. They're also the ones who, when asked by a pollster if they would vote for Barack Obama, say "of course", no matter what they really think.
They practice the worst form of racism - the "not in my neighborhood" form, and it's troubling. You know the type: They're the ones who say that they're not racist, yet check the race statistics before deciding which neighborhood to move into; and they're the ones who worry about who is moving into their neighborhood - those who might look "different".
There are many who say the same thing to the pollsters when it comes to voting for a woman. Many say they will vote for a woman, but when push comes to shove, what they say and what their final action will be are two very different things.
Similarly, I thought the very same thing when Al Gore chose Joe Lieberman as his Vice Presidential running mate: I thought that there were some who just weren't going to vote for a Jew, no matter what they told the pollsters. Maybe I was right - maybe it was just coincidence.
But the time is now to make that strong presence of race and/ or gender felt in a presidential season. If not Senator Barack Obama or Senator Hillary Clinton, then who? Surely one of these candidates is the right candidate to break through either the walls of racism or gender-bias. They have to be because, if nothing else, this primary season has shown them to be the two strongest candidates on either side of the aisle. All one has to do is to take a look at who the Republicans were first going to choose - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani - to see that. He was the GOP heir-apparent to the throne of George W. Bush, but his candidacy turned out to be only strong on paper. John McCain became the choice of a party that had no one else to choose.
Come November, I believe that there may be votes lost from the "tolerant moderates", with some deciding to pull the handle for John McCain while others simply stay at home. But those votes that will be made up by a strong showing from other groups. We will see more Black voters; we will see more young voters; and we will see more single women voters. And great majorities of these groups will vote for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton this November, not Senator McCain.
The Vice Presidential running mate choice will be big this year as well. I believe that if Barack Obama should win the nomination, there are many to choose from, both male and female, who can solidify the ticket. I've spoken about a short list which should include General Wesley Clark, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner and even a Republican such as Chuck Hagel, the Senator from Nebraska who isn't seeking re-election (and I am aware of his voting machine involvement).
The thought of a John McCain presidency, especially in the wake of his promises to stay the Bush course, makes me more than nervous. But the thought that so many who might not vote for Barack Obama because he is Black; or Hillary Clinton because she is a woman, makes me just plain mad...
...and a lot more than just a little bit disappointed in all who have said things to me such as "You're not going to vote for him, are you?"
Clinton Was For It Before She Was Against It
Interesting that the Clinton supporters don't mention she has voted to fund the war all along. I learned last night at a talk with Jeremy Scahill who writes for The Nation that Clinton was never against Blackwater though it was within her power to do something about them. She now says that as President she would not hire Blackwater. That's real convenient given that they are now controversial.
By the way, Clinton has missed many votes. Here's a list compiled in the Washington Post:
In addition, I also found out from listening to Jeremy Scahill and Dahr Jamail that Clinton has taken more defense contractor money than any Democrat! The Clintons have always taken lots of bucks from defense contractors. Obama may not be perfect but he is far less of a corporatist than Hillary Clinton.
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