Thursday, April 24, 2008

Blackjack Barack?

Pennsylvania may be a breath of foul air for this campaign. It's brought the nastier notions of race to the fore. Hillary Clinton can't seem to stop talking about her strength in a few huge states among middle-aged white voters, as though that's all you need to know.

Of course, Hillary regularly uses the false argument that because she'd had the strongest showing in the primary in populous states, Barack couldn't win them, or the election, in November. That would have any validity at all only if he faced both her and John McCain in the big election. Barack only has to beat the Republican, not another Democrat at the same time.

Metaphorically though, Hillary's ruse has some power. If the traditional white workers in big states just can't smudge the oval for a Black man, that's a serious problem, both for Barack and for the nation.

Over at Black Commentator, Martin Kilson, Ph.D., analyzed the Pennsylvania vote.

He also produced the accompanying chart of voting-bloc breakdowns.

Kilson is a serious scholar, a retired Harvard professor, the first African American tenured there. He doesn't deal with sensationalism or alarmism.

Instead, he notes that the Clinton campaign is not afraid to use the "'toxic issue' of race" freely. "The Clinton campaign calibrated many aspects of its campaign message—the style and modality of its political appeal—with a keen eye to the demographic layout and attributes of voter blocs in Pennsylvania," he writes. Many of us may call her cynical and opportunistic, while she may simply see repeatedly using the race card as smart politics.

Kilson is willing to believe with Obama, who said after the recent voting, "There's going to be a clear contrast between the economic message of the Democrats and the Republicans...the party is going to come together after the nomination is settled." Obama expects Democrats to go for him over the disastrous Republicans.

Thousands of American GIs dead and perhaps as many American contractors; coming up on a trillion dollars pissed away; our dollar and economy in the crapper of failed economic fantasies; a bloated and growing government that eagerly strips all of us of our fundamental liberties...who wouldn't jump at a chance for another four or eight years of that!

The fact is that among those who do not want more of a Bush LITE should be those voting for Hillary in Pennsylvania and California. The on-the-one-hand of Obama and McCain is a stark contrast indeed. If we lived in a nation of the rational and reasonable, the November margin should be 98% for the Dem. It's more likely to be 55% to 45%.

Meanwhile, Kilson notes that the MSM love the story of Hillary's successful racial campaigning...and the results of high white-voter percentages. Yet, he adds that Barack's percentages in the Black communities and huge turnouts of the same type he gets from younger voters, seem to interest big media much less:
Had they paid just some attention to African-Americans' societal and civic agencies—especially in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh—they would have recognized something then clearly know nothing about. Namely, they would have recognized the serious and masterful role performed by Black clergy and churches, Black schoolteachers associations, Black academics, Black professional groups (lawyers, doctors, dentists, nurses), Black business groups (shopkeepers, barbers, hairdressers, artisans, funeral directors, banks, technologists of all sorts, etc.) in producing record-breaking Black electoral participation in the Pennsylvania primary election.
Race continues to be an issue, but Hillary seems to have overplayed this card. Her presumption that because older white women and white guys in general would rather vote for her she should be the nominee is not supportable. There is no corollary for the general-election vote. In fact, Barack's getting more votes, delegates and states backs up the argument that such simple-minded and old-fashioned political truisms are not longer true.

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