Race and Gender Matter
By Jerome Grossman
The Democrats have a number of core constituencies: women, organized labor, African-Americans, liberals and Hispanics. Ideally, to satisfy all power centers in the party, a Democratic president would like to have five vice-presidents to represent the interests of each group but the Constitution is in the way so they are usually placed in the president's cabinet.
In the talent pool for the current campaign, the Democrats have produced two superior candidates, an African-American and a woman, both trying to break the historic monopoly enjoyed by white men. Their rise to leadership seems to signal a change in American attitudes toward women and people of color. Have we transcended race and gender in America? Is that why the Democrats have brought twice as many voters to the polls as the GOP and raised far more money?
The Republicans will have a problem remaining competitive whether the Democrats nominate Obama or Clinton. They already have a 71-year-old white man, who looks the part, at the top of the ticket. The American fetish with youth and especially with the celebrity culture requires a stunningly original choice to confuse the opposition as well as the voters.
If a woman and a black are capturing all those primary votes in every state and raising so many millions of dollars, the GOP can get into the act by presenting to the nation a candidate for vice- president who is a twofer, both a woman and an African-American - Condoleezza Rice. As Secretary of State, the former national security adviser, professor and concert pianist has the experience and savoir faire to attract the celebrity conscious U.S. public. Her link with unpopular President Bush is a negative she already shares with John McCain. She would bring an unusual combination of youth and experience to the GOP ticket and could become a star if she told us what went wrong with U.S. foreign policy and how she would repair it. And from an insider’s perspective, it might be sensational and irresistible.