Monday, September 8, 2008

Race Will Decide

Race Will Decide
By Jerome Grossman

If Barack Obama had selected Hillary Clinton as his vice president, he would have unified the Democratic Party, obtained the allegiance of her 18 million voters and put the ticket on the road to a landslide victory in November. Sarah Palin would have remained an obscure Governor and John McCain would have insisted on nominating his pal, Joe Lieberman, as his running mate.

The Republican political base would still be depressed, distrustful of McCain and hostile to Lieberman as that team ran to prove they were mavericks, rebels within their parties, hoping for a miracle.

Now we have a presidential campaign fought on personality and abortion and religion. Obama may complain about the personality factor, but he should remember that he defeated Hillary Clinton because he was more likable, not because of his issue positions.

As recently as the 2000 election, McCain stood against the ideologues and moneyed interests of the GOP. His transformation in this election was intended to win the nomination and his selection of Palin was primarily to use her to attack Obama's character. Watch her target: it won't be Joe Biden. Palin will indeed rally the party base, but will that be enough?

Palin's convention speech featured biting and sarcastic partisanship in the style of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, focusing on Obama personally in an attack-dog mode. Instead of presenting herself as a trustworthy leader, she told whom she hates and why. She kept away from the bread and butter concerns of the average voter. In the GOP division of political labor that will be McCain's responsibility taking the high road, while Palin does the attacking on the low road.

The Republican plan should not work. The McCain connection with President Bush, the unpopular war in Iraq, the price of gasoline, the housing crisis, the rising unemployment, the poor economy, should lead to a Democratic victory. Transforming the election into a plebiscite on abortion and religion and race may give the GOP a chance. However, at this time the Democrats appear to have the advantage in money, intensity and organization. Republican efforts are limited by very weak forces on the ground and it will be very difficult to rebuild in less than two months. They will have to motivate supporters through the media.

Race, of course, is the prime factor in this election. Yes, America has made great strides in improving the status of African-Americans. Yes, more blacks have attained middle-class status and good jobs in business and the professions. But a form of tribalism exist in our country that affects virtually all relationships including voting. The electorate is predominantly white and some will vote accordingly. Obstacles to black voting have lessened but still exist. Polling of likely voters does not always reveal true voting intentions.

To win, Barack Obama will need to build multiracial coalitions and that is already in progress. In some ways, that effort is really a test of our society, under improving racial conditions, in support of a candidate with the personality, appearance, education, life history and ability to which most Americans aspire.

The day before the election, Obama will be ahead in the public opinion polls by seven to 10% but that will translate into a very close election as some white voters will change their minds and their votes on Election Day as they have in the recent past. Every vote will be important.

5 comments:

jb said...

You are correct that race has played and will play a large role in this election, but for the wrong reasons. To state that Barack beat Hillary in the primaries because of his likability ignores the 800 lb elephant of his race. If Barack had been a very attractive white first term senator with no visible accomplishments, and no history of leadership experience, he would have been John Edwards, and gotten no farther than Edwards did in the primaries (ignoring for the moment the subsequent revelations about Edwards). Barack is the nominee because he is black, and a substantial segment of the nation, primarily but not entirely Democrats, believe with some justification that it's about time that we had a black president.

I agree that Barack will have a lead in the polls leading up to election day, and that the election will be much closer than the polls suggest, but not because some white voters will change their minds and votes on Election Day. They will have already made their minds up to vote for McCain, but are fearful of being called racist if they express their true thoughts and preferences, due to some Democratic surrogates suggesting ad nauseam that questioning the rightness of Barack's positions is racist. It's an irrefutable accusation.
If Barack wins, it will be because of racism, not in spite of it. I'll retract that statement when the percentage of black people who vote for a black candidate equals that percentage of white people who vote for a white candidate. In this election, it will likely be >90% black vote for the black guy, maybe 40-45% of whites for the white guy. Even Stevie Wonder could see the racism there.

Yiayia said...

Has anyone considered that Hillary, herself, may have made that decision and refused the offer? She deserves better than such an inactive, low-profile role after an election.

an average patriot said...

yiayia
Never thought of that! I do think she and Bill know President McCain is a foregone conclusion one way or the other! I think she and the rest of the country to not realize this is not a Democracy and these are not Politics as usual. She does know the right will stay in power but not much else.
Palin's Religion gets more perverted every day. I refuse to believe the right loves her. Every day more and more lies come to light and she is essentially hands off!
Any this Fascist agenda is not going to stop here and what she does not realize is this is just beginning and she will not have another chance in 4 years.
I won't get any deeper because this is very deep and the country doesn't have a clue! Just one thing! This has become about race but it should be about the Veeps Palin in particular.
Her church and her believes Alaska will be a safe haven when Armageddon comes as the Republicans are trying to bring about. they think ministers can minster survivors from there. Palin should be the issue and she is getting a buy!

jb said...

Yiayia-
Hillary does not want to join Barack in what will prove to be a losing cause- she would rather watch him go down, let everyone in the Democratic Party think "she told us so," and run against an even older McCain in 2012. Her nightmare scenario is that McC steps aside and VP Palin runs in '12.
Barack does not want Hillary as a running mate. Michelle vetoed any serious consideration, and Hillary and especially Bill would prove to be extremely disruptive to the Obama administration if they managed to win. The principle of "Better to have them inside the tent pissing out than the reverse" goes only so far.

Average Patriot- Huh? What? Armageddon? Fascist agenda? Ministers minstering? What's in that Kool-Aid?

Robert Rouse said...

I am personally a little sick of people casting their precious vote on a single issue.

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