Monday, January 28, 2008

The down side of Obama's South Carolina Victory

As you likely know, Barack Obama won the South Carolina primary. Big time. But, there is perhaps something troubling behind the numbers. He attracted 80% of African-American voters (who made up over 50% of total voters) while attracting only 25% of white voters. This can be seen a number of ways. First, some may suggest that South Carolina white Democrats are racist. While probably not outrightly true, they may "favor" whites over blacks. Second, some may suggest that Bill Clinton's racial discussions turned South Carolina into a race war. Third, some may suggest that Bill's mentions of race turned the entire process forward into a race war.

I like to think there isn't a race war a-brewin'. Obama has made it a prerogative to not be pigeon-holed as "the black candidate." However, it seems that Clinton (Bill, at least) is trying to do just that. Take, for instance, when he compared Obama's victory in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson's victories there in previous nominating contests. Clinton is implying, "Yeah, he won, but these South Carolinians were dumb enough to support Jesse Jackson!" Or, alternatively, "South Carolinians only voted for him because he's black." Either way, the Clintons are trying to downplay the victory.

I think the Clinton strategy has been working relatively well. Obama seems to have lost some of his sparkle and most of his momentum. I anticipate big wins for Clinton on Feb 5, although, if this really does become a race for single delegates, who knows what could happen?

1 comment:

Alex said...

"First, some may suggest that South Carolina white Democrats are racist."

Northerners have no idea of the deep-seated prejudice against blacks in the South.

Take my family, for example. We're a pretty liberal, forward-thinking family. I support Obama. However, my Grandparents support Clinton and if Obama gets the nod, they're not going to vote for him in November. Why? He's black. And, as we all know, he may look decent on national television, but you know that when he gets around "them" he acts just like "them."