I wondered how long it would take for someone to raise the issue of racism in this year’s Presidential election. The answer came sooner than I expected. Last week, The New York Times ran the story “4 Years Later, Race Is Still Issue for Some Voters.”
In case you thought the story might be an exposé of the virulent hatred of America by some of President Barack Obama’s more extreme supporters (such as his longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright), forget about it. That’s old news and obviously not worth discussing any more. Heck, for the mainstream media, it was hardly worth discussing four years ago.
Nor was the story about the near unanimity of black voters to support a member of their own race worth discussing. Obama is expected to receive 95 percent of the black vote this year, just as he did in 2008 — no matter who his opponent is or what the issues are. Of course, there’s nothing racist in that.
No, the emphasis of the story was on how a tiny minority of white voters –especially those in “economically depressed regions with high proportions of white working-class residents” — said they wouldn’t vote for Obama because he is black.
So it’s OK for blacks to vote for Obama specifically because he is black. But it’s racist if a white votes for another white because of his skin color. Does anyone see a bit of a double standard here?
Of course, such bias (dare I say prejudice) has been around for a long time. Many liberals believe the only way to make up for decades of discrimination is to go overboard the other way. “Equality” wasn’t enough; we needed affirmative action and a new kind of discrimination.
Thus, it has become perfectly OK for this country to commemorate Black History Month. And, of course, every college that wants to keep its professors happy better offer a bunch of courses celebrating black achievements. But can you imagine the furor that would erupt if anyone dared propose teaching a class on white achievements?
What got the Times reporter so rattled was her concern that Obama’s race could keep him from being re-elected this year. As Sabrina Tavernise explained, “As Mr. Obama braces for what most signs suggest will be a close re-election battle, race remains a powerful factor among a small minority of voters.”
Of course she means a “small minority” of white voters. Had she broadened her survey to include blacks, she could have written that race mattered to “a large majority.” In fact, it matters to a very large majority. Blacks supported Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008 by a margin of almost 24-1. But of course there’s nothing racist about that.
The Obama campaign is doing everything it can to make sure that this particular history repeats itself. There is even a special section on the campaign website on “The Obama Administration’s Accomplishments for the African American Community.” Click here to see what I am writing about.
Then Tavernise hits her audience with the zinger:
“Given Ohio’s critical importance as a swing state that will most likely be won or lost by the narrowest of margins, the fact that Mr. Obama’s race is a deal-breaker for even a small number of otherwise loyal Democrats could have implications for the final result.”
Now that is a bunch of baloney. What are the odds that someone who voted for Obama four years ago (when he carried Ohio by a comfortable margin) will vote for his opponent this year because Obama is black? Does she really think this is something the voters didn’t know in 2008? Her argument that anti-black bigotry could cost Obama the election this year is ridiculous.
If Obama loses, it won’t be because a majority of voters reject his race. It will be because they reject his policies.
What Republicans Should Do
Faced with the fact that blacks will once again overwhelmingly vote for Obama this year, what should Republicans do?
The most absurd argument I’ve heard is that they should select Condoleezza Rice as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Sure thing. And how much of the black vote will go to Romney because he has a black female on the ticket?
Let’s face facts: If Romney got four times as many black votes as McCain did four years ago, that would still be as insignificant as a mosquito biting the Hulk. In 2008, the black vote came to 12.1 percent of the total. Obama captured 95 percent of it. Does anyone think there is anything Romney could do to keep Obama from getting the overwhelming majority of it again?
Nominating Condoleezza as Vice President to fragment the black vote makes as much sense as choosing a union leader to make inroads in the union vote. Or a bureaucrat to get the government worker vote.
If Romney is to have any kind of chance this year, he must select someone who will get potential voters to work like crazy for his election. Those dedicated doorbell pushers and yard-sign displayers aren’t going to come from the liberal side of the ledger.
To use a phrase you’ve heard hundreds times before (and will hear a thousand more times before this November), Romney has to choose a candidate — and stake out positions — who will motivate the base. That isn’t Rice.
Heck, I suspect it isn’t even a black whose views I do support, such as Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell or Representative Allen West. Although any of those three articulate defenders of American principles would sure add some fire to the race. Could you see any of the three debating Joe Biden? Now, that’s a confrontation I’d pay good money to see.
I hope the left will continue to bang on the “if you oppose Obama you must be a racist” drum because the more they do, the more votes it will cost them. This one just doesn’t play in Peoria anymore. In fact, the only place it does work is the Obamas’ former church. Oh, and maybe Al Sharpton’s congregation.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.