Why isn’t winning enough?

The current theme of the primary season being debated breathlessly in the media is the issue of whether Obama can attract white voters. In fact, it has been covered and discussed at some length right here at Comments from Left Field. The fact that Obama has failed to obtain a majority of white primary votes in all except a few states seems to suggest to tas and Michael Tedesco that whites will not vote for him in November.

On the same topic, I noted the following in a McClatchy article:

Another was Mary Lou Pimicter, the owner of a deli in Nanticoke, a town near Wilkes-Barre.

“Race was not a factor for me, but I know it was with a lot of people here. There’s a lot of prejudice,” Pimicter said.

“She really wants to help people,” she said of Clinton.

Her opinion of Obama? “He’s colored.”

(emphasis mine)

What is to be done about people like this, who apparently project their prejudice onto others? I would assume that, while they may take steps to hide or deny their racist tendencies in public, the privacy of a voting booth will allow them to act on these tendencies. Or will it?

Remembering that Lyndon Johnson was the last Democrat to win the presidency with a majority of the white vote, I wonder if it even matters that many whites may not vote for Obama. Will that necessarily sink his chances in November?

And if he should win in November, will a successful Obama presidency — even apart from any specific actions he may initiate as president to defuse racism — be sufficient to promote considerable racial healing?

I love parsing exit polling data as much as the next person, but perhaps we’re missing the point here. The real issue is whether, in a head-to-head match-up against John McCain, can Obama win? If he can and does, I don’t see that it matters exactly who voted for him, only that a majority did.

Incidentally, much of what prompted this post was discovering that the bolded part of the blockquote above was edited out of every reprinting of the McClatchy story except the version on azcentral.com.

6 Responses to “Why isn’t winning enough?”

  1. Kat says:

    Sounds like a steaming truckload of bs to me.

    I’m about as lily-white as it gets — blonde hair, blue eyes, skin so fair I’ve never had a tan, and with a well-documented Scottish linage going back at least 9 generations on both sides of my family . I was also born and raised in Mississippi, and have lived almost all of my adult life there as well. I’m 55 and female (supposedly HC’s prime demographic, except for being registered as an independent). And I can guarangoddamntee you, if I’m still livin’ and breathin’ in Nov., I’m voting for Obama — even if I have to write him in.

    No, that doesn’t mean I’m an Obama fanatic — I haven’t attended any of his rallies, nor do I think he’s the next-best-thing to the second coming. And I’m under no illusions that he’ll be able to change much of anything — unless we voters completely revolt, and throw out every Congressional incumbent that’s up for re-election, regardless of their party affiliation. But, come hell or high water, I’ll still be voting for Obama. And, since a recent poll showed Obama would win against McCain by about 55% to 45%, clearly a helluva lot of other white people have also decided they’ll be voting for him.


  2. DrGail says:

    So if I catch your drift Kat, it seems we’re in agreement — it doesn’t really matter whether a majority of whites vote for Obama or not. Nobody ever really made much of this issue about who gets a majority of the white vote before Obama ran, so perhaps the racism exists primarily in the minds of the pundits. Whether this is because they themselves are racist, or they think the rest of us are, really doesn’t much matter, does it?

    Yes, of course they’ve been able to find individual voters who proclaim they won’t vote for him because he’s black (like the woman quoted in the article), but you could probably also find individual voters who wouldn’t vote for him because he has big ears, or went to Harvard, or taught at the University of Chicago, or any one of a number of other things.

    It seems like everyone is taking identity politics way too far. I’m Jewish, but anyone who thinks I would necessarily support Joe Lieberman has another think coming!

  3. I think he could have won if he could have hammered in on the steel issue with china (my post today) that would have got the small town folk, cause none of them addressed it sufficnetly if u asked me

  4. and y u kick me off the roll folk

  5. DrGail says:

    rdb: You’re probably right about pushing on the issue of steel/China, or perhaps any other aspect of the local economy. Perhaps even more, though, I would have liked to see him rededicate his campaign to his core principles (after having thoroughly addressed the various attacks and mischaracterizations). Then he could have hit on the various economic and trade and security issues within the framework of his principles and vision.

    Forgive my naivete as a newbie to the site: kicked off what roll?

  6. You’re not off the roll, RDB. You’re looking at the wrong roll. The roll to the right that is visible in its entirety is the Advertising Liberally blog roll, which apaprently we’re not allowed to put into a drop down menu. All other rolls, including our main roll, are in drop down menus, But since you’re the second person to make mention of this, I’ll talk to Dustin some time tonight about seeing if we can’t take our main blogroll out of a drop down style.

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