There was a time when all you had to be was white, Republican, and from the South and everything was right with your world. If you were from Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia (except for 1992, but you can blame the Perot bleed for that anomaly), or Texas, your candidate was always golden and you had the strength of numbers to help sway the national count. The Republicans could confidently devote their resources to the big-ticket states like Ohio and Indiana, and count that Florida would probably still come around in the end. But the dynamic is a bit different this time around, thanks to a melanin-enhanced Democratic candidate who isn’t Jesse Jackson. The South is rising again and this time it’s putting the fear of Jesus into the Republicans.
Blacks are registering in record numbers across the country and they’re scaring the hell out of the Republicans for a fall election where they usually count on a significant of voting-eligible African-Americans sitting out the race because they’re understandably skeptical about being represented by either party’s standard-bearer.
Not in 2008. Once they go Barack, they almost certainly won’t go back. His MLK Day retraction notwithstanding, John McCain is a man who has no credit on the street. He has his African-American supporters, but they seem to be limited to the black GOP pundits that MSNBC has been inviting on lately.
According to recent estimates, black voter registration has roughly doubled since 2004 in Georgia and South Carolina.
In Georgia, for example, George Bush in 2000 received 55%, Al Gore received 43%. They were separated by a difference of 303,490 votes. Since October 2007, black voter registration in the state is up 400,000. Somehow I don’t see that as being a by-product of the all-inclusive, big-tent appeal of Senator McCain. And Georgia has 15 electoral votes on its platter. If Al Gore had excited that kind of African-American passion in 2000, our main debate now would be whether to elect that shifting turncoat Joe Lieberman, assuming Gore didn’t see his true colors and jettison him before 2004.
The GOP is already smarting by and stunned from last Tuesday’s special election loss by Republican Greg Davis to Democrat Travis Childers in Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District. George Bush won this district with 62% of the vote in 2004. Similary, Democrat Don Cazayoux won his own special election in Louisiana’s 6th District, which hasn’t gone Democrat in more than 30 years. Senator Obama has been trying to make a point of his campaign’s companion voter registration drive to woo black and young voters who haven’t previously been participating voters, but as recently as last month his discussion of that effort fell on deaf ears to reporters who were more eager to talk about Reverend Wright.
I can’t say I’m surprised that the media is ignoring it, because voter registration just isn’t that sexy, but this is the story that’s going to reverberate beyond tomorrow’s headlines, if only because of the results. When you have just less than half of the country’s eligible voters not participating in our elections, that’s a ginormous untapped resource, especially given that the last two elections have been lost by a whisker and/or the creative finessing of extra-electoral forces. If a few hundred thousand extra voters in just a handful of state go and pull the lever for you, then your election is never going to come down to dubious polling place/ballot box practices or a Supreme Court who on six other days in the week would decide in favor of state’s rights.
This isn’t the only Southern rebellion that John McCain has to worry about. Former Georgia Republican Bob Barr has joined the race, vying for and likely to receive the Libertarian Party nod for the nomination later this month.
A CLINTON IN EVERY POT: “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” That was Herbert Hoover’s 1928 campaign slogan, and we all know how that worked out. I’m going to lose a $5 bet I made with my 25-year-old niece last year that Hillary would be win the Presidency, but I don’t have a problem with that given the way Hillary has disappointed me like a father who finds out his beautiful, brilliant daughter has decided to pay for her Master’s degree working as an escort.
I’ve been skeptical of the Clinton economic plan, and only more so after the championing of the absurd gas tax holiday. Somewhere in Heaven right now, Paul Tsongas is throwing a beer can at his television, screaming, “See??? ‘Pander bear’, just like I said about her philandering husband in ’92!!!”
I’m calling bullshit on the Clinton Economic Bonafides, for petty and personal reasons, because twice in the last two months my family has lost money because of the Clinton Presidential Campaign. Most recently was today when I arrived at my mother’s wine shop where I work on Saturdays to find all of the parking spaces along State Street in Hood River blocked off. I pulled into the shop and parked in the back shortly before they barricaded the entire block. Even though Hillary is going to get throttled in Tuesday’s Oregon primary by 15 or more points and that, this being a mail-in-only state, all of the ballots that haven’t been mailed and will have to be dropped off represent a tiny few of the whole, Bill and Chelsea were scheduled for an evening rally outside the Hood River County Library. With the barricades and the Secret Service prowling everywhere, we did no business today and closed at 2:00 PM. Sir and madame, your wife and mother is going to get clobbered here, so God bless you for fighting the good fight and for leaving us with $155 in till at the end of the day.
My mother suggested to a police officer helping with the barricading that she might “bill Bill” if she, as it indeed turned out, lost most of her business for the day. Amusing, yes, and forgive her her naivete. Even if they were obligated, they wouldn’t pay her. My sister hosted a catering when Hillary attended a rally in Hillsboro, Oregon in early April. Like a number of other vendors who have agreed to sell their services to Clinton-related events, she hasn’t been paid yet. I can appreciate how paying their bills would cut into their futile media buys in lost states, though.