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PA Governor: White Democrats won’t vote for Obama

By Griffin · February 12th, 2008 · 7 Comments

Governor Ed Rendell– a Clinton supporter– today weighed in on the Democratic race, in which Pennsylvania may become a key battleground if Clinton and Obama are still tied in delegates after March 4th.  Impressively, he was able to narrow down the exact percentage of Democrats who won’t vote for a black candidate:

“You’ve got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate,” he said bluntly. … “I believe, looking at the returns in my election, that had Lynn Swann [2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate] been the identical candidate that he was –well-spoken … charismatic, good-looking — but white instead of black, instead of winning by 22 points, I would have won by 17 or so.”

I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, so I can vouch that there are portions of the state that are… um, racially polarized.  But I’d like to know exactly which returns Rendell saw that convinced him that 5% of his vote came from people who just didn’t want to vote for the black guy.  Cause they don’t usually ask that in the exit polls.

At any rate, we can all read the subtext here; we’ve seen this argument before:  Don’t vote for the black guy, not because you’re racist, but because other people are racist.  What’s funny is that six months ago, it was the exact opposite; Obama wasn’t black enough.  It was: Don’t vote for the black guy because even black people don’t support him.  Now he’s too black.  According to Clinton herself, she lost Louisiana on Saturday due to ”a very strong and very proud African-American electorate, which I totally respect and understand.”  Totally.

At some point, the Clinton campaign is going to have to realize that it’s 2008 not 1968, and not only is their race-baiting not working, it’s often backfiring, as we saw throughout the Southern contests.  Obama realized early on in his political career– most notably, during his failed congressional run in 2000– that while race is an important issue in America, racial politics don’t work for him.  Hillary Clinton has stood by her husband through several terms as governor, two terms as president, and twice ran her own successful Senate campaigns in New York.  But the supposedly more experienced candidate has yet to figure out that racial politics don’t work for her either.  She may still win this campaign by running against the “inexperienced” guy or the “naive” guy, but she’ll never win by running against the black guy.

Tags: Barack Obama · Democrats · Hillary Clinton

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Randy Nichols // Feb 12, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    - Randy Nichols.

  • 2 Anonymous // Feb 12, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Well, I guess everyone is entitled to speak his/her mind just as each voter is entitled to vote for the candidate they know can help move this country forward, away from the path of narrow mindedness.

  • 3 Mark // Feb 12, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Any question why all Republicans and a growing number of Democrats despise Hillary Clinton?

    That a Democratic candidate for the presidency would systematically inject race into the campaign by employing these dirty scare tactics (“I’m not racist, but others are, so be very afraid”) is the most disappointing thing I’ve seen in politics in a long, long time.

    Do not be fooled by any suggestions that Rendell does not speak for the Clinton team. That’s what we heard about Shaheen, about Bob Kerrey and about the staffers who sent out the “Obama is a Muslim” emails. The Clintons are dirty, and Democrats who reward this style of politics with their votes are complicit in the slime.

    This lifelong Democrat will be voting Obama in the primary, and McCain in the general if Hillary is the Democratic nominee. Congratulations Clintons, you just turned a longtime liberal into an independent. Dirtbags.

  • 4 Emmett Jones // Feb 12, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Hey…I’m from Pennsylvania and I heard that during this year’s election they’ll be handing out color strips along with pictures of the candidates, so that we voters can make an informed decision. Don’t hate on our progressive politics. That’s all I have to say.

  • 5 obama4prez // Feb 12, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    “there are portions of the state that are… um, racially polarized.”

    and that is the case EVERYWHERE, in all the damn states, and OBAMA still continues to win them and gain more “white” voters/supporters as the day goes by.

    the thing i don’t get about white supremacists/idiots (which this guy clearly is) is why they seem to think that if they get rid of “blacks” or keep the “black man” down, that their lives will miraculously become happy and their white world will be a better place? IT WONT! you will just find something else to bitch and moan about, because that is just the pessimistic culture of people like that.

    get a life and look at facts, not emotional crap!
    he is the best guy for the job. it’s 2008, evolution people evolution.

  • 6 Griffin // Feb 13, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Much appreciated. You almost expect racial politics to be played in parts of the Republican Party– most notably, through the “Southern strategy” that has existed since the Civil Rights Movement. But to see leaders in the Democratic Party– which for the last few decades has been a firewall against intolerance of all types– engaging in the exact same type of behavior is both disappointing and alarming.

  • 7 Leah // Oct 22, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    I am white, with an embarrassing racist family – and I am voting for Obama ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE!!!

    So to all of you ignorant people out there that agree with this ridiculous article and only see color…please, do our country a favor and don’t vote!

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