White People Power

nyt-southern-fold-600x365New Orleans    Reading the papers this morning, I could see the future, and it was very scary!

The New York Times was speculating in the wake of the Republicans beat down of the Democrats in the midterm elections about where the Republicans might find a path to victory at the presidential level that has seemed to increasingly elude them with the changing demographics of the United States. Not to put too fine a point on it, but surprising no one, the path leads right through white people.

Yes, I know you thought it was already all about white people, didn’t you? Well, here they come again.

Even as the majority in the United States tends increasingly towards minorities and white people become the largest minority in the country, they are steadily becoming their own monolithic voting bloc. When the statisticians analyzed the path to electoral power in some of the elections where there were surprises, like Iowa, they found that rural white voters, even those that had been traditionally Democratic voters were going Republican now. Additional information indicates that the same conundrum exists in the Southern states which are now leeching themselves of Democratic Party representatives. The traditional political rule-of-thumb had been that if a Democrat in the South got 40% of the white vote, then with huge support among African-Americans and solid support among Latinos, they would win. Now it appears that Democratic candidates are lucky to be able to figure the math at 30% and are only winning 25%.

It gets worse!

Where Democrats and many Republicans had assumed the presidential electorate was stacked heavily in their favor with a coalition of African-Americans, Latinos, young people, and women, this white people power thing is a problem. Experts are noting that too many of the soothsayers were discounting the fact that President Obama in his two victories actually polled very well among whites outside of the South and in rural areas, especially in the northeast and Pacific states. A Democratic candidate would have to do about as well with whites to hold that coalition together even with the increased voter turnout that comes with a presidential election.

So the bottom line is that rather than it being a laugh line that the Republicans are a party of old, white men, this could be their ticket into the White House, especially if they have a candidate who doesn’t stink with Latino voters, who are more conservative than African-Americans, and make the mistake of wearing their misogyny on their sleeves.

It could happen, despite the numbers. We always knew in New Orleans that even with a solid 65% African-American majority that a conservative African-American that appealed to the business community and could pull 90% of the whites and a third of the black vote could win, and that’s how we got C. Ray Nagin as mayor for two terms. A Republican candidate like Jeb Bush or Mark Rubio who wasn’t crazy and polarizing could erode Latino support and confuse some of the other voting blocs with the big “if” being whether they could get through the primaries. A Democratic candidate like Hillary Clinton, who many have already conceded the nomination, could make it tricky because of her age with young voters, her baggage with all voters, and the 10-year hiatus on whether or not she could erode the white people power bloc of the Republicans.

Nothing looks easy for anyone today going into the 2016 contest. We’ve lived with white people power for years in the United States, so the notion that it could be back will provoke many screams in the night from sound sleepers throughout the country.

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Puppy Love for the Big Dawg, Clinton

Bill Clinton Urged Florida Democrat to Quit Bid
Bill Clinton Urged Florida Democrat to Quit Bid

Phoenix I’m pretty sure either Mexico billionaire Carlos Slim didn’t make his contribution this year to the Clinton Foundation Global Initiative and decided to take it out in trade, or the New York Times is so desperate to find something upbeat for the Demos about the midterm elections that they had to come up with somebody, but whatever the reason we are being treated to the equivalent of a sudden outpouring of media puppy love for the old big dawg, former President Bill Clinton.

Suddenly, he’s just where he wants to be again:  everywhere!  And, better than ever before, he’s unleashed and unaccountable to anybody or anything.

We get treated to a story about how he makes and breaks restaurants around the world by stopping by and chowing down whether hot dog stands in Iceland or pricey digs in 5 star Indian hotels.  We also learn that he is both a vegan, and someone who orders the biggest steak in – where was that – Spain?  Germany?  No matter, like I said, a meat-eating vegan:  accountable to no one!

He’s supposedly a big draw out on the hustings and going where President Obama supposedly can’t go or isn’t welcome or thought to be a liability.  Clinton’s popularity is way up, while Obama’s is way down.

Unleashed is a tricky place for big Bill.

Certainly he was all over the line in the primary fight for Senator Blanche Lincoln, but I guess the general readership could look the other way at his blatant union bashing and say, “well, it’s Arkansas, it’s the home state, what can you do?”

Today the story is everywhere, released by Clinton’s people, but without a doubt cleared by Obama’s political folks, as he throws Congressman Kendrick Meeks (Democrat – Florida) under the bus with a tale that he had “almost” convinced him to withdraw from the race for the Senate and support the more moderate, Governor Charlie Crist, a Republican running as an independent, against the Tea Party swoon, Mark Rubio.   I’m having trouble remembering a time where it was clearer that a candidate was knifed in the back, Brutus-and-Caesar-in-Rome-style in front of God, TV, and the full on print media, in hopes of turning the tide for the candidate that Clinton and Obama have decided they want.  Did I have to say that Meek is African-American or that he had won the primary in Florida?  No, I didn’t think so.  So, Clinton suddenly in the warm glow collects a big chit for Obama by tossing an African-American under the bus so that Obama doesn’t have to take this heat to his own base, and Clinton can still posture that folks will be ok, because, hey, remember, he was the “first black president.”

Here the dog barked for the master, but given the buildup of the “new” Bill, it could all still look like more of the “no boundaries, do my own thing” Bill of recent years.

The next move in this sweet dance between two lively Presidents is going to be very interesting with the good ol’ boy from Arkansas goes to collect on these big time favors.

Meanwhile the press will keep fawning as if they are still at the McDonald’s line on Broadway in Little Rock in the ‘90’s, and miss the story even as it unfurls in front of their own eyes, lost in the warm glow of puppy love for the big dawg.

Arf-arf!

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