2008 Primary: Predicting the Future

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Here is CNN’s tabulation of South Carolina’s 2008 primary vote: (The link is now dead)

Impressive. Whoo Hoo! Barack Obama, a black man, an African-American, won 55% of the Democratic vote and 80% of the African American vote. But do you see what I see? Look at the numbers more closely. Still don’t see it? Let me draw your attention to the actual number of people who cast a ballot for Senator Obama: 295,091. Let’s look now at Senator Clinton’s number: 141,128. Just for kicks and giggles, let’s look at the Republican winner in the state, Senator John McCain: 147,283. Hmm. John beat Hillary. No, that’s not the story. It really isn’t. For further fun, let’s divide Senator’s vote total by 2: The answer is 147,545.5. In other words (and this is the real story), Senator Obama got slightly more than twice the votes that the Republican primary winner in a southern state got.

But wait! you object. There were more Republicans in the field than Democrats. What about the vote dilution effect? Darn it, CNN didn’t make this one easy for me. Gotta get out the handy dandy calculator again — here it is: Democrats: 530,322 votes, Republicans: 442,918.

87,404 more people cast votes for Democrats than Republicans in South Carolina, a state that has gone Red ever since the Republican party developed the “Southern strategy” (less euphemistically known as “catering to racism”) when Ronnie Raygun delivered his famous speech introducing the mythical “welfare queen” at Philadelphia, Mississippi, the site where three young civil rights workers were murdered in 1964.

Ya hear that? The Republican “Southern strategy” (race baiting) is failing. There are cracks in the foundation. Woot! Why? Because black people can vote, and the gender and race makeup of the Democratic contenders gave them people to vote for.

Now watch this: In the next six months, Southern and Midwestern states, as well as states with recent immigrant influxes, are going to scramble to push through laws and/or court decisions to stop “voter fraud”, by requiring photo IDs or other more stringent measures. Why do this? It’s the latest in a long line of voter suppression tactics. Despite absolutely NO (NO — I mean NO) evidence of voter fraud related to fake identities, other than very isolated incidences, suddenly the Republican leadership sees (and has seen for several years) a need to ensure that all voters show a valid photo ID before voting.

Here’s a headline from Brown University: Voter I.D. Requirements Reduce Political Participation, Study Finds. Go read it. The original study, and its predecessors, are cited in the article, and appear to be based on sound principles.

In case you missed this point made by the study’s author, I’ll highlight it here “This data shows that if voter I.D. policies had not been in place in 2004, voter turnout would have increased by more than 1.6 million.. Get that? The Republican “revolution” of 2004 was based almost solely on vote suppression.

Go, Obama, go! Keep breaking up that marriage between bigotry and greed, and invite a tidal wave of liberalism (progressivism, if you prefer) into the government that will undo the deliberate, calculated disenfranchisement of the poor and establishment of the super-rich as a permanent elite that has been the true agenda of the Republican party for the last thirty years.

A note: While of course part of Obama’s victory was probably a result of his symbolism as a black man, by no means was all of it. Broken down by race and age, it’s clear that while the fact that black people came out to vote for him swung some significant numbers for him, that wasn’t the whole picture. Digging deeper into the CNN site, I found the Democratic primary exit polling (again, site link is now dead) While Edwards won the age categories older than 25 (tied with Clinton in the oldest category, 60+) for “non-black” people, Obama had a clear victory in the 25 and under crowd of white folks. Hello, future.

Obama is a legitimately good candidate for President. So are Clinton and Edwards. The Republican field does not have a single candidate as knowledgeable and astute as any of the three in either foreign or domestic affairs. “What’s happening here” is that attempts at vote suppression are failing to do their job, and that well qualified Democratic candidates are showing their ability to counter Republican smear campaigns with strong issues based speeches (normal primary “silly season” squabbling aside) that resonate with the majority of Americans.

Like during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the true colors of the Republican agenda are coming into clear focus, and the truth that “trickle down” economics is just another way of saying “piss on the poor” is coming home to roost. Grab some popcorn and prepare for the dog and pony show. The Republican shenanigans are about to get interesting.

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