The other day, a panicked friend sent me an article from the Washington Post about a problem in the Barack Obama campaign how it's facing far more racism behind the scenes than at their big public rallies of support.
I understood his panic. I was shocked, as well. Shocked, I say! This was as stunning, horrifying news as I could possibly imagine.
Are you freaking telling me that Barack Obama is ... black??!
Oh -- my -- God.
How deceptive can a man be? And here, all along, I've been watching his candidacy about openness, honesty, being different. And it turns out that he has been hiding the biggest secret of all from us.
I mean, honestly. I heard him with his own mouth talk about his white grandmother. And in his own book he wrote he was born in Hawaii. And I've been told repeatedly that his mother was white. And that she was born in Kansas -- Kansas! I know he graduated from Harvard.
And now you're telling me that Barack Obama is black?
Did he think he could get away with this? Didn't he figure that after he won state after state after state after state, and neared the Democratic nomination for President that someone would look into his life and discover that he wasn't white?
So, Barack Obama is black. And it turns out there is a racist reaction to his campaign. Gee, go figure.
And yet somehow, he's been able to win 16 primaries, and 13 caucuses (- out of 14). He's won elections in 29 states, he's leading in the popular vote, he's leading in the delegate count, leading in superdelegates ...
... and we're supposed to wonder if he is going to be able to win the national election because he's black, and some people may not vote for him because they're racist.
Barack Obama won primaries in Maine, Delaware, Vermont, Wisconsin, Alaska and Utah. All of these states together, the total black population is 872. The closest they come in Vermont to having black people is Ben & Jerry. The Official State Color of Utah is white, and of Alaska is snowy white. He won South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. George Wallace was the governor of Alabama.
Obama not only won these states, he won some by Grand Canyon margins. Yes, the Hillary Clinton campaign proudly trumpeted her swamping victory in West Virginia as "proof" of her electability, but to be fair, consider the times she was swamped:
In Alaska, Obama beat Clinton 75%-25% - a 50 point margin.
In Idaho, Obama beat Clinton 79%-17% - a 62 point margin.
In Nebraska, Obama beat Clinton 68%- 32% - a 36 point margin.
In Colorado, Obama beat Clinton 67%-32% - a 35 point margin.
Of course there is racism which will be a problem for Obama. (By the way, it's a bigger problem for America.) And of course, there's sexism where many people won't vote for a woman.
But the larger point is that, in the end, it doesn't matter how much people hate you and are going to vote against you. It only matters who is going to vote for you. It only matters if you can get 50% + 1 vote.
The two most viscerally hated candidates in our lifetime were Richard Nixon and George W. Bush -- and both won election twice. Nixon won his two elections in landslides.
This racist reaction to Obama is horrible, despicable. And it's something to be wary of. But we knew it was there. And we know that 14 million Democrats voted on Super Tuesday and only 10 million Republicans. In the end, would you rather be the Democratic presidential candidate this year, or the Republican?
And speaking to that ...
On May 13, Democrat Travis Childers won the Mississippi run-off election for Congress in the highly-Republican 1st District, 53-47% -- that had voted a 62% swamping for George Bush in 2004. Further, this election was deemed so essential to the Republicans that Dick Cheney went there to campaign. More important still for Democrats, this run-off drew one-third more voters than the district's special election three weeks ago. But perhaps most important, the Republicans specifically tried to tie the Democrat to Barack Obama in TV ads - additionally notable because it's a very white district.
Yet the Democrat, tied to Barack Obama, won in a highly-Republican, white district in Mississippi, with a huge turnout of Democrats.
This is horrifying news for Republicans. It also is a bit of a repudiation to the claims Hillary Clinton (and many pundits) are making about how voters will respond to Obama.
Democrats have now won all three special elections, all in highly-conservative districts. As I've written here previously, I think that in November, "reverse coattails" will help whoever is at the top of the Democratic ticket, because Democrats are showing themselves to be so incredibly motivated to go out and vote, and vote out any Republican in office. And Independents, and some Republicans are joining them.
Can Barack Obama do better than Hillary Clinton? Well ... he already has. And it turns out that he has done this while actually being -- are you ready? -- black.