Now that we have our nominee, we can move towards healing the schism in our own party. We'll have ample time to do this before August, and in many ways I see the beginning signs of reconciliation. It is rather telling that most of the damage done to both Clinton and Obama was done primarily by each candidate's surrogates, rarely by anything they themselves proposed.
As we move to the general election in November, a major challenge will be attempting to put to ease the minds of many white voters. The Republican party will either clandestinely or overtly rise a spectre in the minds of many: that of the fear of the black man in power. They will skillfully use fear to convince whites that a presumptive Obama administration will put into effect reparations for slavery, reverse discrimination, and a flip-flop of the conventional power structure--one which specifically puts into place Affirmative Action programs on steroids.
Whites will be encouraged to fear that putting blacks in power will mean that they will be subordinate to black causes. Not only that, as this line of thinking will go--black leaders will take the opportunity to stick it to white people because of years of being treated like inferiors by the majority. There will always be a certain dynamic of white people who see any black face as Malcolm X, pre-1965.
We might dismiss these beliefs as rooted in little more than race-baiting, fear-mongering politics meant to divide and scare up votes, but for many white people, these are very potent concerns.
The roots of this go as far back as Birth of a Nation or the Reconstruction period, and try though we wish, we cannot take them away by wishful thinking alone. They are there and they will not go away easily.
Until this point, we have been arguing amongst ourself, among fellow Democrats. Very shortly, however, we are going to be arguing among everyone, and conservative voices will be scathingly condemnatory. It will be quite a challenge to find common ground. To many conservatives, Obama's ascendancy is their worst nightmare and despite Senator Obama's approach of bi-partisan compromise, he will be seen as a deceiver.
How will we combat these tactics and overcome them to win the White House?
Thursday, May 08, 2008
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Great post and excellent points. First of all, it will take a completely united Democratic party to combat these scurrilous tactics. Second of all, Obama will need to keep addressing these issues forthrightly.
All I know is I will be proud to cast my vote for Obama, whether he wins or loses. This will be a truly historic election and I think he may actually pull it off. I just hope Hillary hasn't done too much damage with those "white, hard working" Americans with her not-so-subtle race-baiting.
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