Color Lines

Realistically, Clinton seems to have difficulty winning anywhere she can’t mobilize racial polarization in her favor. Obama has, of course, deployed polarization to his benefit in a number of states (South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana most notably) but he’s also dominated the states with very few black voters.

Matthew Yglesias, “Maine for Obama“.*

I agree with this assessment in large part. Mrs. Clinton thrives on division, and has been quite apt at using differences between various ethnic minorities to her advantage. Mrs. Clinton handedly defeated Mr. Obama in states where large non-black minorities exist, usually taking these communities. In California (a state copious with respect to Asian-American voters), for example, Mrs. Clinton defeated Mr. Obama by 3-1 among Asian-Americans. Mr. Obama lost the Hispanic vote in New York, California, Nevada, and elsewhere. Many analyses have put this in terms of racism on the part of such minorities. While a great deal of racism exists within most American minority communities (especially towards blacks, and I do not doubt that this played a role), there is surely a plethora of sensible reasons that could have led them towards Mrs. Clinton.

I would like to comment on Mr. Obama’s showing among Arab-American voters. Regrettably, though, where Arab-Americans make up a sizable portion of the electorate, they either did not vote in significant numbers (with voter turn out being less than 9% in some places), or there are no specific statistics out for that sub-population. Polls, however, have shown that the Obama campaign has been somewhat more successful than the Clinton campaign among Arab-Americans. On 14 January, 2008, it was 39% to 36%, respectively. Many in the pro-Israel community enjoy using this (and the composition of Obama’s foreign policy team) as evidence that Obama is less pro-Israel than Mrs. Clinton.** From an Arab-American point of view, this is nonsense; Mr. Obama has done nothing at the national level that can be described as being “pro-Arab” or “pro-Muslim”, let alone anything that can seriously be interpreted as being anti-Israel. He has deliberately attempted to make himself appear to be more pro-Israel than the rhetoric he used when fishing for Arab votes while running for state office in Illinois. Nevertheless, over the course of this last primary season, Arab-American voters have become increasingly Democratic and by many estimates increasingly Obamaicized. Anecdotally, I have yet to meet an Arab-American fellow in my peer group who is not an Obama man — be he Christian or Muslim. For the females, I know a few who are Clinton inclined, but most seem to be Obama girls. The adults are more divided, but the slant is for Obama. The Arab-American Republicans I am close to are either rooting for Ron Paul or John McCain; more-so McCain.

*[Yglesias mentions, sarcastically, that various states (in Clinton’s thinking) do not count because of various factors, such as because they have too big a black population. He was unable to think of reason that Connecticut did not matter. It can be put in the category of “having too many black people”. Connecticut has the largest African-American population in New England, at 10.2%.]

**[This is surely an issue on which he has fewer credentials and Mrs. Clinton has many more connections to the pro-Israel lobby than Mr. Obama does, if only because she is more advanced in age. Although, one of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy advisors is Robert Malley, a former Clinton White House Mideast affairs aide. Malley happens to be of Syrian descent. But some say he was never really an advisor. Then again, Mr. Obama also has ties to Syrian-American crooks too. Mrs. Clinton has her Arabs; Billy Shaheen, of New Hampshire, roughly accused Barack Obama of being a drug dealer and was let go by her campaign.]

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