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Yes, I know. You're an expert on South Carolina because you watched Deliverance and you figure that's close. Maybe you took a course in political science where you learned that there was something called a "Yellow Dog Democrat," and that these people are now going to vote en masse for Hillary Clinton because even though they're demographically composed of overall-wearing sharecroppers who spend their evenings wandering out onto the porch to grab a Budweiser out of the rusted-out fridge sitting there, they still show up to vote for White New York senators because they love everything about the Democratic party, except for Black people. Well, let me say this bluntly: you're wrong. And you're wrong in the same way that once contributed to a phenomenon known as liberal racism.

You are wrong because the people you think exist in this category don't exist. There are no octegenarian rednecks who are wandering down to polls today to choose between Edwards, Clinton, and Obama. The folks you are thinking of went Republican in 1968 and voted for Nixon. In South Carolina, the state has been controlled by Republican machinery since at least the advent of Carol Campbell, and on a national level, the idea of this state going Democratic is laughable. If the people you are thinking of really existed, who is it that you think they would be wandering down to vote for today? Do you honestly imagine that the Confederate Heritage party is going into a backroom with Hillary Clinton today to leverage their votes? Is the Klan currently working on some platform negotiations with the Edwards people? They aren't.

White Democrats in South Carolina may well vote strongly in favor of John Edwards or Hillary Clinton, but it certainly isn't going to be on the basis of race. Edwards is a native son, and we do take heritage and family connections pretty seriously down here. If you can't get on the phone with other family members, and figure out how somebody is distantly related to you or to somebody you know, then you are going to view that person as an outsider. John Edwards hails from a town that is ten miles away from me. You think I need to be a racist to vote for him? Hardly. For those who bemoan "endemic racism" among White Southern Democrats who vote for Edwards or Clinton, I guess you can spend some additional time bemoaning "endemic racism" amongst Black people in this state who will vote overwhelmingly for Obama. I wonder what's up with THOSE folks? They don't like Edwards because he's White? Silly argument, isn't it?

Originally posted to steve davis on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 08:40 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And just for the record, when I pushed the (13+ / 0-)

    touch-screen today, I did it for Obama, so there's another myth shattered :-)

    •  The ultimate trap for those who cry "racist" (5+ / 0-)

      is that it is absolutely unprovable why anyone votes for or against any candidate.

      As you say, if as a white man I choose to vote for someone other than Obama or Clinton, you may assume I'm racist or sexist, but that assumption is unfounded and unfair.

      It says so much that the racial and gender diversity in the race is ALL ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE.

      That's why Obama is right to try to move his supporters past this argument.  It does nothing but hurt him and the party.

      •  you keep getting confused with the term (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gdwtch52

        race baiting and racist.

        Hillary Clinton is turning out to be the Tonya Harding of Politics - Nisleib - Daily Kos Member

        by MadAsHellMaddie on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:01:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  cuts both ways tho (0+ / 0-)

        the groundwork has been well-laid to depict obama as appealing only to blacks if he wins or not, no matter where his votes actually come from.  

        sadly, its a smart strategy because it cuts directly into his appeal as a uniter and an organizer, and paints him as the angry black man...the clintons are well aware that a black candidate must run as a uniting figure to win, for any office.

        Incompetence may be claimed, but conservatism is the problem.

        by jrcjr on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:04:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  His supporters did as much to lay (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim J, al Fubar, burrow owl

          that groundwork as any other candidate's supporters did.

          Now they have to reap the results of a stupid detour in his otherwise brilliant campaign.

        •  Toodle over to Huffington Post, by the way, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevvboy

          and read the incredibly patronizing remarks on the White/Black vote split in South Carolina, courtesy of an egghead from Notre Dame. Somehow, the fact that White South Carolinians may be inclined to vote for a White South Carolinian demonstrates how there is a seething undercurrent of racial tension here. Never mind the fact that White Democrats in this state are either composed of the folks who didn't have any problems with civil rights legislation to begin with, or of transplanted Ohioans who are down here working at BMW. Oh no! However, when 65% of the Black Democratic population votes for Obama, this professor no doubt doesn't see the irony of his premise. As another professor in the piece mentions, this is mostly just crap methodology: the fact that White Democrats are probably going to lean to Clinton or Edwards doesn't mean that they don't have positive regard for Obama, anymore than Black voters are showing some kind of racial tension in voting for Obama over a candidate they also hold in high regard--Hillary Clinton.

          •  notre dame? (0+ / 0-)

            I knew a lot of domers when I lived in chicago, so I find it pretty shocking that anyone from there could speak much about race, but then I'm not familiar with the good professor...

            Incompetence may be claimed, but conservatism is the problem.

            by jrcjr on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 11:42:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't know who it was. Some anonymous (0+ / 0-)

              academic pundit. I trust more the opinion of the one from Emory, who at least lives down here and rightly points out what a silly methodological error it is to assume White voters are making race-based assessments in voting for clinton or Edwards over Obama.

        •  Groundwork ...? (0+ / 0-)

          Come on. Even if no one had ever said a word about race in this campaign, the SC results would be reported and analysed in racial terms. After all, race is the whole reason that SC got an early primary - to give African Americans a voice they don't have in Iowa or NH.

          Obama is going to get most of the black vote, not because they necessary agree more with his views, but because among 3 good candidates, he happens to be black. If his name ended in -ski, he'd get most of the Polish vote.

          So it was writ from day one that, with a single black candidate in the race, the SC results would be viewed in terms of two questions:

          1. How well does he do with white voters in SC, and
          1. How well does anyone else do with black voters in SC.

          This is not rocket science.

          The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

          by al Fubar on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:35:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  clinton set up obama as the black candidate (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jrcjr

          the black voters of obama will come out for obama in force, as i would if i were black, but concommitant to that once white people look at the way black people support obama they will reconsider him. its not nice but that is the way of the world.

          hopefully obama can stop that narrative from snowballing but the clintons know how to run a campaign and they have put obama into a corner from which he gets damned by whites for being a black candidate or loses blacks by being perceived as a black man pandering to whites.

          i have to hand it to the clintons they're masters of this sort of political chess playing, and when i look at obama in the debates he appears as if he doesn't know what hit him and how to defend himself.

          it like responding to the question of "when did you stop beating your wife?" any answer you make damns you.

          peronally i don't know how obama defends himself if he wins SC only because he takes an overwhelming majoity of black voters while capturing less than 50% of white voters. it will play right into the fear and narrative of him being a "black" candidate.

          his win might well be a classic example of a  political pyrrhic victory

          "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

          by kuvasz on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:42:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Good diary. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      al Fubar, steve davis, gdwtch52

      Regional biases have not disappeared.  Stereotypes often are easier than actually thinking.  That's why there are so many of them.

      "They're going to give their power away when we take their power away." John Edwards

      by TomP on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 08:44:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tipped (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hairspray, steve davis

      and rec'd

      very nice diary

    •  thanks for this diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      steve davis, gdwtch52

      Although I admit I was hoping you voted for John.  Ah well.

      http://www.katemckinnon.com

      by kate mckinnon on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 08:59:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was close. It was up to Edwards and Obama. (0+ / 0-)

        Ultimately, I've just felt for weeks now that Obama has the charisma and oratorical skills to blow the election up into a landslide victory. I still remember Edwards from 2004. His convention speech was all right, but nothing to write home about.

        •  you are right, he was less in 2004 (0+ / 0-)

          than he is today.  He's really deepened, and I think has learned a great deal from what he did wrong.

          Do you think that an Edwards-Obama or Obama-Edwards ticket would be a powerful thing?  I sure do.

          http://www.katemckinnon.com

          by kate mckinnon on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:42:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Although I'm for Hillary ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      steve davis

      Damn, I hope your vote got recorded! Touch screens? Ugh.

      The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

      by al Fubar on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:29:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Steve... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      steve davis

      Only one thing you leave out of your otherwise excellent analysis, and that's the political organization of the black community in South Carolina and how institutional factors at work in that community shape its members' electoral choices.

      What a lot of the white progressives on this site do not understand is how the members of the most solidly Democratic part of our Party's base make up their minds, especially in the South.

      It is a very, very complex matter and one that I do not myself understand as well as I would like, though I interact with the political leadership of the black community in the South on a daily basis.

      A well reasoned diary on this topic could make the top of the rec list.

      Supporting Obama but a Democrat first. Stop the hate diaries. Increase the peace. Beat up on the GOP, not each other.

      by DC Pol Sci on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:57:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well put (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hairspray, steve davis

    Thank you.

    I told you when I met you I was crazy

    by crazyshirley2100 on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 08:43:48 AM PST

  •  I appreciate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, hairspray, steve davis

    an actual live South Carolinian weighing in with an honest appraisal of the dynamic in SC.
    I agree that the hysteria the last day or so over the shifting white and black poll numbers in SC is off track.
    Obama was lagging behind HRC in black vote until he won Iowa. Then his support picked up immediately. The popular theory is that Iowa showed he is electable and that probably is true among all voters in SC. His white support dropping looks to be going to edwards after edwards had a strong debate...the media is making something out whole cloth to keep the viewers interested.

    As a native Iowan who is now in chicago.. Iowa gets some of the same hick farmer rap. I am pleased that they showed how sophisticated they actually are on caucus day.

    •  You know it's bad when even one of the talking (5+ / 0-)

      heads on Morning Joe pointed out that much of the talk about racial tensions between Clinton and Obama is being driven by the media rather than actual voters. Somebody the other day had a diary up mentioning that support of Bill Clinton amongst democrats is something like 75%! Which kind of takes the wind out of the sails of media gurus who insist he is damaging his legacy.

      •  The function of racial antagonism (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        steve davis

        is to promote social cohesion without providing the participants any tangible benefits, other than not being ostracized for "wrong thinking."  
        It's idealistic, I know, but I'd like to think that the younger generations have finally seen through this tactic--on both sides of the color divide.

  •  What??!!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hairspray, steve davis, Sarah Ann

    You mean everything everyone does, everything everyone says is not predicated on race???? Well then somebody better tell the MSM and the Obama campaign.

  •  I Would Have Thought The Rednecks.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kate mckinnon, steve davis

    .....would have voted for Wallace in 1968 rather than Nixon.  

  •  My father-in-law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    steve davis

    is a SC democrat who won't vote for Obama on frankly racial grounds.

    Granted though: he's a transplant from the Northeast, so go figure.

    •  transplant from the Northeast (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      steve davis

      after living in the NE and the SE for years, seems to me that neither region has a monopoly on those attitudes, by any stretch.

      tho only northeasterners seem surprised to learn that.

      Incompetence may be claimed, but conservatism is the problem.

      by jrcjr on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:06:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The white Democratic vote in the South (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevvboy, steve davis

    has become largely dependent on student and faculty in college towns and "lib'ruls" in the urban areas, which one would tend to put in the Obama camp for the obvious "wine track" reasons.

    We spend a lot of time here talking about how an African American candidate changes the old dynamics.

    But we don't spend enough time talking about how a woman candidate also changes the dynamic.

    I think you will find a lot of new Democratic voters in the South will come to the polls not only because of Obama, but because of Hillary. Most of the latter, I suspect, will be fairly atypical women married to Republican men.

    I suppose at Daily Kos, i.e., the clearinghouse for "wine track" thought, you'd call them "low-information voters" with a sneer.

    But I prefer to call them "new Democrats," and I think they're just as key as the new Democrats Obama can bring to the fold.

  •  And there's no anti-semites in Germany any more (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry.  NOT buying this.  We all saw the white guys yukking it up around George Allen when he called the young Indian-American "macaca."  Those people are of their community and I expect the Democrats in that community are rather like the Republicans in that community.  

    •  His point isn't that there aren't any more people (0+ / 0-)

      with racist attitudes in South Carolina.  It's that virtually all of them would be caught dead before voting Democrat.  They all went Republican with Nixon and have never looked back.

      I know cause a bunch of them are my kinfolks.

    •  No, they aren't. They aren't anything close (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shawn

      to Virginia Republicans. They are South Carolina Republicans. There isn't a single Democratic office-holder in this state who maintains his position by using the race-code language of the Republican party. Not a single one.

  •  Well, no wonder why they're all wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gdwtch52

    about South Carolina. Deliverance takes place in Georgia.

    You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia".

    by yellowdog on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:31:34 AM PST

  •  While I bemoan your choice.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn, steve davis

    Its still a good diary and worthy of a rec. And I will defend your right to make that choice. (no matter how ill advised I think it is...good speeches don't change nothin')

  •  Where (0+ / 0-)

    in SC are you?  I'm 7 miles from where John Edwards grew up.

    You have the power.

    by jlemere on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 10:27:57 AM PST

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