Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Presidential Race

As we finally turn down the home stretch toward election day 2008, Barack Obama leads in the polls and is the likely winner as of this date. However, the contest remains tighter than might be expected based on the unpopularity of the current Republican President and the precarious state of the economy. The narrow margins in the polls have lead many pundits to begin talking about the issue of race and warning of the potential "Bradley effect." While there are legitimate issues for discussion regarding the impact of race on this election, much of this punditry is overly simplistic, even recklessly so.

It is true that this election is running closer than would be expected, and there remains some possibility that John McCain could pull it out at the end. However, there are significant factors other than race that account for that reality. A little history is helpful here.

In 2000, Al Gore ran for President with the advantages of the backing of a popular incumbent and a strong economy. He lost to an opponent of inferior experience. Mr. Gore's run for the White House was hindered by perceptions that he held views that were too liberal on some issues and by a public persona that many considered to be unappealing. His campaign was badly run. He lost an election that was his to lose.

In 2004, George Bush should have lost. His poll numbers were precariously low until the Democrats nominated a candidate that Americans liked even less. It was only a favorable comparison to John Kerry, who was both too liberal and too elitist in his bearing, that made President Bush electable for another term.

That brings us to 2008. The American public is dying to vote Democrat. The Republican administration has violated principle by expanding government, gotten us in the middle of an unpopular war, and shown a pattern of incompetence. However, the Democrats have nominated a candidate who is arguably the most radical nominee of a major party in modern American history and who has a record of minimal actual achievement.

Americans want to vote Democrat. Many are on the edge as to whether in this instance they can. And, for most, that uneasiness has nothing to do with race.

My own view is that the race issue will be a wash in this election. Will some vote against Barack Obama because he is black? Yes, sadly so. However, black turn out will be huge, and there will be others who, in part, will decide to vote for him because they want our nation to overcome the racial barrier.

While that may be pollyannish, it remains true that this election is not close merely because of race. If Sen. McCain wins, it will not be simply because race lost Sen. Obama the election.


Blogger Zach said...

I'll admit, I thought race was going to be a big issue for Obama. But, he has done incredible job of transcending race. Sure there will be some that will not vote for him because of his race, but there will be others who vote for him because of his race.

No matter who wins this thing, we have to send the next president a loud message that the economy must be their firt priority. I signed this petition to the 44th prez. .

. . hope he heeds the call.

4:42 PM  

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