Sep 8, 2010

From the time he was swept into office in what some hailed as the beginning of a post-racial era, President Barack Obama's strategy has been to play to American idealism.

Unfortunately, as he was doing that, his Republican opponents were stoking racial fears and ideological passions.

They've been at it since Day One.

Worried that having a black man in the White House might mean a turn toward policies that might chip away at their expectations of privilege, they marched and rallied to "take back the country."

They formed the Tea Party. They carried signs of racist caricatures of Obama, called him a socialist and continue to question his citizenship. They use language, both blatant and coded, to dredge up fears of black radicalism, black incompetence and any other stereotypes about black people that might lurk in the minds of white voters.

And now, come the midterm elections, it seems like that strategy might work – because all the white people who either hate Obama or have lost confidence in him are looking forward to voting against the Democrats – while the blacks whose record turnout propelled him to the presidency don't plan to vote at all.

According to a recent Gallup poll, black voters who helped put Obama over the top in 2008 aren't too fired up about using their clout to keep his party in power. In 2008, for example, blacks and whites were equally likely to say that they were giving "quite a lot of" or "some" thought to the presidential election.

Now, according to Gallup, 42 percent of whites say they are giving "quite a lot of" or "some" thought to the 2010 elections – while only 25 percent of blacks say the same thing.

That's bad.

Apparently, fear of what a GOP-led Congress – especially one whose agenda is being hijacked by whites who want to turn back the clock on civil rights – might do to black people isn't enough to get them to the polls in November.

Jobs, however, would have been.


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