Racial Politics This Week -- A Roundup

Brought to you by Jill Tubman of Jack and Jill Politics


This week, a controversial photo snapped at a blogger lunch in Harlem with Bill Clinton is under much discussion in the progressive blackosphere. You can follow the conversation here, here, here, and here And responses here and here. I know many of the bloggers in the photo -- including Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller of MyDD -- to be tireless workers against racism in America. I agree with Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft that:

There should have been a greater attempt made to include minority bloggers. But I think it was unintentional. I will bet that when there's another such event, and there will be, whether it's by President Clinton or another Democrat, there will be a greater effort to include a more diverse group of bloggers.

There's a problem with this photo and what it implies about how the power structure is changing -- and who might get left behind. Let's not deny that and make excuses. Instead, let's talk about how to fix it. The Republic of T has a great post on Blogging While Brown that offers a thoughtful commentary on the big picture here (pun intended).

What do you think? Jack and Jill Politics asks you to help us think about how to include more diverse voices from the blogs and beyond to the table of progressive politics so that pictures like this look different from now on.

More news in minorities and politics after the jump.

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MyDD Accountability Adwatch: VoteVets

A+

Terrific stuff.

VoteVets is also running ads against Joe Lieberman.  Hopefully they'll go up on TV in Connecticut.

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VA-Sen: Winnable Races and Admitting To Being A Democrat

Something very interesting is happening in Virginia. Even though he has yet to go on air (although that changes today), Webb might already be ahead of Allen. Electoral Vote.com, which has just launched a 2006 edition, actually currently lists Webb ahead of Allen by averaging the latest polls from Mason-Dixon and Zogby. Now, think what you want of the Zogby polls. Personally, I don't put much of any weight in them, but I am willing to keep an open mind to new polling techniques (at the same time, IO don't want such techniques to give us false hope). However, even with the Zogby poll aside, a look under the hood of the Mason-Dixon poll reveals some very, very encouraging news for Webb.

Specifically, I am referring to the favorable ratings of Allen and Webb in the Mason-Dixon poll. Webb has a 3-1 positive ratio in this category, at 28% favorable and 7% unfavorable. Allen, by contrast, has only a 3-4 positive ratio, at 41% favorable, 31% unfavorable. Numbers like these strongly suggest that Webb will not only pull ahead of Allen, but comfortably pull ahead of Allen once they have comparable name ID's. The only way for this to not happen is for Allen to go nuclear on Webb, and do it now. However, to date he has done nothing of the sort, which at least partially accounts for why this race is so competitive. If trends continue like this... well, basically no one can defeat a well-known candidate with a positive, 3-1 favorable ratio, and Jim Webb will win this campaign easily.

However, there is a hitch in all of this for Webb. Namely, he will never have equal name ID to Allen during this campaign. If he gets his name ID up to 70% among the electorate, he will have done a remarkable job. George Allen has been both Governor of Virginia and a Senator from Virginia, and he currently only has a 72% name ID in the state according to the Mason-Dixon poll. Allen's name ID peaked at 83% in early November of 2000 just before the election where he knocked off Robb, and only ten months after he stepped down as Governor. Webb will simply not be able to match that. Thus, in order to win, Webb will have to rely on a large portion of the electorate being willing to vote not for Webb, but rather to vote for a generic Democrat. If people are not willing to go with the Democratic Party in Virginia no matter who the nominee is, Jim Webb cannot win this election.

This is why I find Webb's new bio ad to be a little baffling. Not only does the ad never mention that Webb is a Democrat, it prominently features Ronald Reagan in both words and images. This may appeal to some voters, but I have serious doubts about its' effectiveness when it comes to actually getting people to vote for Webb. What happens when people go into the voting booth ready to dump Allen, but then discover that the nice-seeming alternative that is Jim Webb is actually a Democrat? Without any branding of the Democratic Party image in Virginia, how many people will Webb end up losing in the voting booth itself?

My point is this: while all candidates need bio ads in order to raise their name ID and present a warm, fuzzy side to the electorate, in order to knock off incumbents this year, challengers are going to need large numbers of voters to be willing to vote for the Democratic Party itself. The incumbent rule is weakening primarily because people do not even know who incumbents are anymore, much less the people who are challenging incumbents. News programs spend less time devoted to actual news, DVR's are quickly on the rise in American homes, and when it comes to local political news we have experienced a nearly complete market failure nationwide. In order to win, Democratic candidates must not just brand themselves as viable alternatives to incumbents in an anti-incumbent year, but they also must brand the Democratic Party as a viable alternative to the Republican trifecta. Failure to do otherwise will result in a very disappointing 2006 for Democrats around the nation.

If candidates do not brand themselves as Democrats in their advertising campaigns in 2006, they will hurt both themselves and other Democrats both and up and down-ticket. To win in 2006, all Democratic challengers will need a huge portion of their votes to come from people who are willing to give the Democratic Party a try after years of Republican mismanagement. We should not be fooled into thinking that we can win purely on a candidate-by-candidate basis. Either we become willing to say we are Democrats, or we better be willing to suffer under another two years of Republican "governance."

Racial Politics This Week -- A Roundup

This week in minority politics, brought to you by Jack and Jill Politics typed to you to the sounds of The Joint, the reggae channel on XM Radio. Let's dive right into some playa-hating, shall we?

Losers This Week:

Al Wynn, whose greasy shell game involving possibly illegal corporate donations to his Maryland Congressional campaign was exposed on MyDD.  Fortunately, there's another candidate for this seat who also happens to be African-American: Donna Edwards. If you live in her district in Maryland, get out and make sure a progressive candidate who will care more for constituents than corporations wins this time. Wynn doesn't deserve to win.

John Bolton, who has brought a not very unique blend of racism, aggression and blunt ideological stupidity to his tenure as U.N. Ambassador got the bum rush from Sen. Lincoln Chafee. During Senate hearings, Chafee probed Bolton's thoughts that "shaping the Middle East" is "one" of the significant challenges of our time. Shouldn't the people living in the Middle East shape their own destiny? I thought Manifest Destiny went out of fashion in the 19th century? Looks like Bolton may be looking for a new job come Jan.

Condi Riceblows any remaining credibility with Black women between the ages of 25-55 or really any thinking American with her head-scratching statements in popular Essence magazine comparing critics of the Iraq war to those who tacitly supported slavery during the Civil War. Repugnant, reactionary, desperate and disgraceful.

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Racial Politics This Week -- A Roundup

Hi, I'm Jill Tubman, a thirty-something living on the East Coast. On my blog, Jack and Jill Politics, I talk about politics from the perspective of the increasingly influential Black middle class. You see, I didn't grow up on the mean streets of East L.A. or East Harlem. Like a lot of people, I grew up in a (relatively) diverse and prosperous suburb, post-integration. MyDD has invited me to offer you a roundup of the week's notable events at the intersection of minorities and politics.

This week, it's almost as if the Republicans got among their usual talking points -- "say something racist, semi-factual and offensive to many, preferably involving Islamofascism." Only time will tell if the "war on brown people" strategy will be effective with their conservative base, but playing the race card so bluntly threatens to activate progressive opponents and alienate moderate supporters.

* Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), running for re-election in Montana, wins the prize for Republican race-baiting this week. He has recently managed to offend multiple ethnic groups in recent statements. Check out this video which shows him warning more than once that Americans are threatened by a faceless enemy who drives taxis by day and kills at night. Then take the poll -- who's a bigger threat to the U.S.: taxi drivers, 7/11 workers, macacas in general, or idiot Senators?

He has also described his personal enforcement of tighter immigration controls in asking his house painter for his green card calling him a "nice little Guatemalan man." In 1999, let's not forget he apologized for calling  Arabs "ragheads" in discussing oil prices.

* The Washington Times, D.C.'s conservative leaning newspaper, ran a front page article attempting to give cover to pro-corporate, conservative-friendly Black Democrats like Al Wynn and Bobby Rush under attack from progressive candidates.

"My general view is that the Democratic Party used to be the big tent party where everyone is allowed to express their views; now it is being taken over by these bloggers and purists who can only see one way of thinking," Mr. Wynn said.
FireDogLake and MyDD received a special mention for supporting Donna Edwards's campaign, who got a Washington Post endorsement this week. Evidently, supporting non-corrupt, solid candidates like Edwards is a racist attempt to destroy the Democratic party. Uh oh, the Washington Post had better watch their step!

The GOP's love affair with racism this week continues after the jump.

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