by Ignored and Disgusted, Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:33:39 PM EDT
In recent weeks, while Democratic efforts in the presidential race, house races, and senate races appear to be paying off, a few congressional races in the Deep South stand out for the racial tensions by which they are characterized. The most prominent is the LA-06 race, in which Don Cazayoux must not only face a Republican state senator but also a DEMOCRAT in the form of state Rep. Michael Jackson. Jackson, who lost a primary runoff by a large margin to Cazayoux, cannot seem to get over his loss and could pull much of the African American support that pushed Cazayoux over Woody Jenkins. (http://www.dailykingfish.com/showDiary.d o;jsessionid=625F918E9256AD95B57562C5010 3C53D?diaryId=791) Jackson's claim is that Democratic leaders have unfairly promoted the candidacies of whites over blacks. While in this case the DCCC's support of Cazayoux is irrelavent because of Jackson's obvious ineptitude, the fact remains that Semocratic Leaders in the past have promoted the candidacies of white candidates because they knew that they would have a higher chance of winning. Louisiana is somewhat unique case, as the state's incompetent and indicted African American congressmen insists that the campaign against him is solely because of his race. Despite this, many white Democrats in Louisiana are not comfortable with the idea of an African American representative and as such the issuse of racial tensions is considered when vetting potential candidates. I am not claiming that African American Candidates are not ideal for winning congressional races in the deep south, however. Don Cravins is running a courageous campaign against Rep. Boustany in LA-07 and I hope that he wins in Novemeber. It is intersting to ponder, however, whether Democratic leaders supporting a more competent white candidate over an incompetent black candidate is indicative of racism (as Michael Jackson so kindly told reporters). Another prime example of this is the Democratic Primary for the Georgia senate race.
In this race, Jim Martin faces Vernon Jones, a corrupt CEO of Dekalb County who has been accused of rape in the past and fairs terribly in the latest Rasmussen Reports Poll (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_c ontent/politics/election_20082/2008_sena te_elections/georgia/election_2008_georg ia_senate). While Jones claims that his race is reason to put him on the ballot (implying that Obama will draw enough black votes to give him the edge), this poll shows incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. Now Jim Martin is not a stellar candidate but is undoubtedly better than Vernon Jones, despite Jones' overwhelming support from African Americans in the primary. To win an election statewide as a Democrat(or nationwide for that matter), it is crucial to win white votes and Vernon Jones has proved that he is incapable of doing just that.
This brings me to the impact these subtle racial tensions may influence the general election between McCain and Obama. While it is not likely to have a noticeable impact in Kerry states (other than perhaps working class Pennsylvania), its effect will be amplified throughout the south. Contrary to popular belief, black turnout is quite large in the South and the idea that Obama could increase black turnout to a point that would win him those electoral votes (i.e. Mississippi) is laughable in its impracticality. Many of Hillary CLinton's working class supporters in states like Ohio and West Virginia may very well defect to John McCain, not necessarily because of racism but due to Obama's associations to the Rev. Wright among others (which do not exactly foster a sense of trust in Obama's judgement). Regardless, it is crucial that one be cogniscent of the challenges that race may pose in November. I say this not as a concern troll, as many of you have so succinctly put it, but as a citizen who is concerned with volatile issue of racism.