One of the key points I made in my “Can we give the white working classes what they want” speech at the Fabian event at the Labour Party conference was that a lot of middle class white commentators on this country – people like Rod Liddle for example – use the working classes to project their own bigotry. It’s that classic Enoch Powell syndrome – conjure up a conversation with some poor white sod who says the area has changed beyond recognition, and then say you’re only stating what the poor, downtrodden white working class person is saying: that immigration destroys this country etc.
In the United States, the same discussion keeps coming up in the form of the bloody “Bradley effect“, which is constantly talked about to justify why whites might end up switching their votes from Barack Obama at the last minute because they can’t bring themselves to vote for a black man.
In an article for the NY Times, Frank Rich reaches a similar conclusion to me:
But the other, less noticed lesson of the year has to do with the white people the McCain campaign has been pandering to. As we saw first in the Democratic primary results and see now in the widespread revulsion at the McCain-Palin tactics, white Americans are not remotely the bigots the G.O.P. would have us believe. Just because a campaign trades in racism doesnâ€™t mean that the country is racist. Itâ€™s past time to come to the unfairly maligned white Americaâ€™s defense.
Well, there are racists in western Pennsylvania, as there are in most pockets of our country. But despite the months-long drumbeat of punditry to the contrary, there are not and have never been enough racists in 2008 to flip this election. In the latest New York Times/CBS News and Pew national polls, Obama is now pulling even with McCain among white men, a feat accomplished by no Democratic presidential candidate in three decades, Bill Clinton included. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey finds age doing more damage to McCain than race to Obama.
I’ve said before of course, that I think the current Republican Party is full of scum. I stand by that. In the last week of the election, the McCain campaign is going to generate an amazing amount of “Robo-call slime” in order to make people fear voting Obama. Who knows if it will work – this election is still not in the bag. And plus, the Democrats are incredibly lame at responding to negative attacks.
The problem for McCain is that Obama is basically swamping McCain everywhere with ads – sometimes by 3-1 – and pushing everyone to vote early. This means that changing the narrative at the last minute against Obama is a very difficult task for him. McCain is very low on cash. But do not underestimate the bile that Republicans are capable of generating.
One last point – this is also a slap in the face for those stupid lefties who keep buying into the right-wing talking point that it’s the “latte sipping east/west coast liberals” who don’t understand “real America”. You know who you are.
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Filed in: Race politics,United States