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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hillary, Bill, Edwards, Obama...Who's Blackest?

CNN.com's latest nugget of presidential news comes from Candy Crowley and Sasha Johnson of the Washington News Bereau. The article, citing the latest ABC News-Washington post poll, describes the recent swing of momentum among black voters from Senator Clinton to Senator Obama.

When this young election cycle was even younger, it seemed that most African-American voters gravitated towards the whiter than paper Hillary Clinton. Why? Because her husband was famously dubbed, "The first black President." Indeed, President Bill Clinton championed many black causes in America and frequently polled extraordinarily high among black voters. Ever since deciding she wanted to run for President, Senator Clinton's hope was that the overwhelming black support for her husband would carry over to her eventual campaign. Aids knew this was crucial for a Hillary Clinton victory, as she is an undeniably divisive figure in America, and needs to secure every demographic she can win.

So she continually looked forward to this moment. She gets to chase the dream she's had since the 1950's. She sticks by her husband. She runs for Senate and gets re-elected. Her Presidential campaign finally arrives. True to form, she was polling very highly with African American voters. The nomination is practically hers... And what happens?

An African-American runs at the same time as her. And not just any African-American, but the first one ever with a decent chance to win. Somewhere, the Clintons are shaking their heads, with Hillary letting out a string of expletives that would make George Carlin blush.

So the aforementioned Washington Post poll came out yesterday, and a 40 point lead for Hillary swung into an Obama 11 point lead. Clinton's advantage, as of now, is non-existent. Of course, a lot can change between now and January, but Camp Clinton can't be happy with the trend.

The flip side of all of this is that a contending black candidate is finally running, and he has to compete with someone who is very popular among blacks. Ultimately, both of these candidates should have huge leads in this demographic, but they're cancelled out by each other. It'd be like if the Superbowl was on at the same night of Game 7 of the World Series. Both of their ratings would be depressed, because their main demographic - sports fans - would have to pick one. However, as it is, they're aired against no major sporting event, and the ratings are gargantuan. Until one of them drops out, Hillary and Obama will have no such luck.

To add to all of this is that there's one more candidate out there who will be popular among black voters. Many polls show that some of the biggest issues on the minds of African-Americans are minimum wage, affirmative action, and the war on poverty. These are all in John Edwards' wheelhouse. Those are his main issues, with only one trumping the lot of them: Iraq, which Edwards is vehemently and vocally against, and that's a stance that endears him to Democratic voters of all skin colors in the primary.


On Tuesday, my buddy Saj, with whom I co-write a sports blog, (Our month-long baseball preview begins today!), will write us a column on Obama. This will add to our list of candidate-based articles, as I've written on Edwards and Steve has written on Giuliani.

Schedule:
Tuesday the 6th: Saj on Obama
Tuesday the 13th: Me on Hillary (snickers)
Tuesday the 20th: My friend Darren on Al Gore

Looking for columnists for McCain, Romney or any other candidate of your choosing. Let me know, or else I'd end up doing it and boring everyone.

In between these gems, make sure to check the blog for any quick hit updates like this one, though I promise I'll try to make them quicker.
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