Colorado Independent: Inserting race into the election? It’s all in your head

Colorado Independent (9/19/08)

Inserting race into the election? It’s all in your head

A psychological study finds there is substance to what “black art” campaign operatives have attempted to do in using race as a wedge issue with voters.

The report published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology turns the conventional wisdom of like-minded racial and ethnic group identity — “who you are” — on its head to explore how important “who you are not” is in voting preferences.

Ars Technica explores it further:

During the Democratic primaries, there were indications that, among the social variables, race was an important factor. Asian and Latino voters preferred Hillary Clinton, but Black voters heavily supported Barack Obama.

Between October 16 and December 17, 2007, the psychologists asked Asian and Latino undergraduate student volunteers to think and write about how being in their minority group shaped their lives in the United States (the affirmational condition). They then asked another set of Asian and Latino volunteers to concentrate and write about how being “not Caucasian” affected their lives (the negational condition). Once the writing was done, they asked the participants to pick either Obama or Clinton as if they were voting for the Democratic primary right at that moment.

Talking Points Memo: Who Is Funding Distribution Of DVDs About Radical Islam In Campaign Home Stretch?

Talking Points Memo (9/19/08)

Who Is Funding Distribution Of DVDs About Radical Islam In Campaign Home Stretch?

This got a bit of attention earlier this week, and we’re surprised it hasn’t attracted the notice of the bigger news orgs, because it’s a pretty interesting mystery: Who, exactly, is funding the distribution of lurid DVDs across America warning of the global radical Islamic threat, in the home stretch of the election?

The group funding the current distribution of it is a shadowy nonprofit in New York called the Clarion Fund, which was founded by filmmaker Shore. The Harrisburg Patriot-News of Pennsylvania spoke to Clarion spokesperson Gregory Ross, and was told that some 28 million of these DVDs would be distributed nationwide through direct mail and in newspapers up into September. Meanwhile, a Florida TV station reported mid-week that the DVDs had already started showing up in mailboxes in the southwest part of this crucial swing state.

So how much money is behind this campaign to ship 28 million DVDs out with two months to go until the election? Ross has only been willing to say that his group is spending “millions.”

Media Matters: Cavuto suggests Congress should have warned that “[l]oaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster”

Media Matters (9/19/08)

Cavuto suggests Congress should have warned that “[l]oaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster”

Summary: On September 18, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto conflated giving home mortgages to minorities with risky lending practices, suggesting that there should have been “a clarion call that said, ‘Fannie and Freddie are a disaster. Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster.’ “

New Mexico Politics: Bernalillo County GOP Chair: “Hispanics consider themselves above blacks”

New Mexico Politics (9/19/08)

Bernalillo County GOP Chair: “Hispanics consider themselves above blacks”

I was alerted to this for an altogether different reason, but came across this astonishing quote by Bernalillo County Republican chairman Fernando C’ de Baca:

“The truth is that Hispanics came here as conquerors,” he said. “African-Americans came here as slaves.”Hispanics consider themselves above blacks. They won’t vote for a black president.”

The BBC writer acknowledged how wrong the statement seemed: “I wasn’t sure about this, though. Virtually all of the Hispanic voters I spoke to told me they were supporting Obama.”

I’m sure there are Hispanics who will vote for McCain or just not vote for Obama for various reasons. Reasons that they think are right. But saying we “consider themselves above blacks” just makes us all seem like racists.

NY Observer: Obama and the 40-Year-Old Virgin

NY Observer (9/18/08)

Obama and the 40-Year-Old Virgin

In Michigan, right-wing operatives are seeking to aggravate white Democrats by linking Obama to Kwame Kilpatrick, the disgraced mayor of Detroit who leaves office today in a deal with prosecutors that included pleading guilty to two felony charges of obstructing justice. A brief clip of Obama praising Kilpatrick last year, long before his indictment, is the centerpiece of an inflammatory ad appearing on cable channels in Macomb County outside Detroit, where white Democratic voters reside who may be susceptible to such appeals to prejudice.

Behind the ad is “Freedom’s Defense Fund,” a Washington-based PAC that is actually the front for a group of Republican consultants affiliated with an outfit called BMW Direct Inc. They specialize in racial politics, having put together a dubious “Black Republican PAC” that deploys African-Americans to attack Democrats.

Zentronix: Marvin Gaye On The 2008 Elections

Jef Chang/Zentronix (9/15/08)

Marvin Gaye On The 2008 Elections

In 1972, Marvin Gaye was coming off breakthrough success with What’s Going On. He moved to Los Angeles and turned his attention to the 1972 presidential election, which pitted Richard Nixon against George McGovern.

Nixon was trying to solidify what’s become known as the “Southern Strategy”, using racially coded language–crime, busing, welfare, radicalism–to mobilize a “Silent Majority” of white voters. McGovern, on the other hand, was depending on a coalition of anti-war progressives, young voters, and communities of color.

Wall Street Journal: Rush Limbaugh: Obama Is Stoking Racial Antagonism

Wall Street Journal: Rush Limbaugh (9/18/08)

Obama Is Stoking Racial Antagonism

I understand the rough and tumble of politics. But Barack Obama — the supposedly postpartisan, postracial candidate of hope and change — has gone where few modern candidates have gone before.

Mr. Obama’s campaign is now trafficking in prejudice of its own making. And in doing so, it is playing with political dynamite. What kind of potential president would let his campaign knowingly extract two incomplete, out-of-context lines from two radio parodies and build a framework of hate around them in order to exploit racial tensions? The segregationists of the 1950s and 1960s were famous for such vile fear-mongering.

The malignant aspect of this is that Mr. Obama and his advisers know exactly what they are doing. They had to listen to both monologues or read the transcripts. They then had to pick the particular excerpts they used in order to create a commercial of distortions. Their hoped-for result is to inflame racial tensions. In doing this, Mr. Obama and his advisers have demonstrated a pernicious contempt for American society.

We’ve made much racial progress in this country. Any candidate who employs the tactics of the old segregationists is unworthy of the presidency.