Campaign for America’s Future: Blog for our Future: Economic Crisis Beats Racial Divisiveness

Campaign for America’s Future: Blog for our Future

Economic Crisis Beats Racial Divisiveness

Perhaps the first sign that racism may not play a determining role in the general election was when the McCain campaign gave up on Michigan.

President Bush lost the severely economically distressed state in both 2000 and 2004. But some thought Sen. John McCain had a chance of tying Sen. Barack Obama to the scandal that cut short Kwame Kilpatrick’s term as mayor of Detroit. (They’re both black, y’know.)

But working-class Michigan apparently isn’t as racist as some hoped. The McCain campaign last week abruptly pulled out of Michigan, telling the Washington Post that since Michigan is an “economic basket case,” McCain can’t possibly win there.

Racism, both subtle and overt, has not been hard to find in this election. But the economic crisis may be challenging racism in an unprecedented way. Instead of fostering scapegoating and deeper division, the urgency of the crisis is prompting a gut check in some — to look past color and think about what is best for their economic security.

In September, The New Yorker’s George Packer traveled economically-depressed Ohio. He found considerable racism holding Obama back, but also reported this eyebrow-raiser:

Dave Herbert was a stocky, talkative building contractor in an Ohio State athletic jersey. At thirty-eight, he considerably lowered the average age in Bonnie’s. “I’m self-employed,” he said. “I can’t afford to be a Democrat.” Herbert was a devoted viewer of Fox News and talked in fluent sound bites about McCain’s post-Convention “bounce” and Sarah Palin’s “executive experience.” At one point, he had doubted that Obama stood a chance in Glouster. “From Bob and Pete’s generation there are a lot of racists—not out-and-out, but I thought there was so much racism here that Obama’d never win.” Then he heard a man who freely used the “ ‘n’ word” declare his support for Obama: “That blew my theory out of the water.”

Meanwhile, the voices of hate grow louder. For example, see this video of conservatives at a McCain-Palin event, showing people openly calling Obama a “terrorist” because of his “name” and his “bloodlines.”



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