Blog for our Future: Mandate Watch – Bellwether Races/Initiatives To Watch Below The Presidential Contest

Blog for our Future

Mandate Watch – Bellwether Races/Initiatives To Watch Below The Presidential Contest

So how will we know the shape, size and depth of whatever mandate comes out of this, the most ideologically polarized election since 1980? Top-line numbers from the presidential contest are only going to give us a snapshot of what really happened. We’re going to have to look at specific bellweather races and ballot initiatives to really know what happened at a structural level. Here are the bellweathers I’ll be watching, beyond the state-by-state results in the presidential race:

COLORADO

– Amendment 46: Sponsored by the infamous Ward Connerly, this disgusting initiative aims to stoke the old Angry White Man backlash against minorities and women with a measure to essentially ban affirmative action and equal opportunity programs. The latest Denver Post poll suggests this is going to be a close one – if progressives defeat it, they will show that even here in the heart of the Mountain West, we can defeat race/gender-based wedge politics.

GEORGIA, NORTH CAROLINA & MISSISSIPPI

– African American Turnout: Will African American turnout be significantly higher in these southern states in 2008, and will that increased turnout be enough to swing both contested presidential and key down-ballot races blue? If yes, it will dent political scientist Tom Schaller’s theory that progressive efforts to compete in the South are futile.

 

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LA Times: For some white voters, Obama’s race is seen as a ‘bonus’

LA Times

For some white voters, Obama’s race is seen as a ‘bonus’

Some regard casting a ballot for Barack Obama as a victory for diversity, an atonement for past sins and a catalyst for racial healing. But they say race is one of many reasons for their preference.

Reporting from Atlanta — Will Hairston, a white Virginian, admits it freely: When he goes into the voting booth Tuesday, he will take Barack Obama’s race into consideration. 

It will be, he said, one more good reason to pull the lever for the Illinois senator. 

“For me, the Obama thing is a giant step forward for America,” he said. The 47-year-old’s ancestors once lorded over black slaves as owners of one of the Old South’s largest plantation empires. Electing a black candidate, he said, would show that “we’re not just the slavery nation, the Jim Crow nation.” 

This is the other racial dynamic that is shaping the opinion of some white voters, one that has taken a back seat to discussions of white bigotry: the reality that some whites regard a vote for Obama as a victory for diversity, an atonement for past sins and a catalyst for racial healing. 

For many of these voters, the topic is difficult to discuss candidly: Nobody wants to be accused of shallow “Kumbaya” motives. “You wouldn’t want it to be misunderstood,” said Raymond Arsenault, a civil rights history professor at the University of South Florida who supports Obama. “It sounds like identity politics.” 

But that is the charge being levied by some conservatives. In the final weeks of the election, they have been asking voters to consider whether a vote for Obama based on his race is a betrayal of the ideals of a colorblind society. 

The rise of a major black candidate may be “positive and transformational,” said Colin Hanna, president of the conservative issues group Let Freedom Ring. But Hanna contends that it is also an insufficient basis for choosing a president. “Because what you are doing is electing a policymaker,” he said, “not a token.” 

Hanna’s group has released a much-discussed Web ad that he said was targeted at voters of all races. In it, a black man evokes the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous dictum to judge people by the content of their character. 

Think Progress: Chambliss: The rush of African-Americans to the polls has ‘got our side energized.’

Think Progress:

Chambliss: The rush of African-Americans to the polls has ‘got our side energized.’

On Wednesday, the chairman of the Hillsborough County, Florida Republican party forwarded an e-mail to several hundred party members that warned of “‘the threat’ of ‘carloads of black Obama supporters coming from the inner city to cast their votes.’” While the McCain campaign condemned the email, the sentiment does not appear to be isolated. As Tapped notes, earlier this week, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) proclaimed that the the “rush” of African-Americans to the polls has “got our side energized“:

There has always been a rush to the polls by African-Americans early,” he said at the square in Covington, a quick stop on a bus tour as the campaign entered its final week. He predicted the crowds of early voters would motivate Republicans to turn out. “It has also got our side energized, they see what is happening,” he said.

Similarly, Chambliss has been warning his “predominantly white base” in North Georgia, “The other folks are voting.”

Ta Nehisi Coates:”The other folks are voting”

Ta Nehisi Coates

“The other folks are voting” 

That’s Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss talking to his base. One guess as to who he considers to be his base:

The development is not lost on Mr. Chambliss. “There has always been a rush to the polls by African-Americans early,” he said at the square in Covington, a quick stop on a bus tour as the campaign entered its final week. He predicted the crowds of early voters would motivate Republicans to turn out. “It has also got our side energized, they see what is happening,” he said.

Damn right we’re voting. No one should be outraged by this. No one should repudiate dude. We should be invigorated. That is the past talking–screaming actually–as it chokes on its own bile. Show this to your 18-year nephews, your cousins and daughters. Tell them that this is power. For my part, I have to say that hearing a politician quaking at the site of black people with ballots, puts a smile on my face, wide as 125th.  Do the damn thing, Georgia. End it now.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Racist hate flyer threatens Obama

Atlanta Journal Constitution

Racist hate flyer threatens Obama

Federal authorities are investigating an inflammatory racist flyer containing a threat against Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama that was circulated in mailboxes of a suburban Atlanta subdivision.

An FBI spokesman said Friday that investigators “reported the matter to the U.S. Secret Service for further review and determination on handling.”

The Secret Service did not immediately return a call.

The flyer purportedly from “some of us KKK brothers,” which surfaced this week in Clayton County south of Atlanta, contained derogatory references to blacks, Asians and homosexuals. It said if Obama won the election “we may have to get rid” of him and “in fact we will.”

RedState: John Lewis is a Race Baiter

RedState

John Lewis is a Race Baiter

Let’s just call John Lewis (D-GA) what he is: a race baiter.

It is not deniable. It is not controversial. John Lewis, who made history standing up for civil rights, has become a parody of his former self. It is somewhat understandable. He struggled for civil rights in the sixties. He saw friends gun downed by white police officers and was himself targeted.

But John Lewis has never put aside the legitimate hate he developed in the sixties. All struggles now are as bad as struggles then for John Lewis. He uses his celebrity to drive the hyperbole of race baiting.

The left may not like me saying it, but it is the truth.

The message is clear: Vote Republican and you go back to slavery.

John Lewis is a race baiter. The man who routinely sows seeds of hatred in the black community against the white community is really in no position to accuse John McCain of anything.

Politico: Civil rights icon says McCain stirs hate

Politico

Civil rights icon says McCain stirs hate

Late Saturday night, the Georgia congressman issued another statement easing back on his earlier remarks. Under the heading, “Rep. John Lewis Clarifies Misinterpretations of his Earlier Comments,” Lewis said: “A careful review of my earlier statement would reveal that I did not compare Sen. John McCain or Gov. Sarah Palin to George Wallace. It was not my intention or desire to do so.

“My statement was a reminder to all Americans that toxic language can lead to destructive behavior. I am glad that Sen. McCain has taken some steps to correct divisive speech at his rallies. I believe we need to return to civil discourse in this election about the pressing economic issues that are affecting our nation.”

Lewis didn’t accuse McCain of imitating Wallace, but suggested there were similarities. His sharp words may be dismissed as those of a partisan Democrat in a campaign season. But the former head of SNCC and hero of Selma is somebody who McCain has lavished praise upon over the years.