May 5, 2008

Black America's Nuclear Option

The Clinton campaign has signaled that they intend to use the so-called nuclear option:

"With at least 50 percent of the Democratic Party’s 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee committed to Clinton, her backers could — when the committee meets at the end of this month — try to ram through a decision to seat the disputed 210-member Florida and 156-member Michigan delegations. Such a decision would give Clinton an estimated 55 or more delegates than Obama, according to Clinton campaign operatives"

This would fall into the category of activity that charlatan Sharpton effectively labeled "stacking the deck" during the SOBU. If they are successful in winning Indiana, they will no doubt feel emboldened to forge ahead with this contentious move.

The Clinton campaign's MAD strategy to win the nomination has relied on attack themes fueled by racial innuendo and stereotyping for their potency and a triangulation tactic that positions her politically between McCain and Obama, enabling her to attack Obama as the republicans would. Given that Clinton's standing with black voters has plummeted and remains in free fall since South Carolina, where they successfully tagged Obama as the "black candidate" in the minds of the electorate, the logic behind this approach is crystal clear. They will racially swiftboat Obama, and push to seat Florida and Michigan. The working assumption is that they will restore their standing with black voters in time for the general election, despite his lead in every primary metric.

In our view, the Clintons have used racial themes to power their effort to destroy Obama's electability. Their methodology, born of desperation as they struggled to beat back Obama's challenge is now clearly revealed; appeal to the so-called Reagan Democrats. The demographic of that voting bloc are blue collar white voters. The democratic party coalition has for years tenuously held together a coalition that included these lunch bucket democrats and minorities, a demographic coalition within which economic competition creates an ongoing tension, which Hillary has clearly pivoted to exploit. As the Nation noted in a recent article,

"In the name of demonstrating her superior "electability," she and her surrogates have invoked the racist and sexist playbook of the right--in which swaggering macho cowboys are entrusted to defend the country--seeking to define Obama as too black, too foreign, too different to be President at a moment of high anxiety about national security. This subtly but distinctly racialized political strategy did not create the media feeding frenzy around the Rev. Jeremiah Wright that is now weighing Obama down, but it has positioned Clinton to take advantage of the opportunities the controversy has presented. "

If Clinton is permitted to secure the nomination in this manner by the superdelegates and the party leadership, Black America must be prepared to use its own nuclear option, namely the withholding of the black vote in the general election from Hillary Clinton. The rationale for doing so is compelling and simple; a price must be paid for using race baiting tactics in order to derail a viable black candidate; if not, any future democratic black candidates can expect to have the same tactics trained on them from within the democratic party, a party, and pointedly, a candidate, that has received the consistent and overwhelming support of black voters. Democrats do not win national elections without the support of the black vote. Period. Full Stop. To reward the Clintons or any democratic candidate with our general election votes after such cynical exploitation of racial bias and prejudice is to reveal ourselves as a voting bloc of fools who's sensibilities need not be respected nor deferred to.