Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday won Pennsylvania’s presidential primary, giving new life to her fading presidential bid. Although polls predicted her victory, she would have to win by a sizable margin for her campaign to regain momentum. The hugely working-class state is representative of middle-America and the traditional Democratic base. Did race and gender play a role in PA ? It would seem so, as Pennsylvania’s Democratic voters were overwhelmingly white and –as usual in Democratic contests — there were more women than men. With nearly all the precincts reporting, Clinton led by 55 percent to 45 percent, although Obama still holds a sizable lead in delegates going into the Indiana primary.
The Hillary camp’s selling point, though, is that the Pennsylvania win confirmed her appeal in the biggest battleground states, like California, Ohio, Texas, Michigan and Florida and that these are the states that will count in the general election against John McCain.
The Clinton campaign is raising doubts about Obama’s abilty to win come November, as they claim the trend shows that Barack is the less electable of the two remaining Democratic candidates. Why so ?
According to political analyst Andy Ostroy:
Obama, in order to achieve the historic presidential greatness that might one day be his destiny, needs to first get past the supreme ugliness that he faces with the Ruthless Republican Attack Machine (RRAM). And I am as confident as a caterpillar at a toe-countin’ contest that McCain & Company will eat him alive in the general election. He has unfortunately armed the RRAM with way too much ammunition involving his Rev. Wright, Tony Rezko, William Ayers, flag pin, BitterGate and Michelle’s “pride” controversies. Throw in the inescapable fact that he’s a 46-year-young black man with a Muslim name, a drug past and just three years experience in the Senate and the picture deeply worsens. Now before I continue, don’t shoot the messenger. I personally don’t care about any of this nonsense, but you can bet your ass the RRAM is salivating as we speak. If you believe otherwise, you are beyond naive. I’ve taken a lot of heat over the past several months over this position. But I am not in the politically-correct business. Remember, I’m a Realisticrat. My only goal is to win.
Ostroy claims to be a Realistic Democrat, or Realisticrat, and they believe that another white male will be living in the White House should Barack Obama win the Democratic nomination.
Interestingly, Filipinos in the U.S. share this view and will probably vote for McCain, although its obvious that we have a lot more in common with Barack and should normally relate to him, as a fellow immigrant and minority member, with a shared history as victims of oppression and racism. Benjamin “Boying” Pimentel, former Philippine Collegian editor, journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, novelist and blogger, even goes as far as to ask “Obama First Pinoy President ?”, in his lucid and convincing pitch for Obama.
But even Mr. Pimentel, in another piece, readily acknowledges that Obama will not get the Pinoy , and Asian, vote.
But I just cannot help thinking that race is a factor here. The Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison said something years ago that I’ve never forgotten: That in their desire to become part of America, many immigrants embrace the views of the dominant white society — including the prejudiced, distorted image of blacks.
“In race talk the move into mainstream America always means buying into the notion of American blacks as the real aliens,” she wrote in Time magazine in 1993. “Whatever the ethnicity or nationality of the immigrant, his nemesis is understood to be African American… It doesn’t matter anymore what shade the newcomer’s skin is. A hostile posture toward resident blacks must be struck at the Americanizing door before it will open.”
There have long been tensions between blacks and Asians, including Filipinos. So many times have I heard Filipinos privately denigrate blacks, referring to them as “egoy” and “nognog.” And I’ve come across that tension from the other side. As a metro reporter with the San Francisco Chronicle, I was assigned to cover the Los Angeles black community’s reaction to the arrest of OJ Simpson in 1994. When I tried to interview a member of a black church in South Central LA, he looked at me derisively and said in a non-threatening but defiant manner, “You [expletive] got a job, huh. Go talk to someone friendlier.”
Where did this resentment come from? The past has some answers. Historically, blacks and Asians have been pitted against each other.
And its not just our historical, ignorant and parochial disdain for those darker-skinned than us, a trait we supposedly inherited from the Spaniards, who looked down upon us as “indios”. In Pimentel’s clear and dead-on analysis:
Around the time this stereotype was gaining traction, African Americans were spearheading the Civil Rights activist movement. Their sacrifices paved the way for a new era in which diversity was not only advocated and defended but celebrated.
As blacks were getting clubbed and thrown in jail for fighting for equality, US immigration rules were changing, opening the doors to newcomers from Asia, mostly professionals from the middle class, including many Filipinos. Many of those immigrants benefited from this new consciousness, not to mention the stricter laws that made it illegal to discriminate based on ethnicity, race or gender.
Sadly, these newcomers were unaware of the battles fought in the streets of Alabama, Washington DC and elsewhere. Worse, as Toni Morrison noted, many of them readily embraced American society’s long held prejudices against Blacks.
In other words, Filipino Americans too easily embraced the prejudices of the dominant white group and failed to acknowledge the gains brought about by the civil rights movement, which engendered resentment. Hence, the continuing antipathy between blacks and Pinoys.
The challenges ahead for Mrs. Clinton: her campaign is essentially out of money, with unpaid bills piling up, and she faces growing frustration among some Democratic officials who would prefer her to end her campaign in recognition of Mr. Obama’s lead in the overall popular vote of the primaries and caucuses so far, as well as his continuing edge toward amassing the 2,025 delegates needed to secure the nomination. And Tuesday’s night’s results likely did little to cut into his edge on that front.
The Clinton-Obama slugfest is hurting the Democratic Party and playing into the hands of John McCain, who can focus and get a head start on the November general election campaign.
The NYT believes that enough damage has been done to the Democratic Party, and that the escalating negativity of the campaign has to stop, beginning with Hillary’s increasingly dirty tactics.
Democrats grapple with questions over race and electability: Why has Obama been unable to win over enough working-class and white voters to wrap up the Democratic nomination? Just when it seemed that the Democratic Party was close to anointing Mr. Obama as its nominee, he lost yet again in a big general election state, dragged down by his weakness among blue-collar voters, older voters and white voters (and ironically, among immigrants) – the traditional Democratic Party base.
Gail Collins thinks Hillary is one tough cookie who won’t back down.
The most recent Newsweek poll shows Obama losing significant ground to Hillary after Pennsylvania.
Ruthlessness and grit is Clinton’s style.