Can Obama overcome Romney, race in 2012 election?By Askia Muhammad -Senior Correspondent- | Last updated: Oct 31, 2012 - 11:21:14 PM
“It’s a schizophrenic nation, the United States of masters and slaves locked in the final stage of a dying white supremacy,” psychologist Dr. Nathan Hare, the “father” of Black Studies in this country said in a recent social media message. Dr. Hare founded the first Black Studies program in the U.S., at San Francisco State University in 1968.
This election is “more polarized along racial lines than any presidential contest since 1988, with President Obama lagging behind Republican Mitt Romney among white voters by 21 percentage points, a steep drop in support from four years ago,” according to an analysis published in The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, racial attitudes toward Black people and Latinos throughout the society at large, “have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not,” that news service revealed in a similar survey.
“Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly,” the AP report revealed. “In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey.”
After the first face-to-face presidential debate Oct. 3, Think Progres.org reported Gov Romney “told 27 myths in (his) 38 minutes” of speaking time.
Following the third and final presidential debate Oct. 15, Think Progress reported Mr. Romney “told 24 myths in 41 minutes” during that encounter. Other fact-checking organizations and media outlets reported similar discrepancies in the claims made by Gov. Romney and by his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
But racist hostility has been unmistakable in the 2012 campaign, rising from a so-called “dog whistle” level, heard by Whites already pre-disposed toward racial prejudice and xenophobia; to a virtual “air-raid-siren” decibel-level that is no longer even cloaked in political discourse. From the higher-ups in the Romney campaign to ordinary citizens from coast-to-coast, the race hatred is no longer being camouflaged.
When former Republican Secretary of State and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell endorsed President Obama for reelection, as he did for the first time in 2008, Romney campaign co-chairman John Sununu excused the merits of Gen. Powell’s comments as simple racial solidarity. The former New Hampshire governor earlier declared that President Obama needed to “learn how to be an American,” and on another occasion he described the president as “lazy,” all part of the GOP campaign that has been laced with race-baiting and suggestions that Mr. Obama is “not one of us.”
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a Republican who was Gen. Powell’s chief of staff during his time as secretary of state rebuked Gov. Sununu, and other members of the Republican Party. “To say that Colin Powell would endorse President Obama because of his skin color is like saying Mother Teresa worked for profit,” Col. Wilkerson said on “The Ed Show” on MSNBC.
“Let me just be candid,” he continued. “My party is full of racists. And the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander in chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin. And that’s despicable.”
Attitudes of millions of anti-Obama White voters hasn't changed since the above video of a rally leading up to the 2008 election of America's first Black president.
In mid-October, outside the entrance to the North Carolina State Fair near Raleigh, a mannequin-sized effigy of the president was hung by a noose. A resident of Moreno Valley, Calif., hung an effigy of Mr. Obama outside his home as a “spooky” Halloween prank until he was visited by the Secret Service.
The reason for the open hostility by so many millions of Whites toward Mr. Obama and why he is currently doing so much worse among White voters than he did in 2008 may have been explained by abolitionist Frederick Douglass 129-years-ago.
“Though the colored man is no longer subject to barter and sale, he is surrounded by an adverse settlement which fetters all his movements,” Mr. Douglass said in an address at the National Convention of Colored Men in Louisville, Ky. on Sept. 25, 1883.
“In his downward course he meets with no resistance, but his course upward is resented and resisted at every step of his progress. If he comes in ignorance, rags and wretchedness he conforms to the popular belief of his character, and in that character he is welcome; but if he shall come as a gentleman, a scholar and a statesman, he is hailed as a contradiction to the national faith concerning his race, and his coming is resented as impudence. In one case he may provoke contempt and derision, but in the other he is an affront to pride and provokes malice.”
Many Black intellectuals and other progressive critics express surprise that racists would not be pleased with Mr. Obama’s performance, which they say has mainly ignored addressing the major problems vexing the Black masses, the disadvantaged, and the poor. But many other Black activists are steadfast backers of Mr. Obama’s reelection bid.
“To me it’s very clear cut. We have to support President Barack Hussein Obama,” Dr. Ron Daniels, president of the Institute of the Black World, 21st Century told The Final Call. “And that’s because he is not just the lesser evil. He is clearly the better choice.
“And I ran as an independent candidate for president 20-years-ago. And I ran on the theme, ‘the lesser evil.’ At that time it was Clinton versus Dole. One was center-right, one was center-left. We’re not facing that phenomenon now. We’re looking at a Republican Party that is the most extreme, radical, manifestation of conservatism that we have seen in my lifetime.
“And if we were to blunder and stumble—in my humble opinion—and elect Romney, it is really a clear sign that we are prepared to sacrifice the gains that have been made, not just (by) Black people, but Latinos, Asians, people who have fought so hard for our rights.
“So for me it’s clear. Obama is the better candidate, but he’s not a perfect candidate,” Dr. Daniels continued. “Strategically, we need to continue to build a third force in American politics. We need to push for a much more progressive agenda, talking about a socially responsible economy. That’s what I talked about 20 years ago.
“We need to continue to push for a more radical, rational transformation of the American political system. That’s not going to happen, or at least we will be set back if we make the mistake—in my judgment—of staying home because we disagree with Obama on some issues, and I disagree with him on a number of issues,” he said.
But on the grassroots level, support for Mr. Obama’s reelection is nearly universal among Black voters, and remains at 79 percent of non-Whites overall.
Mr. Obama currently trails Mr. Romney 59 percent to 38 percent among Whites, amounting to a 21-percent-deficit which will be far harder for him to overcome than the 12 point margin he conceded to Sen. John McCain in the 2008 race, according to The Washington Post report.
In 2008, Whites made up a record-low 74 percent of all voters; in the latest Post-ABC News poll, Whites make up a similar 75 percent of likely 2012 voters. In 2004, Sen. John Kerry lost White voters to George W. Bush by a similarly wide margin, 58 to 41 percent, and he also lost the election, the newspaper said.
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