Is America too racist to elect Obama?

Is America too racist to elect a black president?

That’s a question raised by a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, which said 30 percent of Americans admit having feelings of racial prejudice. In a previous poll, only about two-thirds of whites said they would be "entirely comfortable" with a black president.

Barack Obama seems to think his race will be an issue, recently saying of Republicans: "We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. ‘He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’"

Will prejudice decide the presidency? Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, the RedBlueAmerica columnists jump into the fray.



It’s unlikely that the one-third of Americans who acknowledge prejudiced feelings is actually racist. Some probably are, and some are probably honest and good-hearted people who recognize their feelings of prejudice, but don’t give into them. Polls typically don’t allow for that kind of nuance.

But the Washington Post-ABC News poll is still cause for concern. After two elections that have been decided by just a few hundred or few thousand votes in critical states, it’s not hard to see that three-in-10 number and think it looks very big. And it’s likely that number might actually be too low — because many Americans wouldn’t want to break a taboo and admit racism, even to a pollster.

So what’s Obama to do?

Basically, what he’s been doing: Appealing to the better angels of the voters’ consciences. Sure, there are people who think that any discussion of racism’s lingering effects on society is race-baiting — but they’re wrong. Obama can win by challenging Americans to be their best selves, to judge him on the content of his character and policies, instead of the color of his skin.



So much for Barack Obama, the "post-racial" candidate — if indeed he ever existed. Obama’s remarks at a Jacksonville fundraiser the other day were far more revealing than his ornate speech in Philadelphia on race in America just a few months ago. "We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run." We do? With the exception of Hillary Clinton’s deplorable race baiting during the primaries, no candidate has played the race card more brilliantly than Obama.

The vast majority of Americans are arguably more post-racial than Obama and his Hyde Park neighbors, or his amen corner in the press. Take that Washington Post-ABC News poll. The pollsters assembled a "racial sensitivity index" to gauge Americans’ "racist feelings" and "perceptions of discrimination," the Post reported — which are highly subjective.

Evidently, one would score high on the index by hewing to the politically correct line on race. Many Americans of all races might beg to differ.

Besides, Republicans would be foolish to make Obama’s race an issue when Obama insists on making an issue of it himself. The issue isn’t Obama’s race at all. His policy prescriptions on a range of issues — from health care and Social Security to the war on terrorism and nuclear proliferation — would all but guarantee higher taxes, bigger government, a diminished private sector at home and declining prestige abroad. Those are meaty issues for a presidential campaign, and they represent a clear contrast between McCain and Obama.

You might even say the difference is black and white.


(Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis blog daily at and


  1. pollchecker


    City Vehicles Spray Painted With Racial Attacks

    They are going to keep this up as long as they can ESPECIALLY since they have nothing else.

    Since this is Florida, it’s probably some Republican political operatives that work for them. Don’t forget the phone scam in the Northeast in 2004 that blocked the Dems phone bank.

    The lie and steal REpublican Genuises of Propaganda will not stop until they control EVERYTHING in America, the media, our lives, our children, life and death, etc..

    These neo-cons and their enablers are the TRUE TERRORISTS!

    TERRORISM — 1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
    2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
    3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

    Couldn’t fit better if I tried to make it fit. The ironic part is the for some reason, some people seem to think that McCain would keep us safe from Terrorism.

    The terrorists are going to keep us safe from Terrorism. Yeah, right!

    Alice, we are in Wonderland.

  2. Sandra Price

    Flapsaddle is a chronic label maker. Everything must be right/left, religious/atheists, and comes from a very Archie Bunker script. I have never heard a single intelligent statement from this poster. Everyone is simply one or the other of any debate. Yawn!

    I believe that America is tired of labels and would rather give a little here and a little there just to stop the ridiculous people like Flapsaddle.

    America from someone who only want to divide instead of locating a solution. Go home Cissy

  3. DejaVuAllOver

    I think Flapsaddle raises the average quality and intelligence of this site by about 328%. Thanks anyway, Sandra.

  4. Sandra Price

    You can have her. She is a pain in the ass all over the net. It is always a diversion away from the subject. If that is what you want I’m certain she will fill your mind with facts that come from a vast encyclopedia. We need politics here. We are running out of time before the election. Since she spends so little working, maybe she should have her own intelligent web site.

  5. woody188

    America is too racist to elect Obama or a woman. I was very surprised to see both as the final candidates put forward by Democrats. It seems like they want to lose to McCain.

    And maybe they do want to lose. Who really wants to inherit the Bush legacy?

  6. Sandra Price

    woody, I fear you are right. When I was involved in politics in California I would have bet anything that a woman and/or a black man would have won on their merits. Moving to Arizona, where my neighbors are from the bible belt, no way would they vote for either. It has been an eyeopener for me and I can no longer live here without resentment.

    Bush represents to me a broken system that built our nation. He has made himself a dictator and with his chosen government behind him he has salted the Justice Department, the Congress and the religious right, with false values.

    There is no doubt McCain is following in Bush’s steps. I will take my chances with Obama who knows he will be on trial for actions expected by White America. He has my support!

  7. woody188

    Don’t feel bad. California is very different from most of the USA. Everyone bases their opinions on their own experiences.

    My father is a huge racist. All while I was growing up he would make derogatory comments. Somehow I managed to not be nearly as racist, but I admit that do sometimes find myself thinking in such a manner and it scares me and pisses me off at the same time.

    I went to high school in north Akron, Cuyahoga Falls. There was a cross burning in that city while I was in school. We think it was high schoolers that did it, but long story short, the black family moved out and no one was ever prosecuted. This was in 1991.

    I didn’t really experience any racism against me until college at Ohio State. There was a weekend called “Block Party Weekend” that became renamed to “Black Party Weekend” and if you were white and out alone you would be accosted and fights would constantly break out. This was in 1994.

    It got to the point where they are now putting armed uniformed officers every 10 feet along High Street and who knows how many are undercover.

    That said, I was also once in a fight for telling another white person to shut the f*ck up when he yelled niggers at a group of black kids standing along the sidewalk at an intersection. The police ended up arresting him for assault, though I had no injuries. This was also around the Ohio State area but the guy that yelled that was from up north from one of the white suburbs.

    In court I basically told him if he wanted to call black people niggers he should do so in his own town and stay the hell away from campus. The judge ordered him to stay away from the area and he was fined $100.

    Just last week I had co-workers telling me Obama was a muslim terrorist. Yes, I’m still in Ohio and racism is alive and well here.

    Just letting you know where I come from. Many like to think racism doesn’t exist but it does. I love my father and Ohio and could never leave, but I try to work to change the attitudes instead of just leaving. We need to leave things better for our kids.

  8. pollchecker

    I do not believe that America is too rascist to elect a black President.

    That’s just MORE PROPAGANDA!

    If my former Republican, conservative 84 year father from Mississippi will vote for Senator Obama, then I believe the vast majority of the country will as well.

    Yes, there are racists in our country. I dare say we all have some prejudices towards people of a different race.

    Some people dislike African Americans, some people dislike Hispanics, some people dislike Muslums, some people dislike Jewish people, some people dislike people from India, some people dislike Asian people. Hell, there are some ethnic groups that don’t like White people. And Please don’t get me started about the prejudices about Gays.

    If we can have Black mayors, Governors, Congressmen, Senators, Supreme Court Justices, Secretary of State, Defense, etc., then I think America can handle a half black POTUS.

    I still don’t know why they call him black when he is as much white as he is black.

  9. BlackAsCoal

    “I still don’t know why they call him black when he is as much white as he is black.”

    Because there are no half people my brother .. there is no such race.

    AND because the only way one would know he’s bi-racial is if he told them. There is nothing distinguishable between Obama and say Will Smith, who is not bi-racial.

    AND because all humans are of African descent .. thus when blacks and anyother race mix, the children they create will look more characteristically black, because whatever the other race, they still carry the African gene.

    If Obama were not running for president, he’d just be another black man.

  10. ridingchick

    I truly appreciate your comments, pollchecker and Sandra Price. Let’s see if the rest of the country will dismiss the color issue and get focused on defeating John Bush McCain in November!

    Obama ’08

  11. pollchecker

    Thank you. Personally I believe the country will however, the Main Stream Media will keep the hot potato in play as long as they can make money off it.

    The Propagandists and Disinformationalists in the GOP will also play to it as long as they can. They aren’t called the Genuises of Propaganda for nothing.

    But it’s all just a smokescreen.

    A few months ago, a very well known GOP Pollster said “they just don’t know how to beat Obama.”

    So per the tradition of the Rovians, when all else fails, lie, Lie, LIE!

    Remember if you say it enough times it becomes truth whether it is even remotely connected to reality apparently does not matter according to Rovian politics.

    So they figure if they say it enough, people will start to believe it.

    But in the end, the pain in people’s pocketbooks, will ULTIMATELY TRUMP EVERYTHING!

    So there are 2 choices….

    1)Bush/McCain — who wants to make permanent the tax cuts for the richest people in America AND CUT TAXES for the richest corporations in America….oh like Exxon/Mobil, etc, etc.
    2)Senator Obama — who wants to eliminate Bush’s tax breaks (aka as raise taxes per Rovian politics) and proposes tax relief to the Middle Class.

    McCain also admits that his strength IS NOT ECONOMICS so it is very likely he will pick Mitt Romney or even Rudy Guiliani as his VP hoping to shore support from the GOP in the east.

    Quite frankly, we are in grave and serious economic times and nothing the steal and lie Repubicans propose even come close to immediate OR long term solutions.

    The only option is Senator Obama. You would have to be an idiot or a racist to not get that. And while I admit that there are still a lot of those in this country, I think that there are a lot of average joes that are tired of this stuff and ready for a change.

    They were the silent majority in the 60’s.

    They were the silent majority in the 90’s.

    And they may be the silent majority in 2008!

    HIstory does have a way of repeating itself, doesn’t it?

  12. Sandra Price

    Thanks for your story Woody. My parents hated everyone and I did not fall into that culture. I doubt I ever could. This area of Sun City is very white and, of course, elderly. I leave them alone.

  13. staunchdem

    My wife and I have toured the South extensively and I can assure you racism is alive and well in that part of the country.
    It’s obvious that most of those voters won’t vote for Barack anyway, although he seems to be doing a credible job in Georgia and about even in Florida.
    I think he can be elected, but it’s still early and much is yet to unfold.
    We’ll wait to see what’s in the GOP’s kitchen sink and whether it sticks.
    If the economy worsens so does the chances for a McSame victory.
    Keep your fingers crossed.
    I’d love to see him make history.

  14. BlackAsCoal

    The comments by Ben Boychuk are some of the dumbest I’ve ever read. Surely the entire article must be satire.

    This election will end in a blowout landslide .. thank you George Bush. Obama could not have risen so quickly if he had not followed George Bush in his run for the presidency. He could not have done this following Bill Clinton .. America was not sufficiently scared to death.

    Thanks to Bush, Americans would elect a goose as president if they thought it could save them from the failed course this nation is on.

    The good news is that most of all the racist neanderthals are dying off and the new generation of Americans do not share their idiotic beliefs .. AND the face of America is changing .. it’s getting browner and less male dominated.

    After Obama, the next president will most likely be a woman .. and following her could very well be a hispanic.

    Morning in America.

  15. bryan mcclellan

    We please, don’t need a Golden Goose of any sort.

    If I’m wrong, correct me,

    It isn’t post Obama yet.. ( POY ) Is it ?

    Rescind and give America a real candidate.

    CHEETA ,Tarzans loyal companion.

    TURBO, the Cat of Cats.

    Americas Rose colored glasses.

  16. pollchecker

    great link, Sandra. Thanks for posting it. But I wouldn’t say it was shocking. I’ve been saying for awhile now that this is the Republican strategy….

    Say it enough times even though it is a lie and it becomes truth that the uninformed masses are most eager to believe.

    This Obama Muslum thing is just anohter example. But I really like how Obama is addressing this stuff!

    “Citizens and political scientists must face the fact that the Internet has enabled a new form of political organization that is just as influential on local and national elections as unions and political action committees,” she says. “This kind of misinformation campaign short-circuits judgment. It also aggressively disregards the fundamental principle of free societies that one be able to debate one’s accusers.”

    For proof of this, Allen says, she need look no further than her e-mail inbox. After months of research, a new chain-mail smear against Obama arrived with an innocuous subject line: “Food for thought.”

    It truly shows that Obama runs on a Different Political agenda and really does represent change from the garbage that Bush/McCain and the other neo-con haters have put us through for the past 8 years.

    Think about it. 8 years ago, we had a great economy, the world loved us (for the most part), our federal budget had a huge surplus, and people got along with each other.

    In the past 8 years, our country has become disrespected and hate by most countries in the world, our economy is in the toilet facing one of the worst economic crisis in our history, major recession, major inflation and almost a trillion dollar deficit. We’re in a war that is nothing but Bush’s personal vendetta and 4000 people have died because of with thousands of good men and women permanently maimed and injured with their personal lives FOREVER CHANGED! And don’t forget about the over 3000 lives that were lost on 911 due to GW’s administration incompetence. For every life lost that day, thousands MORE were impacted forever, not to mention the money spent to clear out and rebuild the mess. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the thousands of volunteers, firemen and policement that are facing serious and possibly life threatening illnesses due to the lack of precaution this administration used in addressing the 911 aftermath.
    We are less free, less safe, less prosperous, less happy. We are afraid and we hate each other. Rich people and the rich corporations are shipping all our money out of the country to places like Dubai, smack dab in the Middle East where there is ABSOLUTELY NO ACCOUNTABILITY. And there is no one left to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. And don’t get me started about health care. When GW took office only 20 million of us did not have health care. Today over 50 million are without. When GW took office, oil was under $25 per barrel. Today it is pushing $150 a barrel.

    I listened to the talking heads this morning and interesting point was made by 2 Dem governors in Western States(Colorado & Wyoming). That was that the only thing the Bushies care about is the developement of oil & gas. I wonder why? Duh………….

    So I tell you, when we are discussing such silly stuff like this…’s just a distraction…or propaganda as it was appropriately called when used by someone other than USA. That’s the disinformationalists for you.

    I believe Orwell’s book, “1984”, addressed this……how the govt changed the words used to brainwash the masses….and then started rewriting books with their version of history, using their words. THIS IS NO DIFFERENT!

    But 2 can play at that game. So people can’t vote for a half black man whose father was a Muslum but was raised by his white grandmother as a Christian. But the hypocrites can vote for an old fart like John McCain, who is an adulter, flip flopper and doesn’t pay his taxes and supports GW BUSH’S POLICIES, LOCK STOCK AND BARREL!

    Wait a minute. Didn’t the Genuises of Propaganda(GOP) use adultery as one of those things that disqualified someone to be POTUS? Oh, that’s only when it’s a Democrat. That’s another thing I can’t stand about McCain. The hypocritical, duplicity that the man rolls out like a badge of honor.

    In the old days, people like this would be tarred and feathered. Perhaps there are still some good ideas from the OLD DAYS?

    One thing is for certain. This country cannot stand another 4 years of the policies of BUSH/MCCAIN, PERIOD!

    Half black, half white, it makes no difference! WE NEED A CHANGE!

  17. Flapsaddle

    Racism is alive and well in the Democratic party, and it may be the deciding factor. The Archie Bunker crowd – the low-end white voters that won for Clinton in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia – will either sit out the election or they will cross over and vote for McCain.

    One of my nieces, a conservative, early middle-aged woman who married into a southern Arkansas family prominent in state Democratic politics, “took the temperature” at a recent family gathering. She told me that her husband’s family – despite their “yellow-dog Democrat” tendencies – will probably sit out the election and possibly have a few of the younger ones actually vote Republican.

    I think that racism has always been a bigger problem for the Democrats than for the Republicans.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  18. pollchecker

    The Archie Bunker crowd – the low-end white voters that won for Clinton in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia – will either sit out the election or they will cross over and vote for McCain.

    In MANY OF THESE STATES….(probably most of them in fact)…so-called Hillary voters are nothing but cross-over Republicans behaving like little worker ants doing their duty. They were told to vote for Hillary and would not vote Democratic if John McCain was black and Muslum.

    I think that racism has always been a bigger problem for the Democrats than for the Republicans.

    That is the MOST RIDICULOUS THING I have ever heard in my life. Just look at the Democratic party’s convention versus the Republican party’s. You see all kinds of people of different ethnic groups with the Dems. It’s the Republican party that STILL even in the 21st Century is PRIMARILY WHITE MEN!

    I will repeat this because statistically it is true! The Dem base with the exception of white and black women, has the lowest voting rate across the board than the Republicans. Black men are the lowest voting group in America. Hispanics (both men and women)are outvoted by White males by 5 to 1. Young people under 30 believe there is no reason to vote because 1)there is no difference and 2)it doesn’t matter if there is a difference because nothing will change.

    So, I say SO WHAT if a few White people “say” they won’t vote for a half-black man. If Obama can energize these groups that consistently UNDER VOTE to participate and actually vote, we may see the biggest landslide in his favor in the history of our country despite all this race stuff.

    That would be something. To see an African American male win EVERY STATE! It could happen!

    Of course, I’m certain that the steal and lie Republicans will use that as fear mongering as well.

  19. Flapsaddle

    Two points on Democratic racism:

    While I do not doubt that there are primary-election sandbaggers in both parties, I’d have to see some truly convincing research supporting your general assertion that there are a lot of “Stepford voters” who will automatically go and do as they are bidden. These same voters went to Nixon and to Reagan in the days prior to an organized Rovian or Limabaughian program-response.

    Conversely, one could also argue that sinister Democratic operatives had commanded legions of the faithful to cross over and vote for McCain with similar nefarious intent – with equal lack of support.

    As to the Democratic party having the greater problem with racism; that is not ridiculous or ill-considered statement. The GOP does not even pretend to be inclusive, despite their claims – yes, it is mostly white males – so they do not have a problem of the same type. The Democrats, still built from the liberal-labor-ethnics-southerners coalition of the New Deal, have the problem of delivering two groups, southerners and labor. The unions are not that powerful anymore and are themselves historically anti-black; southerners have been off of the sure-thing list since about 1968.

    The Democrat problem is they cannot guarantee any significant part of the Archie Bunker voters to vote for Obama; they might have voted for Clinton in the general election, however they do not think a black man belongs in the White House except as a member of the domestic staff.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  20. pollchecker

    And I still day that these people will Ultimately NOT be the deciding factor.

    But we will see in November, won’t we?

  21. Flapsaddle

    Well, we agree that the only “poll” that means diddly-squat is the one that takes place on Tuesday, 4 Nov 2008.

    I may be pleasantly surprised…or you may be quite disappointed.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle