Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Name Recognition Argument in the Democratic Party Election

A comment from Regina:

I just heard a Hispanic woman on CNN say that the Clinton's would be making a mistake if they think all Hispanics are automatically going to vote for Hillary...conversely, she said Obama would be making a mistake if he thinks the Hispanic vote is out of his reach.

She said Obama just needs to campaign in heavily Hispanic dominated areas (especially in the upcoming primaries of Ohio and Texas) and he could get big votes from Hispanics...she said the only advantage Hilary has over Obama is "name recognition."

She believes the more people hear directly from Obama the more they will support his vision for the country. She also said it would be helpful for Obama to mention Ceasar Chavez and Dolores Huerta amongst others, when he talks about civil rights and the progressive movement. He said too often he only mentions Martin Luther King and the Kennedys.

There was another analyst on the program who added that it is insulting for people to talk about the Hispanic or Black vote as if it's a monolithic vote. She also said people are forgetting that some Hispanics may also vote for a Republican candidate - so by no means is their vote a slam dunk!

P.S. The Hispanic woman also said she wanted to ensure that folks understand that the Hispanic vote is NOT a vote against Blacks but rather a vote (in the instance) based on name recognition - at least up until this point. She said she know this to be true because historically Hispanics supported many African American candidates including: Harold Washington, Tom Bradley, Wilder etc..etc...

My response:

Well sister as you know I don't buy the "name recognition" argument at all. In fact that argument is not only ridiculous but INSULTING (to both blacks and Latinos). You mean to seriously tell me that the Latinos in this country "don't know" who Obama is? That makes NO SENSE whatsoever. Just think about an assertion that IDIOTIC for a moment. People are currently holding mock U.S. elections ALL OVER THE WORLD in favor of Obama (Europe, Asia, Africa, even Latin America) and are "voting" for Obama in the millions--yet Latinos who live in California and New York and Nevada and Texas and Arizona and New Mexico (to name only six major states where there are very large Latino populations) don't really know who he is and what he stands for. Give me a break!! You KNOW that ain't true. You would have to live on MARS to not know damn near everything there is to know about Barack Obama at this very late date.

THE MAN HAS BEEN RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT FOR OVER A YEAR NOW. He is one of the MOST FAMOUS and RECOGNIZABLE PEOPLE ON PLANET EARTH at this point (many nations have even taken well known polls on who Obama is and what his campaign is about). So for ANYONE--but especially Latino Americans or whites to absurdly claim that he lacks "name recognition" is not only a huge, blatant LIE but an insult to the intelligence of anyone who listens to such nonsense. I'm astonished that so many pundits and analysts in the media keep saying this in public WITH A STRAIGHT FACE. Nah. THAT AIN'T IT. Talk about rank DISHONESTY. The Latinos who now make up 14% of this country's population (to 13% for African Americans) know all too well WHO OBAMA IS AND WHAT HE REPRESENTS. They just aren't voting for him in most states thus far. Latinos have voted against Obama in HUGE numbers in California, New York, and Nevada, and have SPLIT their vote between Hillary and Obama in Arizona and Illinois. Obama has yet to gain anywhere near a majority of Latino votes in any state yet (the upcoming election in Texas on March 4 may change that--but I doubt it).

NO. Let's all be honest: The fact that Hillary's campaign manager up to this point has been a Latina (Solis) WHO IS NOW BEING REPLACED BY A BLACK WOMAN (Maggie Williams--who has worked with Hillary for over 25 years!) tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about what's actually going on and why. The simple, OBVIOUS truth is that Clinton and her now former Latina campaign manager took a calculated risk that they would heavily focus on organizing the Latino vote to specifically defeat Obama AND THIS CALCULATION BACKFIRED. You see: The Clintons had taken it for granted that the majority of blacks would ultimately vote for them as they had in the past with Bill or at the VERY LEAST there would be a 50/50 split between African Americans for and against Obama but of course that didn't happen (especially after Bill and others in the Clinton campaign started trying to very clumsily "race bait" Obama--A STRATEGY THAT ALSO BACKFIRED).

Clinton and Solis had already decided that they could make up any defections from their campaign by black voters with a massive Latino vote. What they hadn't counted on however is that not only did blacks start voting for Obama nationwide by margins of 80-90% but that a larger percentage of WHITE MALE VOTERS (and a substantial minority of white female voters) ALSO started voting for Obama in numbers the Clintons had not anticipated. If they would only ADMIT the truth and own up to the fact that THEY WERE WRONG IN THEIR ASSUMPTIONS the Clinton machine could have possibly repaired this problem months ago. But because of their arrogance and HUBRIS on the issue of who would and who wouldn't vote for them and thus TAKING BOTH THE AFRICAN AMERICAN AND WHITE VOTE FOR GRANTED, their strategists like Solis seriously MISCALCULATED the numbers and thought erroneously that the huge Latino bloc vote would simply makie up the difference and be enough to beat Obama. The Clintons had NO IDEA the election would be anywhere near this close and wound up incorrectly assuming that they had MORE CONTROL over their former major electoral base (e.g. African Americans, and white middle and uppermiddle class voters--both males and to a lesser degree females) than they actually have.

This infantile refusal/inability to ADMIT SERIOUS MISTAKES and then make the necessary honest adjustments in terms of both strategy and tactics in their campaign has cost Hillary dearly. She now recognizes that it's gonna take MORE THAN THE NATIONAL LATINO VOTING BLOC to ensure her election and that is WHY she chose Maggie Williams to take over as campaign manager. Clearly this is a much- too-little, much-too-late move on Hillary's part that could have been avoided in the first place if she had focused on a JOINT Latino & African American strategy that would have respectfully and honestly spoken to the needs and desires of BOTH ethnic/racial groups simultaneously MONTHS AGO. Instead, by engaging in a STUPID attempt to racebait Obama through using Bill as public attack dog all she wound up doing was pissing off and alienating black voters, and giving EVERYONE the impression (not just blacks ) that Latino voters were MORE IMPORTANT to her ultimate success than blacks.

She may not have "meant" for this to happen but by thinking that she could get more white voters to vote for her by trying to improperly peg and piegonhole Obama as a limited "black candidate" only, Hillary FUCKED UP BIGTIME. Of all the candidates in the world to attack and demean in this matter even a child would know that going after a man with as resolutely a multiracial and multicultural campaign as Barack Obama in this racist and boneheaded manner would be a major mistake and would backfire. But this is what arrogance and again HUBRIS does to people like the Clintons who make far too many (false) assumptions about people in general because THEY DON'T RESPECT THEM ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH THEM SERIOUSLY AND HONESTLY.

This kind of bad judgment and carelessness in the way the Clinton campaign relates even to its own base speaks volumes about WHY their campaign is in such chaotic disarray and is falling apart at the seams. All the media and in-house campaign bullshit about why the Latinos are voting for her in these outrageously lopsided numbers vs. Obama is just one more part of the consequences of that ongoing disintegration and the LYING that goes along with it. This is what happens when people lose or give away their INTEGRITY the way Hillary has.