Race is the most important single issue keeping minorities voting Democratic, while appealing to women-as-victims threatened by white male Republicans, and grabbing onto youthful idealism. But as we suggested earlier, on race, Democrats are much like their old Southern Democratic ancestors. In the old days, Southern Democrats used race to keep poor whites (“crackers,” “red necks,” “poor white trash”) voting for the old plantation white Democratic elite and against the poor’s own economic interests. Democrats’ current enemy is no longer “the Colored folks,” today it's the white male GOP. Focus fear/hatred on that enemy, and Democrats can hang on while failing to deliver jobs, even as the old South failed to deliver economic growth.
For America to improve, the battleground has to shift away from worn-out Democratic appeals to racial fears. It must move toward Republican-prompted hopes for jobs: jobs for minorities (see 50-year-old picture above), jobs for women and their men, and jobs for youth. Minorities, youth, and unmarried women no longer suffer because of race, they suffer by being in the wrong class--the dependent class, the class below the class of productive workers on the road to owning a home and to economic security--the middle class.
If you still don't think Obama is about race, not economic uplift, take a look at the results of this Georgetown study of how much attention our presidents have given poverty over the last 50 years:
Lyndon B. Johnson, architect of the 1960s "War on Poverty," was most apt, among the modern presidents, to mention the poor in some form or fashion: 84% of the time he made reference to any economic class. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter came next, with both mentioning the underclass approximately three-quarters of the time. Presidents Ford, Reagan, and George W. Bush all rated in the mid-to-high 60s, with Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton not far behind. George Herbert Walker Bush, the study found, was apt to speak about the poor fully half the time. Only then -- dead last in the Georgetown rankings -- comes Barack Obama, who mentions the nation's least well-off only 26% of the time.Race or Jobs. Which issue will it be for you?