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Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Chocolate Migration

There are some things so secret, so shameful, that people dread the day when their inner thoughts and desires are aired for all the world to see. There are some activities that are so perverse that no human being should ever participate in them, yet many do so anyway. I have found myself in such a situation, wondering if I am alone in my inner perversion, but I have found that there are many more people out there who are just like me, people who share in my shame.

Let me explain.

I first cast a vote in 1988, and it was for Michael Dukakis against Geroge H.W. Bush. In the 19 years since I have never voted for a Republican in a partisan race. Ever. I have not voted for a Republican presidential candidate, Senatorial candidate, or Congressional candidate. I have not voted for a Republican governor, legislator, or mayor. I have not voted for a Republican city councilman, property valuation administrator or dog catcher. I have never, ever voted for a Republican, but if Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee then that may well change.

God help us all.

There are two basic problems with a Hillary nomination - how she'd have to win it and what she'd do if she's elected. In order to win the nomination, with the trajectory of the primary contest to-date, Hillary will have to seriously Swift-Boat Barack Obama. We've seen a couple attempts at this already from Clinton surrogates with Billy Shaheen having to resign and apologize to Barack Obama for his remarks and Bob Kerry having to write an apology to Barack Obama over his comments. When the Clinton camp gets desperate it is quite possible for them to further go Willie Horton on Obama, and that will galvanize Black support behind Barack Obama. If Obama then goes on to lose to Clinton then the resentment against Clinton will be overwhelming, opening up an opportunity for the GOP within the Black community that hasn't been seen since Reconstruction.

The second problem with a Clinton candidacy is what she would do as president. A Clinton presidency would have liberal trappings - there will be some executive orders and signing ceremonies in the first 100 days - but the substance of it would be totally corporate from day 101 until its end. Moreover, much like Bill, Hillary would be pulled rightward in order to prove her critics wrong and to demonstrate that she has the balls to be president. An honest assessment of the Clinton years would show that the core constituencies of the Democratic Party got the shaft on the issues that matter most to them - Labor got NAFTA, Blacks got the Crime Bill, Women got Welfare Reform, gays got DOMA, and peace activists got military interventions in Kosovo, Haiti, and Iraq. I would expect more of the same from a second Clinton presidency, particularly since Hillary has been promising more of the same from the first Clinton presidency.

Here's where I become a heretic.

If Hillary Clinton defeats Barack Obama in the Democratic Primary to become the Democratic nominee, then I think the best thing that could happen for Progressives and indeed for the country is for Mike Huckabee to be the next president of the United States. Much the same way that Hillary would be pulled to the Right, Huckabee would be pulled to the Left, because when it comes to caring for the least of these Mike Huckabee is a Christian, not a Republican who mentions Jesus Christ merely to gain votes, and he is catching considerable heat from his fellow Republicans on that score, best summarized by George F. Will, "Huckabee's role...is not merely to attempt to revise a few Republican beliefs. He represents wholesale repudiation of what came after the 1970s -- Reaganism."


I thought that I was alone in this perspective, that I was the only apostate who was seriously considering Huckabee if Hillary managed to defeat Barack Obama, but it turns out that there are many people in my neck of the woods who are quietly considering the same thing, who are looking at Mike Huckabee as a candidate that they could actually vote for instead of merely voting against the other guy - in this case, girl. A friend of mine asked me what I thought about the GOP nomination fight, and when I got to Huckabee we agreed so quickly that it scared me - we're raving about a REPUBLICAN! I then went and spoke to several other politically-active firends locally and the reaction was the same - nothing but love for Huckabee. Nobody is supporting Huckabee openly because we all want Barack Obama to win, but if Hillary becomes the Democratic nominee then all bets are off.

If Hillary Clinton defeats Barack Obama and if Mike Huckabee survives the GOP nomination then I believe we could see the beginning of the Chocolate Migration. Huckabee's Baptist background gives him the worldview and vocabulary to speak directly to the hearts and minds of church-going Black folk, and he does so instinctively. Democrats, if they're smart (insert your own joke here), will respond to this by emphasizing their secular credentials, much the same way that Republicans have won elections in the past by emphasizing their religious credentials. The new divide could easily become between those who are overtly religious against those who are not, in large part pitting those who are epistemologically conservative against those who are epistemologically liberal. Blacks, especially church-going Blacks (who also tend to be the ones that vote), are epistemologically conservative and overtly religious, and if the Democrats push their secular credentials too hard, as many are wont to do already, they will alienate many Blacks and drive us into the Republican Party on Huckabee's bandwagon, the Chocolate Migration.

The Republican Party, if it is smart, will be ready for the Democrats to over-reach and will open its tent in earnest to church-going Blacks, but it will take a great deal of political skill and finesse to merge Blacks and Southern Baptists into the same camp, a total eschewing of White Supremacy that is in no ways limited to rednecks in sheets or the GOP. It may be that no such political skill or good will exists and that Blacks will simply have to suck it up and deal with functionally atheistic corporate Democrats if we still find Old South Republicans to be too strange a bedfellow, but it will be an interesting journey over this election cycle to see if this realignment actually plays out - libertarians migrating to the Democratic Party and Blacks returning to the Republican Party. Of course, if Barack Obama becomes the Democratic nominee for president then all bets are off.

Barack, boma ye!

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:42 AM

Read or Post a Comment

Your analysis is excellent. I recently made a post about Obama reaching across the aisle to Huckabee.

I come to Obama from the right as an independent precisely because I think that the corporate interests in the right have hijacked the party of Lincoln and sold the American Dream for profits.

I think there is much more in common between Obama and Huckabee than there is between Obama and Clinton or Edwards. Huckabee does what he does because he really believes in Christ's actual teachings. He also believes that he does not know enough to impose his beliefs on others. He has a humility about his personal beliefs that is refreshing.

Posted by Blogger Curtis Faith @ Sunday, December 23, 2007 11:50:00 AM #

In truth, anyone who truly understands what Jesus Christ taught knows with absolute certainty that His teachings can not be imposed - it's about an internal act of the will, not external domination by rulers, authorities, powers, or spiritual forces.

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Sunday, December 23, 2007 4:37:00 PM #

Gasp...speaking to family these past few days, I heard the same thing. I'm not there yet. I can never vote for a minister for President. Yet, my family is not only solidly Democrat, but extremely religious. At the beginning of this month, not one of them was supporting Obama. They were all for Clinton. These past few weeks have put them firmly in either Obama or Dodd camps. And no one has said they'd consider voting for her if she wins the nomination. My aunt could have written your post, let's put it that way. Like I said, you'd have to drug me to vote for Huckabee, let alone any Republican for president, but you are most definitely not alone.

Posted by Blogger faboo @ Thursday, December 27, 2007 12:51:00 AM #

Careful. The Huckster is down with white supremecists.

Posted by Blogger J @ Saturday, January 19, 2008 10:03:00 AM #

You can connect virtually any Republican to White Supremacists - there's less than two degrees of separation from them in the GOP.

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Friday, January 25, 2008 8:30:00 PM #
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