Sunday, December 23, 2007
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!
Saturday, December 01, 2007
From right to left:
- Krackin' Up
- Keystroke (yours truly)
- Kappa-Tail B