The media won’t tell you this. They will tiptoe all around the truth, inventing “issues” and indulging in wild speculation. But here’s the unmentionable truth about the American presidential election:
It’s basically a referendum – make that two referendums – and has little to do with the issues at stake or the character of the candidates.
The first, and most obvious, referendum is on George W. Bush. Do Americans want a third Bush term? The answer, according to the polls is a resounding, “No.”
It’s the second referendum that’s too delicate to talk about. This one is on Barack Obama. And the question is: How many Americans would accept a black man as president? The answer to that one is blowing in the wind.
The two questions add up to a dilemma for many. They do not want another Bush presidency, but they can’t bring themselves to vote for a black man. (Of course, they won’t say this out loud; they’ll make some other excuse – he’s “inexperienced” or whatever.)
On the reverse side of the coin, look for a record black turnout. Black Americans are going to vote in numbers never seen before. Do I think people should base their vote on race? No I don’t. Do I think millions will? Yes I do.
That’s the unvarnished truth. A lot of Americans will vote on the issues, a lot will vote on the character of the candidates, but a lot will be motivated by prejudice.
So what does this mean?
I think it means a low turnout as disenchanted Republicans stay home. But enough Republican voters will show up at the polls to carry quite a few states. I see McCain winning Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virgina, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Utah, North and South Dakota, Arizona, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Montana largely because of Obama’s ethnic background. Alaska will probably go to McCain because so many Alaskans think they will get rich if oil drilling is permitted on federal land up there.
I see Obama winning North and South Carolina and the District of Columbia because of a massive black turnout. He will win California, Oregon, Washington state, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maryland, Iowa, Illinois, Idaho, Minnesota, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey because of an unprecedented turnout by young voters and fired-up liberals. I think Indiana, Missouri, Michigan and Ohio will teeter and fall to Obama, as economic misery trumps xenophobia. Nebraska and Kansas will likely vote for Obama to get ethanol subsidies, and Hawaii will back him because he was born there.
One key to Obama’s victory will be the Hispanic vote. The Republicans and their loud-mouthed supporters have antagonized many Hispanics by their hostile remarks and uncharitable approach to the problem of undocumented immigrants. That means Obama will win Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. Virginia’s new Hispanic population will probably tip the scales there, too.
But I guess it doesn’t matter why people vote – just as long as they vote. So, see you at the polls in November!