Thursday, October 09, 2008

Racism: the elephant in the US polling booth

From Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News:

"Race is a factor for those who would vote for and against him," said Gary Weaver, an American University professor who leads its Intercultural Management Institute.

"I think that there are some white Americans who will not vote for a black person. It is unlikely they would admit this publicly, but they might admit this in anonymous surveys," Weaver said.

"On the phone, racists will often deny that they are influenced by race because it is socially unacceptable. When they enter the poll booths, these people may very well vote against Obama."

According to a recent Stanford University poll, Obama could lose six points on election day due to his color -- a troubling price to pay for prejudice.

Click here for more.

Right. So if you've been reading Real Art regularly you know that I plan to vote for Ralph Nader next month. Long story short: the Democrats are simply incapable of nominating an actual liberal for president, and I'm sick and tired of having to hold my nose and vote for a candidate who in no way represents my vision for a better America; I voted for Kerry in 2004 because all my liberal friends and all those "progressive" writers insisted on it, "anybody but Bush," and I was sickened by doing it, so no more of this shit. I know Nader won't win, but he's the guy I want, so he gets my vote--I'm not a Democrat, and I owe them nothing.

But of the two candidates who actually have a shot, I'd greatly prefer to see Obama win.

So I'm quietly rooting for him, even though what he would do is stabilize the bullshit system rather than doing away with it--I have to admit that is indeed a bit better than the far right-wing chaos we're experiencing now. I think it's also very symbolically cool that Obama's a black man--sixty years ago, black men couldn't even vote in the city where I'm now writing these words; today we stand a very good chance of being led by a black man. That's why I'm troubled by this business about polling data being skewed by in-the-booth racists. If you assume a five percent margin of error, and then throw in this potential six percent who've possibly lied about voting for Obama, the Senator from Illinois is going to need to lead by at least a ten percent polling margin going into election day.

So I'm modifying my voting plans.

If Obama is beating McCain in the polls here in Louisiana by five to ten percent during the week before the election, I'll vote for him instead of Nader in order to cancel out one of those lying, in-the-booth racist people's votes. Either way, my guy won't win, but it would drive me nuts if post election analysis indicates that Obama lost by a slim margin attributed to voters who decided at the last minute that a black president is a bad idea.

You hear that Democrats? I've found our common ground. Really, though, this state's pretty safe for McCain, and I fully expect to be voting for Ralph. But just in case...