The results of the South Carolina primary should be troubling to all: While Barack Obama did, indeed, defeat Hillary Clinton there, he did so capturing roughly 80 percent of the black vote but only a quarter of the white vote!
This is the strongest indication yet that this presidential race is shaping up as one of the most polarizing in recent American history, at least among the Democrats.
Although Sen. Obama did manage to win in Iowa where most voters are white, Iowa is a caucus state and not a primary one. That makes a huge difference. In a caucus, there is no secret ballot and peer pressure is often a big factor.
So, the South Carolina primary was really the first test of how Obama would likley do in a general election should he get the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
Many news headlines are shouting about his win over Clinton, but virtually burying the fact that he could not get a significant white vote except among the youngest of white voters.
And, even though the Clinton’s have a long history of helping the African-American community–blacks have often called Bill Clinton “American’s first black President,”the fact that 80 percent of blacks cast their ballots for Obama would seem to indicate that their vote was mostly along racial lines. Likewise, the 75 percent white vote split between Clinton and John Edwards would suggest that many of them also voted along racial lines.
This can’t be good no matter how one looks at it. And, like it or not, it also is a strong indicator that Obama, should he get the nomination, is not likely to win a general election where the overwhelming majority of voters will be white.
Perhaps a sad fact about American society in 2008, but a fact nonetheless.
For much the same reason, it seems unlikely that Obama could win enough states and delegates on February 5th when 22 states vote or caucus as part of “super Tuesday,”to get the nomination in the first place.
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