May 4, 2008


A Fault Line That Haunts the Democrats (JOHN HARWOOD, 5/04/08, NY Times)

[I]n contest after contest, particularly in large states with diverse ethnic populations, support for the two candidates has reflected the sort of splits that normally divide Democrats from Republicans. And the pattern is likely to be repeated on Tuesday, when voters go to the polls in Indiana, a predominantly white state and North Carolina, which has a substantial black population. [...]

Yet others suggest the split within the party is less a matter of race than of economics. Support for Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton has been divided by income as well as race; Mr. Obama has attracted the same sort of affluent voters who backed Gary Hart in 1984, while she has dominated the blue-collar whites who, along with blacks in that campaign, delivered that year’s nomination to Walter Mondale. This has made Mr. Obama vulnerable to charges of elitism, as did his comments about “bitter” small-town voters. “He’s been pulled into a demographic corner, not a racial corner,” said Tad Devine, a top strategist for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.

In any case, the racial divide that has opened up within the Democratic Party is almost certainly less problematic than the hurdles Mr. Obama could face attracting support outside the party in November should he win the nomination. It is, after all, the Republican Party that captured the allegiance of the whites most uneasy about the civil rights movement and its legacy.

Funny how identical splits are cultural between Democrats but racial between a Democrat and a Republican, eh?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 4, 2008 3:35 PM

While the WSJ's reporting can be pretty liberal, one suspects that Harwood's conclusion might have been edited had he still worked there. In the Times, of course, it would not have been published without it.

Posted by: ratbert at May 4, 2008 6:48 PM