Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hard Working White Americans

Hillary Clinton's recent remark that she has the support of "hard working Americans, white Americans," is probably the first time since May 15, 1972 that a candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination explicitly claimed to be running on behalf of white people.

Of course, Clinton would deny that her campaign has any similarity to George Wallace's. Her remark, she claims, was simply an attempt to point out to her fellow Democrats (and more particularly the party's "super delegates") a gap in Barack Obama's electoral coalition and to argue that she is more "electable."

Whatever her reasons, I can't help but see Clinton's remark as a step backward for the party and the country. After all, Lyndon Johnson, the most accomplished political realist ever to hold the office of president, willingly gave up the Southern white vote that had long been part of the Democrats' coalition in order to pass the civil rights acts of the 1960s. He did it because it was the right thing to do. To raise the flag of white resentment in 2008 in a mainstream political campaign only points out how much our political discourse has deteriorated in recent decades.

1 comment:

kateg said...

there is a typo; "whatever, her reasons I can" should read "can't"

but as to the content, you are right, Clinton is full of crap. Intentionally or not, her comment legitimzed white racism as a political stance, and managed to simultaneously condescend to working class people of all races.