Monday, February 11, 2008

Meeting for 2/14: Power Versus the People (Pt. 2)

So, I intended to address identity politics and media bias. Yet something I read tonight angered me deeply.

In an article* at MSNBC, Hillary Clinton downplayed her last 5 losses.

She said she never expected to do well in any of those contests, even though she had been favored to win Maine. Clinton repeated her criticism that the caucus system is undemocratic and caters mostly to party activists .

As for Louisiana, "You had a very strong and very proud African-American electorate, which I totally respect and understand," Clinton said.

I am extremely offended by her remarks.


Wikipedia has great definition:
"Race baiting" is the term for an act of using racially derisive language, actions or other forms of communication, to anger, intimidate or incite a person or groups of people, or to make those persons behave in ways that are inimical to their personal or group interests. This can also be accomplished by implying that there is an underlying race based motive in the actions of others towards the group baited, where none in fact exists.

With their decreasing of African American support and tough loss in South Carolina, the Clinton campaign have been playing the spin game. In states where the AA population is more than 20% the Clintons will say, "Because its a Black state, of course it will go to Obama".

A few problems with that assumption.

First, how did states with Black populations above 20% suddenly become classified as "black" states? Second, the undertone that Blacks will vote for Obama because he's black is a racist assumption. In fact, in an October 2007 CNN poll, Black Democrats supported Clinton as the nominee over Obama: 57% to 33%**. Yet Clinton's campaign dismisses the reason for their current support as race related. The facts show otherwise. The possibility that a large number of Blacks are voting for Obama because they feel he's the best candidate seems more likely. Third, the assumption renders the votes of Whites, Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans invisible since the election results are attributed to Black voters alone.

It's clear with race baiting, everyone losses. The aggressor attempts to discredit their opponent. In turn, it divides the electorate on race-- those who see the comment as racist and those who do not. It a blatant tactic used to smear in "win at all cost politics".

Identity Politics

As I mentioned in Part 1, "50+1" is desired result of politicians who run "win at all cost" campaigns. It doesn't matter who you divide, the more splits the better. Just make sure you have over 50%, even if only by one vote.

In Politics, we see candidates using identity to get ahead. On the Republican side, we're seeing Ideologies -- Conservatives ("values" votes; Evangelicals) versus Moderates and Independents.

On the Democratic side, along with the fierce fighting, group have broken down to more basic and volatile categories:
Asian, Black, Latino, White voting blocks; Women voters; Old vs. Young voters.

In the media we're seeing the Latino votes "competing with" the Black vote.
Women voters "going head to head" with Young voters.

Ridiculous, oversimplifying? YES. It serves the purpose of the establishment. Divide and conquer.

Well, we have lots to discuss on Thursday. I'm *very much* looking foward to it!

I am enjoying all the posts on this blog. (I love seeing the events. There really is so much going on everyday in nyc. It's awesome =)


* Clinton insists campaign is strong
** CNN Poll

If you haven't seen this...


Anarchist Jew said...
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Anarchist Jew said...
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Anarchist Jew said...


i look forward to discussing american electoral politics with the best of the best on thurs. And to talk of the uselessness, in my opinion, of statistics.

I don't know if there are any real differences among ANY of the "presidential candidates" but I am interested in what they each represent and mean as symbols of the capitalist, racist and generally hierarchical society in which we live.

Sheryl, you are so up on current american politics you make me blush!!


love comrade ahey

Anarchist Jew said...

and idenTITY politics tooo