Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Hill" heads for the hills

Democratic voters in West Virginia are going to the polls today, and they will overwhelmingly support Hillary Clinton's crippled bid for her party's nomination. And shortly after the polls close, Clinton will declare that this major victory shows clearly that she, and only she, can cobble together the coalition of voters needed to reclaim the White House in November. Her opponent, Barack Obama, has essentially ignored the West Virginia primary and next week's vote in Kentucky, and with good reason. By most accounts, Obama almost certainly will be the Democratic nominee, and he is focusing on key states for the November election and on Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain. Also, Obama is wise not to waste his time in two states where he has no chance of winning. David Paleologos, who conducted a poll in West Virginia for Suffolk University, said, "There are people who for some reason won't vote for Obama." Yeah, and we all know what that reason is: He's black. He'll still be black in November, and the majority of the good folks in West Virginia and Kentucky just aren't going to vote for a black guy for president. After Clinton's pandering in the past few primary states, I've been surprised that she hasn't donned a miner's helmet in West Virginia. But maybe later this week, we'll see her in a coonskin cap in Kentucky, dining on possum down in some holler. She'll also conveniently ignore the fact that after West Virginia and Kentucky come votes in several states, most notably Oregon, where Obama is favored to win. Clinton has argued that only she can win states like Kentucky and West Virginia that she claims are critical to Democratic success in November. She points to the fact that her husband, the last Democratic president, was a winner in those states. But, again, she ignores some inconvenient truths. The last two Democratic nominees didn't carry either West Virginia or Kentucky, yet they would have been elected if they had just been able to win in Ohio. If Obama were to choose Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland as his running mate, it's pretty likely he could win in the Buckeye State. Also, while Obama is not going to win in places where Clinton could employ her "blue-collar appeal," he has the potential to make inroads in areas where Republicans have held sway in recent elections, places like Missouri, Virginia and the GOP's "solid South." The sad news for us is that it looks as if we'll have to listen to several more weeks of spin from both sides until this thing gets decided.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

If racism is ever to actually end, it cannot be done by claiming that those that dare to not support the candidate of your choice are doing so because of their skin color. Could it be the harsh comments that Obama made towards the very way of life of many in these regions? Could it be that he might not understand their lives, their faith and their beliefs? Instead, you choose to insult them and claim that racism is the reason. Interesting philosophy from one that claims to be open minded.
Oh by the way, No Democrat has won the White House without West Virginia since 1916 and Southern Ohio is not much different demographically.

May 13, 2008 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I'll stand by my claim that there are millions of people in this country, especially in predominantly rural Southern states, who would not vote for Jesus for president if he were black. My main point here is that many candidates in the presidential race this year - Barack Obama, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, John Edwards and others - have conducted themselves with dignity and decency. One, with the help of her husband, has consistently taken the low road, and that is Mrs. Clinton.

May 13, 2008 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Tracy J. said...

West Virginia is historically a Democratic state but they supported a Republican canidate the last few times not because of their skin color but because they support the ideals and values that most West Virginaian believe in family, hard work, God and our country. If people here in PA would not generalize and stereotype us so much they may learn that West Virignians are not all a bunch of hoopies that have no edication and no sense. I think overall anyone who votes for either of the democratic candidates are wasting their vote and fooling themselves because neither one will win come November. Whether we like it or not. As you can see I'm not too ashamed to put my name on my opinions. I am a proud West Virginian who happens to be a registered republican.

May 13, 2008 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Tracy J. said...

Sorry I'm typing too fsat and misspelled education and Virginians. I do know how to spell but my brain works faster than my fingers

May 13, 2008 at 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Could it be the harsh comments that Obama made towards the very way of life of many in these regions?"

Just because it is someone's way of life, doesn't mean that it isn't retarded.

May 13, 2008 at 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Brant pointed out, Obama has the potential to take Colorado, Virginia and Missouri in the general election, none of which has gone for a Democratic presidential nominee in years, which would offset the loss of West Virginia. Also, a poll I saw the other day suggested that Hillary would also likely lose West Virginia in the fall if she's the nominee.

It could be that West Virginia will become one of those reliably Republican states for awhile, like Vermont once was -- back in 1936, it was one of the few states to actually back Landon against Roosevelt. Now it's solidly Democratic.

--Brad Hundt

May 14, 2008 at 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ingorance comes in all shapes and sizes. People are mocked and looked down on because of their race, their sex, their religion ... where they live.

Even those who present themselves as well-educated, open-minded and aware of current events have their own little ignorant blindspots.

Some West Virginians are racist. Some are not. I would say the same for any other state; anywhere in this world you find people, you can find hate.

Painting an entire state's worth of people as ignorant racists is wrong -- just as pretending all black people are potential criminals is wrong.

Both assumptions spread a stereotype which is inaccurate and based on a relatively small sample of those people you are stereotyping.

In any group of people, you find a few bad apples, but that doesn't mean all West Virginians are racist or that the actions of the members of any group can be predicated on the past behavior of a few.

Shame on you for continuing a stereotype.

May 16, 2008 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

That's a great point that should be made... however, when you look at the macro picture, trends emerge that are not present in an individual by individual basis. For example, in the 1970's, you could say that Pittsburgh was a blue-collar, working class city. Certainly, there were white-collar, silver spoon trust fund babies that lived in Pittsburgh, but the "blue collar density"-- that is... the ratio of blue collar workers to the total population-- was higher relative to other areas of the country. So, let's make up some numbers. Let's say that the country, as a whole, is 10% unapologetically racist... 1 in 10 when you consider the whole country. Then, let's consider that among the population of west virginia, it is 20% racists. 2 in 10... you can then, with mathematical certainty, say that west virginia is twice as racist as the rest of the country.


May 16, 2008 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

No one has suggested that all West Virginians are racist. But as Ellipses points out, it's possible that there is a higher concentration of racists in West Virginia than, say, New Hampshire.

May 16, 2008 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

And that higher concentration only has a multiplier effect when it comes time to vote... A higher than average racist electorate may have a higher than average motivation to vote when they are "keeping the black guy out"... Their vote, then has more weight than the standard voting population due to it being proportionately higher than the average. That ends up being enough to push the popular vote in favor of a candidate that, if the racist vote were discounted, would not have carried the state. That results in the capture of the electoral votes and badda bing! A whole state swings one way. It's like sneezing on the salad bar!


May 16, 2008 at 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can also say that there are a bunch of old Jews in Florida, But that doesn't mean they'll vote a certain way. I don't care where they live, it is true that there are racists in America who will never vote for a black, and there are sexists in America who will never vote for a woman. the only way to really tell where they are concentrated is to take exit polls and hope that those who are racist or sexist will actually admit that they didn't vote for a candidate for that reason. I doubt many would -- they would find another issue.

It's sad to me that so many would hang their vote on one issue, whether that issue be race, gender or a candidate's stance or abortion and gun control. Do people really take the time to find out what candidates say about issues that actually affect everyone? Or do they simply believe what the media hypes at the moment? A year ago it was the war. Now it's the economy. By November it will be the price of flax if the media says so.

May 17, 2008 at 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the topic of the exit polls... that is what they did in West Virginia... and the backwater rednecks did not disappoint in their honesty.


May 17, 2008 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

To the penultimate poster, I, like you, have always been perplexed by single-issue voters. Choosing a candidate for an office, especially one as important as president, solely on his or her stance on abortion, gun control or any other single issue is narrow-minded and just plain stupid. A president has very little control over either of the aforementioned issues, and in my lifetime, I can guarantee we're not going to see a total prohibition on abortion or any significant infringement on gun rights, so it's pointless to put all one's eggs in one of those baskets. But Ellipses is absolutely correct that West Virginia voters did show their true colors in the exit polling. A full 25 percent of people who voted for Hillary Clinton said race played a factor in their voting decision. That's very sad. But, of course, some black voters choose Obama just because he's black, and that's not any better, although one could almost forgive the black voters because for the first time in their lives, or the lives of their forebears, a black man has risen to the brink of a major presidential nomination.

May 17, 2008 at 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your argument on "twice as racist based on the math" is valid enough, but where is the math?

You have absolutely no proof that West Virginians are anymore racists than any other populace of another state.

I'm willing to reconsider my stance if you are able to provide some proof of this.

Again, I do not deny there are racists in West Virginia. However, I am concerned about the assumption that West Virginians are largely racist. What are you basing this on?

May 19, 2008 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

The numbers I used were hypothetical... to show that you COULD prove racism in a quantitative form... I have no idea whether WV is ACTUALLY more racist... I will look for some numbers and post back what I find.


-PS... What's with the word verification? I'm a young guy, and some of these I can't read well.

May 19, 2008 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Re the word verification: I'm sure there is some good reason for it that I'm too technologically illiterate to understand, but it is a pain in the backside.

May 19, 2008 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Alrighty... check this out:

Huffington Post exit poll on West Virginia Primary:

25% of CLINTON voters say Race is an important factor in their vote.

10% of OBAMA voters say Race is an important factor in their vote.

Roughly 20% of voters for Both Candidates say gender was an important factor in their vote.

Now, an MSNBC Exit Poll from Indiana:

16% of voters say Race is an important factor... of that,
10% of Whites say it is an important factor and 5% of Blacks say that it is an important factor.

16% also say gender is an important factor... 5% of males, 11% of females.

So... West Virginia is either:
a) more racist than indiana
b) more truthful about their racism than indiana

Whites are:
a) more racist than blacks
b) more truthful about their racism than blacks

Women are:
a) more sexist than men
b) more truthful about their sexism of men

All of this data is:
a) good, statistically strong
b) total horsesh!t, flawed methodoloy, not representative at all
c) kinda good, but not completely accurate

It's not my agenda to paint WV as a racist state... My initial point was that you COULD gather data that quantifies the level of racism in a state... and used WV as an example. This data kinda reinforces that idea, though that wasn't my initial goal.
The huffington post info is at

The MSNBC info is at


May 19, 2008 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I hope it is for something better than "identity protection" because, quite frankly, if someone steals my identity, the last thing I care about is if they are posting things on Brant Newman's O-R blog under my name... THE HORROR! Not to belittle your blog... but like, you know... have a single digit credit rating is a more pressing issue.


May 19, 2008 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I apologize for not spelling anything correctly in my last two posts... I don't know what happened.


May 19, 2008 at 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to collect that data to support your argument. It's nice to hold discourse with other people who actually support what they say.

As for the verification, it's to prevent automated spamming programs.

May 22, 2008 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

What the ...?!?!? Some of us like Spam. When I was a kid, my mother used to fry it in a skillet and make sandwiches out of it. Mmmmmm.

May 22, 2008 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

At lease the verification on here is borderline legible... I tried to score some Pens tickets yesterday and deciphering ticketmaster's verification was like reading entrails.


May 22, 2008 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Ain't that the truth. I was buying concert tickets recently on Ticketmaster, and it was like trying to decipher some lost language.

May 22, 2008 at 1:15 PM  

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