Sunday, June 08, 2008

The second of two parts:
Pt 1 How McCain Can Win the White House
Pt 2 How Obama Can Win the White House

How Obama Can Win the White House
Earl Ofari Hutchinson

A Pew Research Poll Center Poll in early May found that "inspiring," " fresh," "change," and "visionary" was not the word that voters said best described Obama. The word was "inexperienced." Republican presidential contender John McCain has made this and the boast that he’s the best on national security, the terrorist fight and defense preparedness his attack mantra against Obama.
Obama can parry the attack by turning the table and proclaiming that his lack of national and especially international experience is a positive. That he'll bring fresh ideas and approaches to statecraft that replace the old, tired, and failed polices of recent times. But that’s not enough. He must choose and choose carefully a vice presidential running mate who is every bit the tough guy on national security, the war on terrorism and defense preparedness that McCain claims to be. Then he must convince voters that he will back up his pledge to bring an honorable and workable end to the Iraq war.
But it’s still Bush and the GOP’s domestic fumbles that are potentially his biggest selling point. He must repeatedly remind voters that they should be mad at Bush and the GOP for the bungle of the economy, his draconian tax giveaway to the wealthy and corporate interests, his gut of environmental and civil liberties protections, and his Medicare prescription drug benefit bill that lined the pockets of pharmaceutical companies and eroded Medicare coverage and protections. He must adeptly remind women's groups that the GOP will continue to wage a relentless war against abortion rights. He must remind gay groups that top GOP politicians are staunch opponents of gay marriage, and are likely to continue to fight hard against stronger civil rights protections for gays.
He must make the ringing call by the Democrats for party unity more than a feel-good, politically correct self-assuring call. This means repairing the deep polarization among Democratic voters, or more particularly, the hardliners who backed Clinton and are wary if not hostile to him. He must make an all out effort to convince white blue collar and rural whites that an Obama White House will aggressively battle against soaring gas prices, home foreclosures, job losses, plant closures, the erosion of farm supports and to implement affordable health care and a McCain White House won’t. He must make an equally all out effort to convince Latinos that an Obama White House will just as aggressively fight for immigration reform and affordable health care, and a McCain White House won’t.
Obama must turn the campaign for the White House into a holy crusade among black and Latino voters. The enthusiasm of black voters for Obama and Latino voters for Clinton was sky high in the primaries and the numbers that turned out were near record setting. The bellwether for that was Obama’s smash victory in the South Carolina primary in January. More than a half million Democrats voted. That was nearly twice the Democratic turnout of 2004 and almost 20 percent higher than the Republican vote the week before. Blacks make up more than half of the Democratic vote in the state. In California, Latinos make up nearly 30 percent of the voters and had a higher than average turnout in the Super Tuesday primary in February.
He must make sure that those near record numbers that flooded the polls in the primaries flood the polls in near record or better yet record numbers in the fall election. He must turn part of his campaign into a bully pulpit to speak out on the need for vigilance on voting rights and civil rights protections, the need for tougher and expanded hate crimes laws, and the repeal of the racially skewed mandatory drug laws. He must boldly call for increased funding for underserved inner city schools, and for combating the HIV/AIDS plague, greater funding for minority business, and the appointment of Supreme Court and federal judges committed to protect civil rights and civil liberties.
He risks little in aggressively championing civil rights and going all out to ramp up the black and Latino vote turnout especially in the South. There's little chance that he can break the strong grip Republicans have on white male votes in those states. Polls show they likely will still be McCain’s biggest and most enthusiastic backers in the South.
Finally, Obama must convince a significant number of swing state independent voters that he is the real change alternative to McCain in handling the war, the economy, health care, immigration and energy issues, and is centrist enough to convince them that he is as tough on terrorism and as big an advocate of a strong military as McCain.
That's a tall, but very doable, order but he can win the White House by filling it.

New America Media National Political Writer Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February 2008).


Anonymous said...

Why did I ever think you were impartial and always reported fairly? You have been consistent in your dislike of Obama all during his campaign with your girl Hillary. I have no problem with Black people supporting McCain or Hillary but just be fair about it. Hillary racebaited throughout her campaign and not once did you nor her lapdogs Tavis and Coon Johnson call her out on it but you sure had plenty of criticism about Barack. You have ceased to become a journalist now because it's obvious that this is couldn't even congratulate the man on winning the nomination but you can write how his White opponent can beat him. You are such a disgrace and an embarassment; how you look yourself in the mirror each day as a so-called Black man I"ll never know. Obviously; white people have done a job on you..hope it doesn't spread to the rest of your family; self hate is a mother!!

SherGayle said...

I am a regular listener to the Bev Smith Show. I have listened to her for a few years now and that is where I first heard of you. I used to take lots of notes while listening to her guests. You were one of them that I liked to listen to BUT THEN...I happened to listen in one night when even Miss Bev had to "agree to disagree" with your position about the Obama/Hillary race. I couldn't believe my ears. I had always "assumed" that you were pro US. I knew of your campaign about the 50 Cents bill board controversy in CA. I had heard your view on various sundry issues of the day prior to the Primaries. But this stance/position you've taken albeit your choice to make has cost you any moniker of respect & esteem I may have had for you. I am A-A but by no means does that mean that I'm monolithic in my thinking or views. In the beginning, I was open minded enough to give HRC a chance and THEN, her husband opened his mouth in SC, she soon followed, and you supported them and their racist ideology and now McCain...who are you really? I may never know, but you're definitely not the man I mistakenly thought you were. Sorry you backed the wrong horse but I didn't when he came out of the starting gate on day one!!! (as you girl would say) Locally, even homegrown Republicans like yourself have chosen to support Barack and here you are giving tidbits about how McCain can win. Even Magic Johnson, Maxine Waters & others saw the error of their ways eventually. How long do you want us to get to the back of the bus Mr. Hutchinson??? Martin said, "How long, not long". It's been 40 freaking years!!! RFK said that, "In 40 years a Negro will be President of this country." If even he knew this back then...what is your problem??? Good Day!

Anonymous said...

Earl, I don't agree that Obama HAS to choose a military or foreign policy person as his VP. Those who doubt his ability in that arena will not likely change in a General Election campaign, Plus, for the most part foreign policy is conducted (boots to the ground) by Secretaries of State, Ambassadors, diplomats, and other foreign service officials. The LAST thing this country needs is another war hawk running the joint.

Obama simply has to show thoughtfulness on the subject in speeches, debates IMO. I've been a proponent of Jim Webb, and I think that he'd do a good job. But I'm coming around to the idea that he may not be necessary. Plus, if he vacates his Senate seat then the Dems lose a vote in the Senate where they hold a slim majority. I think Barack needs to choose someone that would represent a certain and needed part of the electorate that he wants to go after... white surburban women or hispanic voters come to mind.

In that regard Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of Kansas, or Bill Richardson come to mind. Sebelius is a centrist, a capable governor, leadership material and executive experience who is a White woman. She may settle the Hillary Clinton noise when Barack doesn't choose Hillary as part of his ticket and may be able to bring out the White suburban woman vote. Bill Richardson, while not the most dynamic candidate of the bunch, has enormous experience and great credentials as a foreign policy expert. He was a former ambassodor, former Secretary of the Energy and is a current governor. He is of (part) Hispanic heritage and would excite that base for Barack's administration. Plus, it makes a logical progression for Richardson as possibly the nation's first Hispanic president.

Your article reads as someone who can't get past his dislike of Barack Obama to put together a well-reasoned argument in support of Barack Obama. Your first paragraph about inexperience says it all for me. Thanks for the not-so-informative-or-enligtening reporting.