Republicans show more optimism about race relations than do Democrats. A June 2007 Gallup Poll asked Republicans and Democrats to rate relations between blacks and whites. Among Democrats, 67 percent said relations were "somewhat good" or "very good," while 77 percent of Republicans gave those answers. Similarly, 22 percent of Republicans ranked black/white race relations as "somewhat bad" or "very bad," yet 31 percent of Democrats gave those pessimistic responses.
As I wrote in my new book, "Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card -- and Lose," a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll asked which type of presidential candidate would you not vote for, even if that candidate agreed with you on most issues. More Democrats (17 percent) than Republicans (13 percent) wouldn't vote for a Mormon. For a 72-year-old candidate -- again, more Democrats (19 percent) than Republicans (12 percent) refused to vote for someone that age. Likewise more Democrats (4 percent) than Republicans (3 percent) ruled out voting for a black candidate.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., a black Clinton supporter, explained why whites vote for Obama. According to Cleaver, "This is (their) chance to demonstrate that we have been able to get this boogeyman called race behind us. And so they are going to vote for him, whether he has credentials or not, whether he has any experience …"
Here's where things get interesting.
As to the argument that an Obama election would show an America overcoming its history of racial injustice, Cleaver says no, it would show the opposite. "Yet Cleaver asserts," according to an Associated Press article, "that Obama as president could actually hamper efforts to curb racial injustice. He said future concerns about race 'would be met with rejection because we've already demonstrated that we're not a racist nation.'"
In other words, whites cleverly intend to vote for Obama -- not because they consider him qualified or the better candidate, but so that they can diminish future allegations of alleged racism and racial injustice. But Cleaver sees through the plot. To Cleaver, America remains a "racist nation." And Obama as president simply pulls the wool over the eyes of America, minimizing the continued and future victims of racism, while giving America's racists free rein to continue their deviousness.
Former Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, another Clinton supporter, makes the opposite argument. Ferraro claims that Obama's race gives him an advantage that obscures his otherwise thin resume. "If Obama was a white man," said Ferraro, "he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
Black state Sen. Robert Ford, D-S.C., also a Clinton supporter, takes the Cleaver position. In explaining his refusal to support Obama, Ford said, "It's a slim possibility for (Obama) to get the nomination, but then everybody else is doomed. Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose because he's black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything. I'm a gambling man. I love Obama. But I'm not going to kill myself."
Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton can now breathe easier. If Obama loses, blame race. If Obama wins, blame race. Either way, Obama's election, as regards race relations, means nothing. So Jackson and Sharpton and the rest of the like-minded traveling circus can remain in the business of ferreting out, exploiting and often exaggerating allegations of racism for face time on TV and continued relevance.
In 1911, former slave Booker T. Washington prophetically wrote about "black leaders" like Cleaver, Jackson and Sharpton: "There is (a) class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. … There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."