Rich Galen

Barack Obama's overwhelming victory in South Carolina over a stunningly tone-deaf Hillary Clinton may change the political landscape in America for decades to come. Or, it may not have any effect on Super Tuesday (February 5) at all.

Thus is the state of politics today. No matter what happens in the near- or long-term future one thing is abundantly clear: Race politics was front and center in South Carolina.

On Fox Saturday night, Alan Colmes asked me what I thought about the issue of race in the Democratic primary in South Carolina.

I said I thought it was a good thing.

Later in the program, long after I had left the studio in Ft. Lauderdale, Michael Steele was on and Alan quoted my response. Steele, who now runs GOPAC, said that he thought I was wrong.

Let's understand what I was talking about.

Barack Obama kicked Hillary Clinton's you-know-what in the primary election in South Carolina.

He largely did it by getting something on the order of 85% of the Black vote and nearly a quarter of the White vote.

Remember, the Clinton campaign sent Bill Clinton into SC to demonstrate the difference between an eight-year former President and a first term US Senator. The idea was to show that experience was way, way more important than "change."

South Carolinians didn't get the joke and they demonstrated that ignorance by ignoring the fact that Bill Clinton was campaigning in South Carolina while the actual candidate, Hillary Clinton, was not.

It was blatantly obvious that both Hillary and Obama were playing - as the Popular Press calls it - the Race Card.

Obama, in case you haven't noticed, is Black. Hillary, in case you haven't noticed, is very, very White.

Back to Alan Colmes' question.

I am not be in favor of using race as an issue in politics. But if Hillary and Barack want to use race as an issue (as they did in South Carolina) then that works to the benefit of the GOP because African-Americans are such an important part of the Democratic coalition.

If Black Democrats are largely Barack supporters and White Democrats are largely Hillary backers then this can only devolve to the benefit of the Republican nominee - whomever that turns out to be.

This is because the longer the Democratic nomination fight goes on the less likely it is that there will be a reconciliation. And if Hillary and Barack continue to split the primary states, then the fight might go all the way to the floor of the Democratic Convention in August.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at