Friday, July 18, 2008

Elmo Richardson: Expert on "White Democrats"

What, exactly, did Bibb County Commissioner Elmo Richardson mean by this comment in the Telegraph yesterday?

But Elmo Richardson, who aside from Bishop is the only other Republican on the Bibb commission, said it's still early to accurately predict how county races might play out in the coming months. He said many Republicans crossed over Tuesday to vote in the sheriff's race, which may partly explain the high number of voters on the Democratic side. More people voted in that race than any other local contest. And in November, Bishop might be positioned to attract white Democrats who won't vote for Obama and will turn instead to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain. (Emphasis mine) "I think Bishop will probably pick up a lot there," Richardson said.

While it's good to know that there is a local expert on the behavior of "white Democrats," if I were Elmo, I wouldn't be holding my breath.

For starters, my skin might be white, but that doesn't make me stupid. The housing market is collapsing around us, people are standing in lines hoping to get their money from failing banks, GM is scrambling to keep the doors open, airlines can't keep planes in the sky, and I'm pumping $4.50 a gallon gas. Seriously, please look back over the terms of Bush I and Bush II and tell me why we should ever again trust Republican economic policy. Not only will "white Democrats" vote for Obama, lots of Republicans will, too. He could be green with purple spots, and it wouldn't matter.

Second, has it occurred to Elmo that lots of "white Democrats" have already voted for Obama? Has Richardson ever been to Iowa? You know, the 97% white state that gave Obama his first victory of the election season? Perhaps Richardson thinks that only Southern "white Democrats" vote based on race, but then he would have to find a reason for Obama's margin of victory in Georgia. Sure, the African American turnout was high here, but Obama dominated his opponents, winning more than 66% of the vote to Clinton's 31%. Looks to me like a significant number white Democrats in Georgia have already voted for Obama, and it would be a mistake to assume that those who voted for Clinton did so because of the color of the candidate's skin.

Finally, if I were Elmo, I wouldn't assume that everyone who votes for McCain will also vote for Bishop. They have little in common other than the "R" behind their name. Most folks I talk with are far less concerned about the Chair's party than about his ability to work well with others, particularly with the City of Macon. On that, Bishop, who on those grounds failed to earn the endorsement of the Telegraph, faces an uphill fight to convince voters that he has changed. And, then there are the numbers. As Matt Barnwell points out, Sam Hart, the Democrat running unopposed in the primary got 8,734 votes to Bishop's 2,620. Bishop's opponent, Theron Ussery has a very strong showing with 1995 votes. Over all, Barnwell points out, "Hart outpaced the entire Republican field in that race nearly two to one." Did it occur to Elmo that no one who crossed over to vote in the sheriff's race had to go on down the ballot and put a mark beside Sam Hart's name in an uncontested race? Plus, if I were Charlie, I wouldn't be relying on the votes of all those Ussery supporters.

Where does this leave us? Charlie Bishop's hopes for re-election are fading faster than a pair of blue jeans dunked in Clorox.

1 comment:

Tina said...

These days giving your vote to a Republican is pretty much like giving your credit card to a drunkard. Whatever national fiscal credibility the Republican party ever had is now down the tube. Also it doesn't take a whole lot of foreign policy know-how to understand McCain's Iraq policy. If things are better in Iraq we must stay there because things are better. If things are worse in Iraq we must stay there because things are worse. Got it?