Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why Hillary Is Yesterday's News

HIllary Clinton has a good grip of politics, politics past that is. In many ways she appears like just another rich, old white man; the kind that has ruled the United States since the Revolution. The ranks of those people have been full of reformers who've done remarkably little to transform their country into a nation for the 21st century.

Hillary Clinton meant it when she claimed to be the candidate to appeal to "hard working Americans, white Americans." That was no gaffe. That was her specialty, outright pandering and wedge politics, the kind that ought to be reviled. Her loyalty to black America was always feigned which is why black support for Clinton quietly bled out as this campaign wore on. Yet her support from working-class white Americans hasn't been as universal as she would like to crow. She's done well where racism still smoulders but where those embers are dying out, it's a different story.

As Timothy Egan writes in today's New York Times, Hillary's "white America" is becoming yesterday's news:

"...on May 20, when [Oregon] voters... could finally end the Democratic presidential marathon by giving Senator Barack Obama an outright majority of pledged delegates, don’t expect to hear much about how a black man has broadened the playing field for his party by winning a heavily white state. Apparently, white people in Gore-Tex country don’t count as much as white people in Appalachia. Nor, if you look at Colorado, a Bush state that Obama won this year, do white people who sing “Rocky Mountain High” matter as much as white people who sing, “Almost heaven, West Virginia.”
It’s absurd, of course, to tout the implied superiority of “hard-working Americans, white Americans,” as Hillary Clinton said last week of her core supporters. And those other white Americans, in Iowa, Wisconsin, or here in Oregon — all heavy Obama supporters — are slackers? Not to mention black supporters.

The map of counties that Hillary Clinton won big this year shows a broad swath of Appalachia and rural America, places where a Democrat is unlikely to prevail in the general election. The scab of racial animus can be thick in those counties, judging by exit polls of Clinton supporters who say they would never vote for a black man, and by anecdotal reporting.

The political math of the future lies with the new America — fast-growing communities in Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and elsewhere, where people are trying to step out of the cement shoes of race. Yes, race is still a factor there — it’s coded and complex — but not as raw as in other states. The transient nature of these places, where nearly everybody is from somewhere else, makes it difficult for old biases to harden."

And that's why Hillary doesn't have a hope in hell of a comeback in 2012. She's yesterday's news and that's just the way she likes it.

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