As President Barack Obama embarks on his re-election bid for a second term in the White House, it appears that White democrats are exhibiting a doubtful stance toward him as evidenced by Tuesday’s May 8 West Virginal primary vote in where a white felon in Texas received four of ten votes.
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If one takes a moment to ponder just how preposterous that sounds, look at the numbers: Obama got just 59 of the vote in the Democratic-held state versus 41 percent of the vote going to Keith Judd, held in Texas prison on extortion charges. Although West Virginia shares the same party as Obama, 93 percent of its residents are White – and largely blue-collar, working class types at that.
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Connecting with that particular audience has not been the strongest portion of Obama’s arsenal, and capturing the sway of those voters is critical to his success. However, the whole divisive stance White Democrats have towards Obama reeks ever so slightly of xenophobia, or dare we say, racism. Barack Obama is unabashedly African-American, and while he has the propensity to turn on his “swag” in an almost pandering way, he has the slick politician’s ability to work his magic for any crowd he addresses. Still, poll numbers are showing a slip of White support due to the lack of rapid job growth, the slowly recovering economy and other factors Obama inherited from the Bush Jr. regime – the short memory of Americans suddenly shifting this all to the POTUS’s plate. On the other side, women and Black voters are giving Obama some much-needed spark.
Even with the young white voter base he was popular with, Obama’s numbers are falling as well. Dominating his Republican opponent John McCain in 2008 with 10 percent of the votes from Whites ages 18 to 28, he now leads Republican hopeful Mitt Romney by just two percent. As dull and politically indecisive Romney has been, it comes as a shock that the gap is that narrow even in the polls. Poll numbers are not a true marker, but they do help in assisting folks who are marginally astute when it comes to politics to make a decision. Is the White voter defection Obama endures of late simply a reaction to factors far beyond the President’s control (not to mention an uncooperative Congress to boot)? Is it simply a cry for change? Are White Democrats ready to hand the keys to Mormon Mitt?
Obama won 43 percent of the White vote in capturing the presidency. It was a great time for pundits and bloggers; columns were erected praising a so-called “post-racial” America – still as vague a term as any that’s been created. As it stands, American’s first African-American president may have had many bumps in his first term and has withstood the brunt of the assaults and shakiness of his party fairly well. But without that critical White vote, Obama’s chances in defeating Romney in the fall could dwindle unless he finds a way to attract the eyes, ears and support of those voters while still maintaining a good amount of attention on his various other supporters.
Or, Obama could just start hitting up town hall meetings in Bible and Rust Belt states singing a little Bluegrass and chewing a bit snuff just to show he’s worthy of a vote from “Real Americans” (read: White, working class) this November. Whatever Obama does to reach out to the “fairer” voting bloc using tactics his campaign team deems necessary, folks can expect Republicans to seize on the moment like the desperate rabid dogs they are and not let go.