The Race Factor: What Importance It Holds

October 25, 2008

In the already delicate presidential election, race has truly worn many masks from the start. Bloggers and the media alike have thrown out suggestions of the race card, and the issue has now become the latest talking point among the press. 

But truly what amount of votes will actually swing because of a candidate’s race?

I think the reason that this question is so debated is because there is truly no answer. In an election that I still stress is different from every other, many issues will not truly be answered with previous election trends, but to correctly answer the race question would be essentially impossible. 

Why? After a comfortable dinner at home, a somewhat race affected voter leaning Obama most likely will answer his phone to a pollster and tell him that he will be voting Obama come November 4th. 

But in a sense this means less than what it its importance is perceived. After a half-hour drive to the polls, that same man will stand in front of the ballot and thousands of questions will be screaming at him, one being race.

Am I saying that this man won’t vote Obama because he is African American?

No, I am essentially saying that not a single pundit predicting race’s affect in this election will be looking over the voting booth at that man’s vote, nor will that pundit know what that man was originally going to vote if race was not the problem.

But what we can debate is the volume of people who may be swung because of race, which the answer being completely not enough. In my opinion, the amount of people who will vote McCain because Obama is African-American will be close to the amount of people who vote Obama because he is African-American. 

So again I’ll open this up to the commenters with the obvious question: What importance does race truly hold?

12 Responses to “The Race Factor: What Importance It Holds”

  1. race is important and many people are actually racist,I mean its a natural human tendency to support someone who resembles you in terms of physical appearence…..

  2. chamay0 Says:

    Of course there will a fair amount of people that will not vote for Obama because of his race. But that is really not a strong issue. The reasoning for those type of people can be caused by a variety of issues which includes racism and ignorance.

    I strongly believe that with our tanking economy race is less of a factor while the almighty dollar looms so strong. The color green can, has and will rule out all other colors. When that person (who harbors no racial hatred) goes into the booth, I strongly suspect that they will not hesitate to vote in favor for who they think can get us out of this mess.

  3. Republican presidential nominee John McCain said Friday that if his Democratic rival Barack Obama is elected along with a Democratic Congress the middle class is “going to be put through the wringer.”

    McCain told a noisy rally in Denver, “The answer to a slowing economy is not higher taxes, but that is exactly what is going to happen when the Democrats have total control in Washington.”

    Obama has proposed a tax increase on the 5 percent of taxpayers who make more than $250,000 a year and advocates tax cuts for those who make less.

    The Arizona senator ridiculed the idea that any tax increases would be narrowly targeted and, at the same time, sought to link Obama to the unpopular Congress.

    “Anytime you hear talk of a targeted tax increase, you might want to double-check the skill of the marksman — the U.S Congress has been known to fire wildly,” McCain said. “America didn’t become the greatest nation on earth by giving our money to the government to spread the wealth around.”

    “Sen. Obama says he’s trying to soak the rich, but it’s the middle class who are going to be put through the wringer, because a lot of his promised tax increase misses the target,” said McCain. He said Obama’s tax plans would boost taxes for half the nation’s small businesses, a figure Obama disputes.

    Speaking as the stock market plummeted again, McCain said he would focus on working families.

    “I’m not going to spend $750 billion dollars of your money just bailing out the Wall Street bankers and brokers who got us into this mess,” said McCain. “I’m going to make sure we take care of the working people who were devastated by the excesses of Wall Street and Washington.”

    “Don’t underestimate the capacity of the republicans to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat”

    Why are some Democrats still worried that Mr. Obama may not necessarily be headed to the White House?

    And I know you’ve heard this before, Sarah Palin’s and McCians experience does matter.

    “Joe Biden may have inadvertently made that case for John McCain when he recently said that the world will test Barack Obama in six months. “The world is looking,” he said. “Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.” By saying this, Mr. Biden planted a seed in some voters’ minds that terrorists, rogue nations or even a country like Russia may try to take advantage of Mr. Obama’s inexperience. The implication some may take away from Mr. Biden’s flat-out guarantee is that this would not happen to the combat veteran and vastly more experienced John McCain.”

    Because of that often intended bias, the news media lives in a false bubble that rarely crosses paths with the real Sarah Palin and her “real America.” If you don’t cross paths with and understand millions of Americans, how can you accurately poll them and, more important, empathize with them?

    Republicans think Democrats are wrong, but Democrats think Republicans are stupid, and that’s why Democrats lose.

    “Finally, the sad, ugly side of this equation. Race is going to be a factor in this election. How much, no one knows. A New York Times/CBS News poll gave some indication when it found out that “one-third of voters said they knew someone who would not vote for Mr. Obama because he is black.”

    By their own admission, professional pollsters say there has never been a year when polling has been so problematic. In light of that, any pundit or “expert” who prematurely calls this election for Mr. Obama, is ignoring history, common sense and human nature. John McCain still has a good chance to win.”

    Black Christians will vote For Sarah Palin cause she is one of their own, these right winger christians do all frustrate the Democrats to no end, and without them the Democrats cannot likley next win..

  4. 1superdave Says:

    Pacer, I want to complement you on the degree that you think things out. For a thirteen year old you’re well anvanced past your peers. As a conservative I can honestly say that I would’nt hesitate to pull the lever for a black canidate for president if I thought he would be concerned about things that concern me. Case in point Until recently I had advocated that Colan Powel would make a good President, and would have voted for him given the chance. This week, his endorsement of Obama proved to me he is not worthy of my support. He made the endorsement I think solely based on race. Most of the people I know will not vote Obama but it is because of his far left socialist policies and not because He’s black. MLK in his I have a dream speach say he longed for the day when a man was judged, not by the color of his skin but rather by what is in his heart. I feel I’m doing that very thing. Also I think Obama injected race into the debate when he made the comment about bitter white people clinging to their guns and religion, with antipothy toward those not like them.

  5. pacer521 Says:

    Harshad Joshi,

    I agree. This is also one of the reasons that Palin has such a great amount of fan support — people think she is “just like them.”

  6. pacer521 Says:


    Thank you for commenting. I personally believe that the number of people who won’t vote Obama because of his race will be more or less matched by the number of people that will vote Obama because of his race.

  7. pacer521 Says:


    Thank you for the compliment and comment, but it is truly not right to say that Powell supported Obama because of his race. That is simply not true, as Powell would not support someone who he knows wouldn’t change the US’s course.

    Is this the quote you were referring to about obama?

  8. 1superdave Says:

    That’s the comment about the comment, yes. The thing about colan powel with out going into to much detail, I was refering to a deeper problem in washington and how they treat blacks that don’t go through the affirmative action path to the top. If you look at Justice Thomas, Secretary /Rice Colan Powel and other Blacks that have reached the top of their Professions in the republcan party, you will find that they aren’t well accepted socialy, and are considered to be Uncle Toms. I think powel thinks that Obama is going to win and just wants the washington black power crowd to like him, hence it is a race component to his endorsement of Obama. Thank you for the chance to clear that up.

  9. Stefan Says:

    Race may add to the determination of the Republicans to oppose Obama, but the “Bradley Effect” is overrated and probably moot. Read Nate Silver’s article to this thing.

    Essentially, his argument is that not only have racial tensions declined (somewhat), but essentially, Republicans have given conservatives enough reasons to vote against Black candidates, who have become more unabashedly liberal, besides relying on covert appeals to skin color. For example, to vote against Obama, one could point to “inexperience”, or his “liberal voting record”, rather than his race, to justify the decision. So there’s little reason to lie about that to pollsters anymore.

    Which is not to say that race isn’t a factor – it clearly is. What else is the “Muslim radical” narrative than an appeal to race-based mistrust? But the fear by some liberals of a secret race-based movement against Obama in the polls is a waste of energy. Spend more time worrying about election fraud.

  10. Alberto Says:

    Race brings up the fact that there is still racism in this country and that’s just about it. It being a topic is evidence enough, but we all know it still exists. Will it affect the vote? No, it won’t. It would just be another redundant negative for some folks.

  11. jay1949 Says:

    Assuming there is a “swing” of any substantial degree from Obama to McCain on election day, there is really no way to distinguish between swing voters motivated by racism and those motivated by other factors, including a desire to be insulated from accusations of racism (by avowing support for Obama while intending to vote for McCain). By any direct measure of racial-preference voting, Obama benefits, and may come out ahead, if the polls on this topic are in the ballpark. As far as old-fashioned racists go (there are still a few around), they seem to have no qualms about declaring that they’ll never vote for a black man to be President. So no matter how this contest turns out, I don’t believe it will answer your question. But wait around another generation and then it won’t matter at all.

  12. culturepress Says:

    Pacer, as always, this very well-stated. The funny thing is that there will be some degree of a “Bradley effect,” but also a bit of a “reverse-Bradley effect.” What I mean by that is, I know some rednecks (and these are self-proclaimed rednecks, I don’t mean to be derogatory) who aren’t coming out of the closet like the “Rednecks for Obama” movement, but also, aren’t admitting to their racist redneck friends and family that they’re voting Obama (because they don’t want to deal with the arguing and animosity). I really, honestly know some people like this–it’s a tiny minority, but these guys are clearly leaning Obama when they confide in me, but around their cohorts it’s “McCain/Palin all the way.”

    On the other hand, I hate to say this, but I think a more sizeable number of voters are “voting black because Obama’s black” without knowing the issues/policies (Colin Powell is NOT one of these guys, he’s too intelligent and well-informed to be so shallow); along with a sizeable populace who are being P.C. (“Obama all the way!”) while clutching their purses when a black man walks by… so, I’m not so sure if they’re actually going to vote Obama.

    It’ll be interesting to get the real numbers next week. True that the pundits don’t really know…

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