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The Making of a Minority President - Essay Example

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The presidential primaries of 2008 will be historical for the diversity of age, race, ethnicity, religion, and gender available to the American voter. The Democrats have almost cleared the slate of the average white male and have offered a Black, a Hispanic, and a woman as serious contenders…
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The Making of a Minority President
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Download file to see previous pages John Edwards is the only Democratic white male that has a realistic opportunity of getting the nomination. The coming primary is a storm of historic proportions looming on the electoral landscape that could become a world-changing event. Democrats will have to decide whether to run for high ground, seek shelter, or weather the storm and face the adverse winds of political change.
In many ways the events and polls leading up to the Democratic primaries have been a study in contradiction. In a Gallup Poll in the summer of 2007, Blacks selected Clinton as more favorable than Barak Obama. Hispanics favored Clinton ahead of the Latino Richardson. However, white voters see her as a liability and give her an unfavorable rating (Jones). While she leads in the national polling among all voters, nearly one-third of those polled said they would be less likely to vote for her because of her gender (Seelye and Sussman). Clinton's race and gender have been no friend to her in the polls and much of her support comes from Black and Hispanic males. Governor Bill Richardson is probably the most qualified candidate to deal with the benchmark issues of foreign policy, energy, and immigration ("The Man from New Mexico"). Yet, he is like an undiscovered treasure at a yard sale. He is unnoticed, unappreciated, and his low price tag offers no hint to the value contained within. Despite the high profile positions that he has held with state and federal administrations, he is one of the least recognizable candidates.
All these counter-intuitive poll numbers may add up to the possibility of a much stronger coalition when the candidate is selected, and a greater chance of a minority candidate winning the White House. However, the nominee will need to be careful to keep race, ethnicity, and gender out of the spotlight. The race will need to remain focused on the issues and the candidate's qualifications. Bringing attention to the minority status may uncover the prejudice and bias that lies beneath a thin veil of justice. America has had a dismal track record of minorities in presidential elections. While diversity is like a ray of hope on the landscape of equality, the light may also awaken old fears. These fears have the potential to tear holes in the coalition and leave the Democratic Party in disarray.
The biases that bubble beneath America's ideal of equality can be seen in Richardson's candidacy. He is a centrist on immigration policy and favors tough border enforcement, fines for illegal entry, mandatory English, and a strict process to citizenship (Richardson). However, the opposition may spread panic among the electorate by negative ads that promote his ties to the Hispanic community and the myth of lost jobs and depressed wages for White and Black American workers. Richardson could find himself defending a policy that is unknown to most voters. The time and money spent defending himself against these racially based charges would detract from the more important issue of Iraq where Democrats have an advantage.
It is likely that any minority candidate will be able to garner a majority of the traditional Democratic base. There are indications of much greater interest in the election among all the minority camps than in years past. Though Clinton currently is more favored than Richardson in the Hispanic comm ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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