Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wise County for Whitey

The image is a county by county map showing results in the Democratic primary and margin of victory. (from Cogitamus, via Yglesias) The green is Clinton, the purple is Obama; the darker the color, the bigger the margin. Click the image to enlarge, click the links to read the analysis.

Big picture, Obama clearly won the urban counties, Clinton the rural ones. The analysis focuses on Clinton's supposed strength among hispanics. I don't have enough information to dispute this.

But what readily jumps out at me is that some of these rural counties don't have a lot of hispanic voters. What they do have, however, is a lot of rural white folks who will vote for a Democrat, but will not - ever - vote for a black candidate. I know a good sampling of this type of person. And while, by and large, they are not overt hateful bigots, they have just simply not evolved to the point where they are comfortable with a black person in a position of power.

I know, I know. Fuck their comfort level, they are assholes. But: just as I feel pity for a ghetto youth who drops out of school and turns to crime because he grows up in poor and violent circumstances with no one to teach him right from wrong, I feel sorry for backwards rural people who are prejudiced due, at least in part, to their upbringing and other externalities.

We have a ways to go.


Anonymous said...

You might be surprised at just how many hispanic voters there are in those rural counties...including Wise County.

I disagree with you about most rural white folks. I don't think they're afraid of a black man, I think they're afraid of Obama or white. No significant experience, no accomplishments, and he wants to bail out of Iraq immediately...

I don't fear him because he's black, I fear him because I believe my family may suffer if he is President.

You may find many of your answers here:

Gorilla said...

I'm from Wise County and I love Whitey Ford.

HHL said...

Yeah, I've read that article. It is clever, but really proves nothing in the context I was discussing in the post.

Because look: the Democratic primary was a contest between Obama and Clinton. These two candidates have the exact same positions on pretty much every issue discussed in that article. The fact that Wise County voters chose Clinton at a ratio of 4:1 has nothing to do with Obama's position on Iraq. It also, surely, was not affected by Clinton's superior "experience". Traipsing around the world as Bill's first lady does not constitute experience in governing.

In short, unless you can come up with some better evidence of why so many more of these voters chose Clinton over Obama (which I'm willing to listen to, of course), I stand by my theory.

(and yeah, Whitey Ford was great, but if I want someone on the mound for one game, give me Bob Gibson.)

Denney Crane said...

First, Wise County has more hispanic voters than you may know. Next, how do you know it has nothing to do with his policies on Iraq?

You say the article is not in context with what you were discussing in the post. I beg to infer that Wise County voters are racist...this article tells you about Wise County voters and differs from your inference. We don't want your pity, we just want they government to stop taxing and trying to control our lives.

If you want to call my friends and neighbors racist, that's your right...but it doesn't make you right! We may not be as smart as you or have your exceptional insight, but we're not racist.

That's my theory, but I'm no expert. I do listen to experts daily... not mainstream media... not Democrat or Republican strategists...experts...

I don't know why I wasting time writing this...

HHL said...

Denney, correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that you wouldn't be one of the Democratic primary voters of whom I was writing.

But I think what is being missed here is that, while there are plenty of people who see Iraq as being a major issue in determining who should be the next president, this is not a point of distinction between Clinton and Obama. Their positions on Iraq are nearly identical. Therefore, Iraq cannot explain why Democratic primary voters preferred Clinton by a 4 to 1 margin over Obama.

Similarly, there are very few substantive differences between Obama and Clinton when it comes to their stated platforms, policies, etc. Again, like Iraq, they are promoting nearly identical ideas.

So my point is, if the candidates have near-identical platforms, then there has to be some other reason to explain why 80% of WC primary voters chose Obama over Clinton. I attribute this -- partly -- to Obama's race. I could be wrong, but I've yet to see any alternate explanation that makes sense (again, given the sameness of the platforms of the two candidates, on Iraq and otherwise).

And one more point: I said nothing about intelligence. People in WC are plenty smart, as I have good reason to know. But people's perceptions of other races and cultures depend, to a large extent, upon their interactions with people of those backgrounds. And applying this specifically to blacks, my further point is that if you live in Wise County you simply do not have a lot of interaction with black people.