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Clinton the wrecker! Race card dealt

The Card Clinton Is Playing

By Eugene Robinson 
The Washington Post

Friday, May 9, 2008; Page A27

From the beginning, Hillary Clinton has campaigned as if the Democratic nomination were hers by divine right. That’s why she is falling short — and that’s why she should be persuaded to quit now, rather than later, before her majestic sense of entitlement splits the party along racial lines.

If that sounds harsh, look at the argument she made Wednesday, in an interview with USA Today, as to why she should be the nominee instead of Barack Obama. She cited an Associated Press article “that found how Senator Obama’s support . . . among working, hardworking Americans, white Americans, is weakening again. I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on.”

As a statement of fact, that’s debatable at best. As a rationale for why Democratic Party superdelegates should pick her over Obama, it’s a slap in the face to the party’s most loyal constituency — African Americans — and a repudiation of principles the party claims to stand for. Here’s what she’s really saying to party leaders: There’s no way that white people are going to vote for the black guy. Come November, you’ll be sorry.

How silly of me. I thought the Democratic Party believed in a colorblind America.

In private conversations last year, several of Clinton’s high-profile African American supporters made that same argument to me — that America wasn’t “ready” for a black president, that this simple fact doomed Obama to failure, that a Clinton Restoration was the best result that African Americans could realistically hope for. Polls at the time showed Clinton leading Obama among black voters, a finding that reflected not only Clinton’s greater name recognition but also considerable skepticism about a black candidate’s ability to draw white support.

Obama did prove he could win support from whites, of course, beginning in Iowa. He and Clinton effectively divided the party into demographic constituencies. Among the groups that have tended to vote for Clinton are white voters making less than $50,000 a year; among those who have turned out to vote for Obama are African Americans, whose doubts about his prospects clearly have been allayed.

Assuming that Obama is the eventual nominee, he will have some work to do in reuniting the party. But there’s no reason to think he won’t succeed — unless Clinton drives a wedge between important elements of the party’s historical coalition.  Link to complete Washington Post story>>>

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