It has become evident, as it must be to any socially conscious American who lives or has lived in one of America’s major urban areas, that Mr. Obama’s blackness is a problem, but not in the usual way. He is an attractive man who I believe is fully qualified to represent America and me before humanity’s highest authorities. Obama’s problem rather, is that his core constituency and political base is urban. The support of rural black and small town voters is almost incidental, secondary.
The traditional American political cleavage–upstate versus downstate, urban versus rural–may now be characterized, which is not to say, caricatured, as red-state/blue-state: states with a high percentage of urban voters versus states with a predominantly rural and small town mentality.
This became apparent in reviewing county polling results between Clinton and Obama in the Pennsylvania primary and should be apparent again in Indiana and probably in North Carolina.
The question, becomes then, “is America ready to elect a ‘big city’ candidate, one who is a reflection of globalization? Will we continue to ignore the world or will we take stock of our responsibilities in shaping world outcomes while remembering that we have much work to do in our own communities?
The question for Democrats then, should be which coalition has a greater chance of winning the 2008 general elections: the feminist, social-democrats or a healing coalition of urban blacks and middle class whites frustrated with the status quo?
Beyond electoral politics, the question for Americans might be, how can we redefine our attitudes and expectations to account for the reasonable expectations of America’s underclasses?
If John Kerry was not electable why would Barack Obama be any more so?