Election analysis

By | March 4, 2008

I pressed a US resident friend today….

Assuming Obama wins the nomination he reckons he’ll have no problem beating McCain unless:

1. There is a terrorist attack on American soil
2. One of McCain’s serving sons is killed
3. Bush invades Iran
4. Obama is caught with a white woman or a prostitute

We reckon the first two could be easily arranged. We presume the Iranian invasion is out of the question, but hey, you never know. We pray Obama has been behaving.

45 thoughts on “Election analysis

  1. SK

    A friend of mine who is a US citizen (and member of the democratic party) said Obama would do well until people start to think about the idea of having a black first family. She doesn’t think the US is ready for that.

  2. Rob Hickey

    SK is right – America will not elect a black president. There will be enough people who, once inside the voting booth, will suddenly get all conservative.

    Nor will they elect Clinton (if she somehow gets nominated) – the hatred of her is too strong in some camps and enough people who have not made their minds up yet, will be swayed by McCain as he looks the more “traditional” option, i.e. white old man.

  3. Pete

    >Obama is caught with a white woman

    “Sure, he can be the most powerful person on earth, run the worlds biggest economy, control the worlds most powerful army, order our sons to their deaths in pointless wars all over the world, as long as he keeps his hands off our women”.

    Nah. If they can’t cope with interracial sex, they’re not going to elect a black president.

    I wonder what would happen if McCain was caught with a black woman?

  4. Pete

    Although, if all the black voters in the US, many of whom have never voted, could be mobilised to vote for Obama, would there be enough of them to vote him in, even with no white support?

  5. Sarah Post author

    oooh McCain with a black woman.. now THAT would be an October surprise.

    I think McCain is looking older and older. He ain’t no Reagan.

  6. SK

    Pete, the black or “African-American” proportion of the US population is only 12.4%. It would fall a long way short.

  7. Richard Delevan

    White American voters won’t ever go into the booth and pull a lever for a black man? Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas, Idaho, Washington state, etc. beg to differ. Where have you people been for the past two months, under a rock? sheesh.

  8. SK

    People will, but there still is an undercurrent of racism, or just discomfort with the idea of having someone other than a WASP in the white house.

    The voters to date have been a subsection of politically involved and aware people. Not representative of those that will be out in November. And even with this group pundits are seeing the Bradley Effect – whereby voters they tell pollsters they will vote for a black man, but in the privacy of the election booth they decide otherwise.


  9. Tomaltach

    The racial question has altered dramatically in the US since the last serious presidential candidate broke through and made an impressive run (Jackson won 7 or 9 primarys). There is no question that race is still problematic in some areas and among some groups of whites. But much of divide in the quality of life between blacks and whites is no longer explained primarily by racism – institutional or otherwise. Once a particular community finds itself stuck in the vicious circle of deprivation, it is hard to break out, regardless of the original cause. In this case, clearly, a brutal form of racism was the cause. But that is not true today.

    Obama campaigns in a very different environment to the one of his youth. Today blacks are accepted everywhere – in sport, as tv presenters, in the profressions, in academia, in film, in politics, even in the highest ranks of the administration (think Colin Powell and Condi Rice). Note, I said ‘accepted’ – meaning generally accepted and possible to get there. I did not say ‘proportionally represented’.

    Making it to the White House would be the ultimate acceptance. And it will be interesting to see how the campaign goes if Obama wins the nomination.

  10. Rob Hickey

    Richard – Democrats voting for a Democrat candidate make up a small proportion of “white American voters”.

    Anyway, theres a massive difference between voting for the Democrat candidate and voting to elect the actual President who you’re stuck with for 4 years.

    I can’t see enough people voting for him, but I hope I can be proved wrong.

  11. Tomaltach

    About the undercurrent of racism and reluctance to elect an non-WASP. I would agree to an extent. The pattern so far would back up the WASP statement. But you have to be careful too. There is a difference between saying that ‘only a WASP can get elected’ and ‘the nation at large would only accept a WASP’. Hitherto, the nation’s elite has been primarily WASPs. There is, and has been, very little chance, for example, of a native American being elected. Not necessarily because the nation would reject such a candidate, but because a strong candidate from that background is so much less likely to ever be in a position to run. The elite, indeed the entire body politic, in any country has a tendency to self preserve. If you think of the existing elite as a family – the power stays within the family. Too often, voters don’t get the chance to vote for a candidate from outside the elite.

  12. Sarah Post author

    Texas will tell a lot. If the hispanics there can vote for a black man, then there has been a real breakthrough.

  13. Graham

    Just back from NY and spoke to a lot of friends there about the election (all of them US citizens) and who they think will get the nomination and who will get elected. I have to say I was surprised that so many of them feel that Obama won’t get elected if he gets the nomination. Their reasoning was that there’s still too much of an issue about race for most Americans, including democrats, to elect a black president.

    I’d really like to think that Obama will get the nomination and get elected, but the country is really starting to feel the pinch from their economic crisis and I fear the electorate will want someone with more experience than Obama to get them out of the mess they’re in.

  14. Tomaltach

    I think it’s too early to call the US economic downturn a crisis. There are certainly some real problems but I think ‘crisis’ is too strong.

    Regarding experience. Yes, point well taken. Here, Hillary wins hands down – she has been in the White House before and knows only too well the challenge faced by the executive when attempting to get a project through the legislature.

    But that doesn’t mean that the other two candidates would be incapable of solving some of America’s big problems. If they have good judgement and courage they are half way there. Then they need to know how best to work with congress to win over enough support for their program: probably the biggest challenge politically. The economic problems are not hard to identify. That is not to say easy to solve. A good team of economic advisors and the balls to take tough decisions is the starting point.

  15. Sarah Post author

    Well don’t forget, Matt Santos was elected in The West Wing, and his character was based on Obama. (but they substituted black for hispanic). AND his rival in the general election was Alan Alda – the aging nice conservative who tried to distance himself from the Republican/Evangelist wing.

    Life shall imitate art perhaps?

  16. Daniel K.

    Sarah, the Santos character was in part based on Obama post the 2004 Dem Convention!

    I think the bigger twist in this cycle would be on the other side if McCain were to have another outbreak of cancer between now and the Republican Convention. I would prefer not to see that happen but we can’t be blind to the possibility.

  17. SK

    A new meaning for the term “Stroke politics” then so :-)

  18. Daniel K.

    Apologies Sarah, the first part of my comment isn’t relevant in that you were correct, I’d simply misread what you’d said.

  19. Zara

    Bill Clinton could hardly be deemed a WASP. Not to mention JFK.

  20. Tom N

    Some US relations made a terribly funny yet racist remark a few years back, late 80s as I was still in primary school. If you wish to remove it, that’s fine. My brother and I contended that the US was a wonderful melting pot. The grandmother turned to us and said “Oh kids, it’s not like the Cosby show!”.

    It wasn’t until years later that I realised how racist that was. But in one way it summarises how many white Americans feel about black Americans.

  21. Brianf

    Hi Sarah,
    I found your site from Kathy Foleys site.
    I am an American who has been a registered Deomcrat my entire life.
    I personally think Barak Hussein Obama has a much better chance of winning the election than Mrs. Bill Clinton. The people of the US hae had too much of the Clintonistas and even the everyday person on the street know how underhanded and dishonest they are.
    McCain is about as far from a conservative as one can get without actually being a far left liberal.
    You see in my opinion our choices have come down to a socialist (Obama) and a populist (McCain). Either way we are pretty screwed.
    The only one with any real ideas that make any sense is Ron Paul of Texas. Unfortunately for us he doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of getting a nomination.

  22. An Spailpín Fánach

    Andrew, you posted a link that’s titled “why people Americans are stupid,” and then go on to agree with the proposition.

    Would you post wondering why the Irish are stupid?

    Why blacks are stupid?

    Why Asians are stupid?

    Do you think it’d be hard for me to go out into Dublin and lunchtime today an find people that can’t answer my questions? Do you then think I’m justified in posting the resulting footage on You Tube and calling it “Why Irish people are stupid”?

    What about black Americans? Are they stupid too? Do you think Barrack Obama is stupid?

    The level of anti-Americanism in this country is shameful. This is more of it.

  23. Roisin

    I’m with Spailpin Fanach on this one.
    Furthermore, I read your starter post Sarah and nearly threw up. There’s being hardboiled political blogger and then there’s facile flippancy. Who was your US resident friend? Michael Moore?

  24. Tomaltach

    I have to say that I cannot understand the clear rise in anti-American sentiment in Ireland in recent years. I can imagine a response to this being: “Bush”. But why make the equivalence between an entire nation and the leaders they elect. (ignoring the fact that about 50% of Americans vote, and Bush won narrowly, so perhaps 75% of people didn’t vote for him anyway). Would we like to be judged on the likes of Haughey? Do we judge other nations on the leaders they elect?

    It cannot all be down to Bush. What is it then? We are certainly not repulsed by most aspects of American culture: we consume it by the ton. Sitcoms, music, literature, fashion, cinema. We love it all. Moreover, we not only love their cultural exports, we love their money too: Intel, Analgoe, IBM, etc etc.
    But how could we not love these things: for they are without equal.

    No, I am sinularly baffled by the rise in anti-American sentiment.

  25. Andrew Lawlor

    Firstly, the clip is titled ‘Why people think Americans are stupid,’ not “why people Americans are stupid.” The clip demonstrates quite clearly why some people would think that all Americans are stupid.
    I think that if people are going to vote for ‘the leader of the free world’ they have a duty to inform themselve a little about that world and about the people they intend voting for. One guy on the clip says of George Bush ‘If he says it, it must be right.’
    This has nothing to do with race, although to answer your question, some black Americans are undoubtedly stupid. Some of them incredibly so. Some Chinese Americans are, most likely, thicker than my grandma’s gravy.

    In my experience there are an incredible amount of unbelievably stupid people in Ireland. I used to drive a taxi so I feel like I have met most of them.

    ‘ Do you think it’d be hard for me to go out into Dublin and lunchtime today an find people that can’t answer my questions? Do you then think I’m justified in posting the resulting footage on You Tube and calling it “Why Irish people are stupid”?’

    This, obviously, should read ‘…find people what can’t answer my question?’

    I’m not sure that one needs justification for having a sense of humour. The Youtube clip is funny. It might not be funny to you but the diversity of what amuses us is all part of the great mix of civilisation. Stupid people are also part of that mix and are very useful when the less uptight among us want to laugh at someone.

  26. Sarah Post author

    It is Bush. He and his policies, so enthusiastically endorsed by his cronies make America look stupid. People stand back and go “Once was bad enough, but they elected him twice? These people do not give a shit about the rest of the world and are so dense they can’t see that they are destroying their own country – environmentally, financially and now defensively.”

    Of course, then we have to remember all those east and west coast blue states and the fact that about half the people didn’t vote for him. So keep the faith. There are plenty of good Americans and things will change. They HAVE to.

  27. An Spailpín Fánach

    The States voted for Bush because they didn’t want to elect Kerry. Same reason that Bertie was elected here despite is peculiar financial affairs; the alternative, in the view of the electorate, was worse.

    Andrew, you must forgive me. I must have been half-asleep when I posted two such howlers.

    Maybe when you wake up yourself you can return the “n” to my name. :)

    God bless.

  28. Tomaltach

    If we, meaning the Irish in general, equate the American people with the Bush regime, then it is we who are stupid. As you concede, about half of the people didn’t vote for him. Make that three quarters, since almost half never vote.

    Blair policy in Iraq was also disastrous. Disastrous for Britains relationship with Europe (it buried his own plan to bring Britain to the heart of Europe). How much is it now costing the British taxpayer? Meanwhile they are losing Afghanistan and Britain’s ability to repair its reputation in the middle East (after its foray into that region as an Empire) has been massively set back. But Tony Blair was elected in Britain THREE times. Furthermore, the UK parliament backed the war. Does that make Britain look stupid? Answer: NO. Because such an equation cannot be made.

    Arguably we squandered our economic boom. Certainly it was badly managed. We elected FF THREE times during the boom. Does that make us stupid? If so, why more so than Americans? Because their blunder was bigger? Surely such a simplistic distillation of the complex relationships in democracy is facile.

    Personally, I think there are other dimensions to our anti-Americanism. We fail to understand America. (yes they don’t understand us either). The US is the world’s economic and cultural giant and subconciously we hate part of ourselves for loving it. How can we love so much that which we profess to loathe? The other thing is that we are conceited and pious in some matters such as the environment: we recycle our bottles and talk about carbon footprint. But very few nations have grown their carbon footprint as rapidly as we have over the last decade. Yet we consider America as some how the evil sinner in environment. The thing I noticed on my last trip to California a few weeks ago was how much more similar our vehicles in Ireland are now to those in the US than they were 15 years ago. We are converging on them fast. But they are always the bad guys!

    America’s invasion of Iraq was wrong. But so were their operations in Central and south America all throughout the cold war. But we held our tongues. They kept their missiles pointed in the right direction.

    So I don’t buy the Bush explanation. I think his regime was the spark for this wave of anti-Americanism. But it was set down beside the powder keg of dislike which was always there and has deeper roots.

  29. Roisin

    Oh, so just half Americans are stupid and not only are they stupid, they are, according to you ‘bad Americans’. Do you check that your money is coming from the ‘good’ and ‘intelligent’ ones?

  30. Sarah Post author

    On lightening up, hear hear.

    On Americans..I dunno. We love their television, their food and many aspects of their culture (including their accent judging by its popularity amongst younger generations. We love their country to tour and admire. We love shopping here. We love the technology they invent. We buy, use and devour their products. As political junkies we also love their political system :- There is much that we love about America. Maybe we just don’t like their government? The foreign invasions, the ignorance of global warming, their failure to control guns, their disastrous war on drugs.

    So I’m arguing that we don’t suffer from Anti Americanism. We actually adore America. Judging by the rate at which we emigrated here and now tour here. But we do reserve the right to despair of their policies which affect the rest of the world so negatively.

    And invading Iraq was stupid. Blair was a fool. Its indefensible. So let’s not go there and waste time.

  31. Tom N

    “There is much that we love about America. Maybe we just don’t like their government? The foreign invasions, the ignorance of global warming, their failure to control guns, their disastrous war on drugs.”

    Same about Ireland: Tolerated terrorists for too long, ignorance of social planning (M50, need I say more), failure to control anti-social behaviour, disasterous attitude towards personal resonsibilty in areas of road use, sexual health, voted in same govt three times in spite of health service failures……

    I have no problem criticising people (I quite enjoy it), but we should criticise where we ourselves are not guilty of the same.

  32. Sarah Post author

    But we do! Most of this site is dedicated to criticising Ireland and our government and administration.

  33. Tom N

    Fair point…but do we criticise all Irish?

  34. Gordon Davies

    More worrying than any anti-Americanism is the rampant idolatry of all things American. Sarah apparently has a mild dose. Time for a rant.

    I do not share the widspread admiration for the American way of life. Their food is so good that there is an epidemic of obesity. A thousand flavours and only one taste. The television is so awful that the only series that we can bear to watch here are broadcast in the States on obscure channels only available to some cable subscribers. Their health system is an abomination and their education system a failure, despite the excellent facilities available to a moneyed elite. The American way of life, publicised world wide by an un-ending stream of media hype would, if adopted by the rest of humanity, ensure massive damage to our planet. The electoral system means that elected representatives come to office endebted to corporate interests, and then spend more time obsess ing about thier re-election than a FF back-bencher.

    Personally, I have no wish to spend my valuable leisure time touring the States. Unless it is to experience at first hand a society that took a wrong turning many years ago. America, a terrible warning…


    My only concession – I do buy clothes from a US website, because Irish suppliers only sell clothes for dwarves! Of, course, all the clothes are made in India or China.


  35. Sarah Post author

    :-) i can buy into that :-)

    I suppose I had a dose of the guilts 😉

  36. update99

    Can anybody please explain to me why it is that despite being a mixed race person born of a black father and a white women Obama is somehow BLACK?

    I mean all the preoccupation withn skin color really annoys me and seems only to confirm my worst fears about race issues. Surely the race or gender of a person should not matter in the slightest.

    If Obama was in an African state and seeeking election to become a president would we be all saying how great it was to see the first White president?

    It really bugs me as the guy definitely had a White mother and Black father yet he is always Black. Lke wouldnt it be more healthy if nobody gave a crap about his skin color? All this does nothing good for race relations.

  37. Daniel K.

    update 99, I think Public Enemy on a nation of millions dealt succinctly with that one

    black man, black woman – black baby
    white man, black woman – black baby
    black man, white woman – black baby
    white man, white woman – white baby

  38. Joseph

    “update 99, I think Public Enemy on a nation of millions dealt succinctly with that one

    black man, black woman – black baby
    white man, black woman – black baby
    black man, white woman – black baby
    white man, white woman – white baby”


    If that were true then would it not suggest that “interracial relationships -producing kids” carried on to a conclusion can only lead to the elimination of “white” people so therefore it might be prudent to avoid such relationships or otherwise be open to the charge of racial suicide?

    I am not proposing this but rather curious to see peoples views on it?

    The point about Obama being a mixed race “colored” person is a good one and it is a bit disturbing the way he has just been tagged and the fact that about 90 percent of “African Americans” vote on what would appear to be blatantly racial lines and nobody finds that disturbing. Given that the “black” population is only 12 percent I don’t think their view broadly reflect too much of America anyway, but they are hugely important as a swing vote.


    I reckon McCain will win now as the democrats will blow it! Fallout from a butter and divisive nomination endgame will result in disaster for them.

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