THE BLOG

Obama's "Southern Strategy" Wins the Black Belt

03/12/2008 01:39 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Mississippi, the state of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers, James Meredith and "Freedom Summer," and the killings of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman, voted overwhelmingly for the only African-American presidential candidate ever to remain competitive and, a frontrunner, at this late stage in a campaign.

Barack Obama won 90 percent of the black vote, but also 25 percent of the white vote, which is evidence that he crossed over and attracted young white upwardly mobile people who desire change. Obama's ability to win the traditional "black belt" of the South -- South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi -- while capturing a significant percentage of white voters shows that the Democrats, with a huge black turn out, might be able to win one or more states in the South. (Call it Obama's "Southern Strategy.")

Obama's win today in Mississippi puts him in a great position going into Pennsylvania, and he will have a full 6 weeks to build an organization, articulate his views, and allow Pennsylvania voters to get to know him, hopefully in "town hall" meetings in places such as Erie, Reading, Harrisburg, State College, as well as the suburbs of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Wherever Obama has had the time to get his organization up and running he has done well even under much tighter time constraints than he faces in Pennsylvania.

Although the corporate media portray the Obama-Clinton competition as a "knife fight," it is Hillary Clinton's campaign that is doing all of the slashing. The latest swipe came from Geraldine Ferraro who yesterday told a newspaper that she believes Obama would not be where he is today if he were not black. Ferraro is the latest mouthpiece of the Hillary Clinton campaign to racially profile Obama. They denigrate his accomplishments and remind voters that Obama is black, or that he has a funny name and dresses in "foreign" outfits, or he's a Christian "as far as I know." All of these are inferences, codes of racism to white ethnic voters, especially in Pennsylvania, signaling that "We're on your side -- We're thinking what you're thinking." It is an insidious racist strategy wholly consistent with Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy" of forty years ago. Obama has pulled back the curtain and exposed the Clintons for what they truly are.

Obama is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party in 2008. By virtue of his lead in the number of contests won, the popular vote, and the pledged delegates, his campaign continues to roll along to victory. In the next 10 races Clinton must win each of them by at least 64 percent (according to Chuck Todd of MSNBC). But Hillary Clinton is NOT going to win the remaining primaries by this margin. It's not going to happen. It's still over.

(Thanks, once again, to my colleague Dr. Stan Oden for his collaboration on this one.)