by Unknown | 3/29/2008 12:08:00 AM
So I was watching this Green Party debate from back in January (yes, that is what I do for fun these days), and about 39:00 in I heard GP frontrunner and former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney say the following:

I'm reminded of the story that's told by Jim DiEugenio in The Assassinations about Malcolm X. On the day that Malcolm X was murdered, he received a phone call from, perhaps, FBI agents, because it was no secret that the United States government wanted him dead. He received a phone call, and that call said, "Today is the day." Now, Malcolm X could have told his wife, pack the children, we're gonna go away. But Malcolm X kept his date at the Audobon Ballroom; he told his wife, pack the children, I want them there.

The interesting part, of course, is the book McKinney references, The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcolm X, which was edited by James DiEugenio and -- yes -- my co-blogger, Lisa Pease. Congratulations to Lisa, who's the first acquaintance of mine ever to have her book mentioned by a Presidential candidate in a debate.

Via Ari Kelman, a YouTube video of the remarkable, mercurial James Baldwin, one of the great novelists of the twentieth century. Baldwin's idiosyncratic manner and searching insights on race make this well worth watching.

Great videos of presentations at the OAH from Rick Shenkman. (H/t Ralph Luker.)

What's on your mind?




Blogger PhDinHistory on 3/29/2008 11:54 AM:

I think my comment vanished. I was basically asking if Clinton was ahead in the electoral college math (because of victories in big states) while Obama was ahead in votes, states, and delegates. My other question was about the discrepancy between national polls that say McCain is ahead of Obama and Clinton and the fact that Democratic voters have outnumbered Republican voters by something two-to-one in the primaries and caucuses this year.


Blogger Unknown on 3/29/2008 12:17 PM:

Hmm. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by the electoral college math -- just because one or the other of the candidates wins a state in the primary is not, to my mind, any indication whatsoever that they will win it in the general (Obama won Idaho by 3-1, for instance, but probably won't win it in the general). As for the general election numbers, I think you're seeing an anomaly based on the fact that the Wright controversy has driven down the favorability numbers of both the Democratic candidates, while McCain has been left largely alone. I fully expect Obama to make up that distance quickly, though he'll need a couple of months to do so (and I hope he's the nominee by the middle of May).


Blogger PhDinHistory on 3/29/2008 3:54 PM:

I was wondering how accurate the new electoral college math argument was. Here is a news article I just found that looks at it.

How accurate are the national polls anyway? The young voters supporting Obama have cell phones, not land lines.


Blogger Unknown on 3/29/2008 4:55 PM:

In my opinion, it's a BS argument and always has been. How a candidate does among members of his or her own party is not in any way indicative of how he or she will do among the general public. Your point about Obama's young people with cell phones is a good one too, as is the fact that Obama has registered new young voters at an astonishing rate and will likely continue to do so over the next eight months.

A far better measure of general election strength, in my view, is SUSA's fifty-state matchups with both Clinton and Obama. Keep in mind these are pre-Wright and nearly a month old, but still fascinating. My take on them is that Clinton does slightly better in traditional swing states, while Obama is able to open up the map in emerging purple areas like the West and Southwest, while doing well enough in the South to help some downticket races.


Blogger PhDinHistory on 3/29/2008 5:38 PM:

The SUSA poll data looks really good. Still, I wonder if anyone has taken it to the next level and tried to predict turnout rates. We already know, from Texas, that black voters have historically turned out in higher percentages than Hispanic voters. I know from my own study of Albuquerque that non-Hispanic whites live in high voter turnout precincts and American Indians live in low voter turnout precincts. How else does the data break down and how should this impact the DNC's 50-state strategy?


Blogger Unknown on 3/29/2008 6:52 PM:

I'm not sure what you're asking is predictable this cycle if Obama is the nominee. His ability to find, register, and turn out new voters from the African-American and youth sectors is likely to blow away all predictions of that type. For that matter, Clinton does the same thing with white boomer women.

As far as the 50-state strategy, Obama is the better choice because he can create Democratic turnout in states like Wyoming and Nebraska that may help us pick up Congressional seats there. The same is true in the deep South. His slight weakness in Midwestern swing states shouldn't be a problem, since we captured Governorships in most of those states last cycle and should have ground forces that can more than compensate for the top of the ticket.

I'll also note that there's a slight possibility for some weird stuff in the deep South with an Obama nomination. Obama is only 13 points down in Georgia and 14 in Alabama. If the Libertarians nominate Bob Barr (GA), and the Constitution Party nominates Roy Moore (AL), Obama might actually be able to put one or both of those states in play. Of course, that would trickle down to the Congressional races as well.


Blogger Lisa Pease on 3/29/2008 10:29 PM:

Thanks, Jeremy. Yeah, that was pretty exciting - thanks for pointing me to that link! I shared that with Jim DiEugenio (whose name no one pronounces right, including Ms. McKinney. It's Dee-You-Gee-Nee-Oh. Ah well!)

I found this great quote in a baseball article, of all places:

We don't know who we are until we see the past.

I just loved that. It's so true, in the collective sense. That's my goal - to help us not just discover who we are through our shared past, but to choose who we want to be as we head into the future. I'm not known for biting off only what I can chew...!

Re Obama, you gotta love the latest round of polls if you're an Obama supporter, as I am.

And hey - I'm running to be a delegate to the National Convention. In California, we choose those in caucuses in each Congressional District. If any readers here are by any chance in CA 33, please come support me!