Third Party & Independents Archives

Is Race or Sexual preference still a campaign factor?

When I first started reading about the concern that black voters in Ohio would select Ken Blackwell based on his race first his politics second; I didn’t believe it. In my little corner of suburbia, I can’t fathom basing my decision on who I would vote for based on race, sex or sexual preference.

I can't imagine my husband basing his vote on a candidate being hispanic as the primary support factor. As this campaign progresses, more and more is being written on this topic; I debated how do I address something that I don't understand. It is not my intention to write something that will insult black voters and I'm not sure if writing this will bring about any clarity. I've seen here in Ohio sexual preference of other candidates being made an issue, either to attempt to "out" candidates that very well could not even be gay or to make an issue of a few that are that they are to be blunt not focusing on supporting what they see as gay issues. I am focusing on Ohio but in other places in the United States race or sexual preference is being used in the same manner. That said, back in June , I highlighted an article written by Jack Ford on my local blog. To read that article in full now you would need to use the archived pdf version, it contained a warning given by the former Mayor:

Warning to Ohio Democrats: blacks are the most conservative folks in the world. Poll after poll shows 62 percent or better are against abortions and are for the bans on gay marriage. Blacks tend to vote race first, then party. Blackwell will get his share of black votes. Will Strickland? And will Strickland unveil a truly transformative urban policy?
Then yesterday I read a guest column written by Brent Grey, a candidate for State Representative, over at the Cincinnati Beacon; where Brent relates concern over advertising focused on black radio stations urging voters to make Ken Blackwell the first African American Governor in Ohio. Mr. Grey then relates a conversation with a black voter:
Following the primary, I engaged a prospective voter in conversation and asked the question; “Who do you like for Governor and why?” “I’m going to vote for Blackwell because he represents the Black man,” he said. It became apparent to me that he wasn’t aware that Mr. Blackwell opposes affirmative action but supports educational slots for legacies. He wasn’t aware that Mr. Blackwell does not support an increase in the minimum wage and calls the constitutional initiative an ill-conceived idea. He wasn’t aware that Mr. Blackwell as co-chair of President Bush’s re-election campaign desecrated his position as Secretary of State by disenfranchising voters in highly populated Black/Democratic precincts across the state during the 2004 election. This blatant act of suppression should have warranted his award of a complimentary imperial grand wizard hood and robe.

A few days ago the Cleveland Plain Dealer Open Political Blog highlighted campaign literature that the Ken Blackwell campaign was distributing in a predominately black area of Cleveland. According to the Blackwell campaign, it was meant to be “humorous and informative.” It suggests with the way the picture is done that black voters should be afraid of Ted Strickland.

I can't help but wonder will this work? Will fear be the factor or will it be trying to promote the pride aspect of electing Ken Blackwell merely on his race or will my original premise be correct, that voters will not base their vote on race or sex or sexual preference but on which candidate they feel will be better for all. I realize there are readers of this blog that will vote for Blackwell and I realize that minority voters have been used and pandered too by Democrats in the past as well. I thought that by now we had gotten to the point where it was not the color of the skin of the candidate that mattered, it was not if they were male or female, it mattered not if they were gay or hertosexual...what mattered was their vision, their experience and most of all what they would do for all of their constituents not a selected group. How many more campaigns not only here in Ohio but in our nation will be based on fear? How many times will we vote against someone rather than voting for someone because the message voters have believed is "don't look at me, fear this". As I remove my rose colored glasses, I'm not sure I like what I see...

Posted by Lisa Renee Ward at July 22, 2006 12:24 PM
Comment #169761

And you want to know the funniest thing about all of this that is not mentioned?

Granted Blackwell will likely get more of the black vote because of his race.

However in this kind of race, a black Republican versus a white Democrat, it has happened time and time again that while the black Republican gets more votes from the black community because of his or her race the white Democrat gets more votes from white Republicans than he or she would usually get because of his or her race.

So what have we learned?
Race still affects the minds of many people.
It will likely result in a black Republican recieving more votes from blacks because of his race. And it will likely result in a white Democrat getting more votes from white Republicans because of his race.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at July 22, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #169763

Richard, I haven’t heard that expressed but I have to agree if race is going to be a motivating factor there will be some whites who would never vote for a black.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at July 22, 2006 2:41 PM
Comment #169789

Race is declining as an issue. White majority voting districts have elected blacks. Black majority districts elect whites less often, but that is changing. If race where the only issue, this would never happen.

The problem with race is not the actual physical aspect but the emphasis. There are some black politicans and there are politicians who happen to be black. Not the same. Barack Obama or DC majoy Anthony Williams are politicans who happen to be black. They are popular with white voters too. Williams is relatively MORE popular with whites. People like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson are black politicans. They make a race based appeal and get few non racial votes.

Blackwell is a politicans who happens to be black, not a black politican. He will draw in some black votes (as you say) but most of his strenght will come from white voters.

There are still racists out there. They come in all colors. But each year they are less important.

Posted by: Jack at July 22, 2006 5:09 PM
Comment #169832

Lisa, I haven’t researched the area for a couple decades, but, I would venture that the results are still largely applicable. Voters vote for the candidate they identify with more readily, all other things being equal.

Does race and sex matter? You bet. In a state of ignorance about the candidates actual records or voting patterns, as many as 75 million votes are cast based on the Public Relations firms representations of the candidates and identifiable characteristics which voters can identify with.

Patterns of human discrimination in choice don’t evolve. Education and information levels are what affect choices, the innate wiring of humans that facilitates their grouping by kind, blood, and commonality does not change. Education and information does change.

If given a choice of choosing a lifelong friend who would be a man or a woman, before knowing them, most men would choose a man, most women would choose a woman. Birds of a feather flock together. It’s an innate survival mechanism which underlies decision making, and can be overridden by education and information that allows for further discrimination of choice, based on that education and information.

Not surprisingly, most PR campaigns will make subtle use of that fact regarding human behavior. We think we are masters of our fate, but, the truth is, we are all responding selectively to a barrage of input and selection criteria some, to much, of which we are not even consciously aware of.

You watch, Democrat ads for Congressional races will contain more images of G.W. Bush in them to associate it with their Republican challenger than any other image. What has G.W. Bush’s face got to do with a Congressional Republican’s platform issues, record, or ability in Congress? Nothing. It will be an ad that appeals to the subconscious, not the rational mind. It is why the PR firms get the 100’s of millions of dollars each election cycle. Incumbents know well that 94% of the time, the big bucks paid PR firms are worth every penny.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 22, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #169840
In my little corner of suburbia,

You really need to get out more often…

I can’t fathom basing my decision on who I would vote for based on race, sex or sexual preference.
Hmmm, me either.

On the other hand, when was the last time you heard of a known homosexual Republican being elected? For that matter when was the last time you heard of a known homosexual Republican who ran for election to any office? The majority of Republican voters believe homosexuals deserve no rights whatsoever, not even the right to private behavior between two consenting adults.

Posted by: Crazy_Joe_Divola at July 22, 2006 9:40 PM
Comment #169844


What has G.W. Bush’s face got to do with a Congressional Republican’s platform issues, record, or ability in Congress?

A heckuvalot, actually. Speaking of Republican congressional representatives from my state (MO) specifically, and most Republican congressional representatives in general, they have served as nothing more than rubber-stampers for the Bush far-right agenda. Consequently, and rightly so, Jim Talent from our state is in a political fight for his life for the very reason that he has blindly supported everything Bush has initiated from day one. Unless Talent is willing to admit having done so erroneously, he should have no fear of or compunction to being associated with Bush in McCaskill’s advertising. There are very few Republican candidates (Specter and McCain briefly come to mind) who have any right to object to being associated with Bush in political advertising. The message is, if you don’t like the way things have turned out under Bush, don’t re-elect the very people who’ve enabled it to happen.

Posted by: Crazy_Joe_Divola at July 22, 2006 9:49 PM
Comment #169855

Crazy_Joe_Divola said: “The message is, if you don’t like the way things have turned out under Bush, don’t re-elect the very people who’ve enabled it to happen.”

The problem with this chain of logic is people fail to recognize the enormous number of Democrats who helped Bush do everything he has done. For example Senator Russell Feingold was the only Senator to vote against the PATRIOT ACT, every single other Democrat voted for it. Also many Democrats, particularly in the Senate, voted for the Iraq war.

P.S: great Seinfeld reference man

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at July 22, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #169858
The problem with this chain of logic is people fail to recognize the enormous number of Democrats who helped Bush do everything he has done. For example Senator Russell Feingold was the only Senator to vote against the PATRIOT ACT, every single other Democrat voted for it. Also many Democrats, particularly in the Senate, voted for the Iraq war.

Well, for those Dems who voted for the Iraq war and the PATRIOT act, I would expect their opponents to highlight these errors in their political ads; what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The difference is, to my way of thinking, the Dems who voted for the war and the PATRIOT act were convinced it was the right thing to do. Jim Talent, on the other hand, has never voted any other way except in support of the Bush agenda. Same goes for Kit Bond.

Posted by: Crazy_Joe_Divola at July 22, 2006 10:21 PM
Comment #169860

I know someone who bases their vote for President on the hairstyle of the First Lady or the potential First Lady. Honest. Of course race, sex, religion and many other things, some extremely superficial, matter to a lot of people.

Posted by: mark at July 22, 2006 10:29 PM
Comment #169865

Crazy Joe, I’m assuming you have heard of Log Cabin Republicans and I do know locally several Republicans that are gay that have ran for office served in office or work for the Local Republican Party. I doubt Toledo is the only place that has gay Republicans.

However if you’d like a name - David Catania is openly Gay and was a Republican until he decided to become an Independent in 2004. More well known conservatives who happen to be gay are mentioned here.

There are probably more republicans and democrats who are in office that have not announced their sexual preference that could be gay. Should it really matter is one question but I think we do already know the answer to that and that’s probably why some of them do not make it known.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at July 22, 2006 11:09 PM
Comment #169883

I’m not an expert on Ohio politics and can’t say if race is a big issue up there or not. I do know though that it’s getting to be less and less of an issue here in Georgia.
It’s true tough that there are folks out there that still use race as the deciding factor when they vote. And that’s to bad. Some good candidates have been defeated and some pretty bad ones elected because of this.
My opponent in the school board race is trying draw the Black voters away from me. He thinks that most of them that are supporting me are because I have a Black brother-in-law and son-in-law. I hope that’s not the case. I want their votes only if they think I’m the best man for the job. But I’m realistic enough to know that unfortunately that’s why some are supporting me. It’s also the reason why some White voters aren’t supporting me.

Posted by: Ron Brown at July 23, 2006 1:48 AM
Comment #169887

Wow. This is incredibly ironic and hypocritical.

For decades now, liberals have insisted on the exact opposite of racial neutrality. They want the govermment involved in everything from affirmative action in college admissions to hiring quotas and budgetary set asides. Merit and qualiications— forget about it. First lets take a look at the color of your skin.

Furthermore, they haul out the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton every chance they get to play the race card, and they make racial identity a staple of their election strategy nationwide.

But then a conservative African-American runs for office?

Oh my. Here comes the 180 degree turn. Why can’t African-Americans be color-blind? Why can’t they look past skin color? At least long enough, that is, to pull the lever in the voting booth for a white liberal? After that, of course, they’d better get back on the Democratic political plantation and see everything in terms of race as spelled out for them by left-wing whites.

Posted by: M P at July 23, 2006 2:10 AM
Comment #169925

I think MP the problem comes in when any candidate uses the race card. If Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton are being used in a manner you don’t like then wouldn’t it be just as wrong for a Conservative to camapaign along those same lines? Playing up pride in electing the first African American Governor in Ohio, using fear of a white candidate in predominately black neighborhoods is where the concern is coming from. Now if you say it’s okay because the Dem’s did it first, that to me doesn’t make it right for either side. I don’t think either side should use fear as a motivating factor to scare someone into voting for a particular candidate. I’d like to believe we are beyond that but it’s obvious from what is happening that we aren’t.

Ron, all you can do is continue to campaign on what you feel is right. I’m sorry that this is also personally affecting you and I agree with you that it should be based on who will do the best job. I realize in some ways it is better than it was in the past but it appears we still have a long way to go.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at July 23, 2006 11:25 AM
Comment #169963

Lisa Renee
One of the things I considered is how my Black in-laws would effect my candidacy with both Whites and Blacks. I really don’t fine it to be an asset or a liability. There will be those that will vote for or against me because of them. That’s their problem not mine.
Another thing I figured out right away is ya better be thick skinned when you enter the political arena. Luckily I am. I’m just viewing my opponents latest move as just another political ploy. I think he’s running scared. He’s never been opposed before and he doesn’t know how to handle it. So he’s trying to bring up race to get to both the Black voters and the White voters.
I’m not going to change anything I’m doing. I’m letting his record speak for itself. And running against it.
I still wish he’d agree to a debate. Don’t know if he’s scared of some tough questions or what.
I do know the voters have asked me some pretty tough ones. And I’m glad. Keeps me on my toes.

Posted by: Ron Brown at July 23, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #170194

Race is an issue, at least with stem cells.
At Bush’s Veto Show there were those Snowflake babies.
It was a friggin’ miracle that every baby was the SMAE RACE as the parents.
I guess that is just a coincidence.

Posted by: Joe at July 24, 2006 10:13 AM
Comment #170357

Race and Sex (and religion) will be issues as long as groups that fall into those lines feel out of power.

There are some women who would vote for a woman governor or president because they believe any woman would have more of their perspective on issues than a man and they want to see a woman rise to that level.

Likewise, there are some people of various races that would feel that someone of their own racial ethnicity would be the only person that could identify with what it’s like to be them. African Americans are arguably the most discriminated against in American society - ANY Arfican American candidate can identify with their struggles.

This is how Bush got into power and stayed in power - he identified a minority group, the religious right / evangelicals, whom he could get out to vote and sway elections. It doesn’t even matter that Bush’s policies screw over most of these poor people by sending them to war to get killed, cutting programs that help them, opening a huge amount of debt in their name, etc, the fact that he identifies himself as a religious candidate and will talk the talk on issues that he knows won’t be changed is enough to win the elections.

Is a Democracy is great form of government? No! The best choice of a leader or representative often can’t even get themselves on to a ballot - money, charisma, lack of positions on issues, and other irrelevant factors play a huge role in getting elected. That being said, Democracy so far is least worst form of government if you value freedom.

Life isn’t fair, we aren’t all born with equal abilities, santa isn’t real - get over it. :)

The important question about this issue is whether the race, sex, or religion of a candidate is enough to get them elected.

Posted by: Redlenses at July 24, 2006 9:20 PM
Comment #170436

Redlenses, not to be difficult but given the numbers of women in office? I’d suggest that those who vote only for women are in a small minority else there would be many many more women serving as elected officials.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at July 25, 2006 1:34 AM
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