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Monday, January 14, 2008

Political Environment of Presidential Race Getting Polluted

A unique political environment is evolving going into the South Carolina primary that shows what can happen when race and gender are mixed with competition. Former President Bill Clinton's first black president designation is being questioned and Hillary Clinton's inadvertent crediting of Lyndon Johnson over Rev Martin Luther King for civil rights advances are clouding the skies for a clear run in the S.C. primary. And although New York's Congressional Black Caucus (all support Clinton) has stayed out of 'trouble,' another New York supporter Attorney General Andrewo Cuomo is drawing fire for saying Senator Obaman was "shucking and jiving," an offensive racial slight. And it doesn't stop there. There is even a 'black-on-black' attack of Obama. Robert Johnson is drawing heat for sneakily injecting Obama's past recreational drug use into his comments at a public event and former U.N. Ambassador and former Atlanta, Georgia Mayor Andrew Young created controversy when he stated his belief that former President Bill Clinton had bedded more black women than Barack Obama.

All of this should have been anticipated and is not unusual at all for American society. It is unique in the context of presidential races though. The race between a woman and a black man, as leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, is bringing out the normal racial dynamics that exist in the USA, even in the 21st century. Blacks typically have complaints about adequate inclusion and participation in the Democratic Party during the presidential campaign season. Usually a standard bearer, such as Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, are there to give voice to these complaints. Since Senator Obama is not playing that game, and important black votes are at stake, the political pressure cooker is starting to overheat. AAEA has maneuvered in turbulent racial waters for decades and no matter which way the boat is turned, it never goes away and is never easy to deal with in the business world. So batten down the hatches and get ready for an interesting ride because race and gender as political sport will lead to a very interesting game. And this is probably nothing compared to how race or gender will affect the general election contest because it is generally acknowledged that the GOP is more hostile to black folk and women than the Democratic Party.

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