Apparently not satisfied with her plummeting approval ratings among black voters, Hillary Clinton decided to remind us again that our votes don’t actually count:

“I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,” she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article “that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”

“There’s a pattern emerging here,” she said.

Hard-working Americans = white Americans. Right. The rest of us sit on our porches eating watermelon and plucking banjos.

For some reason, despite this “broader base” Clinton still seems to be having trouble raising money, and you know, getting more votes than her opponent. But at this point any abstract metric besides votes or delegates that Clinton can use as a rationale for her candidacy becomes the only appropriate one to use.

This kind of comment is less a description than an agitator, it’s meant to give white voters the impression that they would be “disenfranchised” by an Obama win. It’s a not so subtle effort to evoke racial resentment over Obama’s success.

But the truth is, Clinton won’t win the white vote either, as Steve M. points out:

According to CNN’s 1996 exit poll, Bill Clinton lost the white vote (Dole 46%, Clinton 43%, Perot 9%). He lost the white male vote by an even larger margin (Dole 49%, Clinton 38%, Perot 11%). And he lost gun owners badly (Dole 51%, Clinton 38%, Perot 10%). However, Clinton won the popular vote overall

In 2000 — when Al Gore won the popular vote by half a million votes — he lost white males to Bush by a whopping 60%-36%, according to CNN’s exit poll. He lost men overall 53%-42%. He lost whites overall 54%-42%. He lost gun owners 61%-36%. He lost small-town voters 59%-38% and rural voters 59%-37%. He lost the Midwest overall 49%-48%.

I’m not saying these are goals to aspire to. I’m saying it’s a myth that Democrats had Joe Sixpack in their back pockets until that snooty arugula-eater Barack Obama came along, and it’s a myth that they suffer crushing defeats when bowlers and boilermaker-drinkers aren’t on board. 49%-41%-8%, and he won 70% of the electoral votes.

But it’s a myth that Clinton needs to perpetuate to make a case for her continued candidacy.

Obama split the male vote with Clinton in Indiana, and came within 4% of her among women, much better than he did in Ohio. Obama increased his share of voters without a college degree, and of white voters in general. He’s actually doing better than he was before. While John Judis is right that Obama needs to improve his relationship with white working class voters, Clinton is deliberately hurting his chances of doing so by saying, essentially, “Obama doesn’t care about white people.”

That’s what the “elitist” charge has always been about, appealing to the sentiment that “this black guy thinks he’s better than you.” It will be the same against the Republicans. The difference is that they now have Democrat saying the same things to further legitimize this line of “argument”.

What Indiana might actually shows–and people can either be optimistic or pessimistic about this depending on what you feel like the November campaign would look like, is that Obama does better when the focus is on policy differences rather than race, which is why Clinton is trying to bring it back there. I get the impression Clinton overplayed her hand among working class white voters with the gas tax stupidity, which is why Obama got more of their votes than expected there.

I haven’t even mentioned the fact that while Obama has work to do to appeal to that particular block of voters, Clinton has hopelessly alienated >the most loyal base of the Democratic Party: black folks.

Democrats will certainly struggle to win without a substantial minority of white voters, but there’s no question that they can’t win without us.

The question is this: Have white Democrats soured on Obama? Apparently not. Although his unfavorable rating from the group is up five percentage points since last summer in polls conducted by The New York Times and CBS News, his favorable rating is up just as much.

On the other hand, black Democrats’ opinion of Hillary Clinton has deteriorated substantially (her favorable rating among them is down 36 percentage points over the same period).

Obama’s relationship with white voters is no where near as bad as Clinton’s deteriorating relationship with black voters. But Clinton wants to make this conversation exclusively about the working class white vote, because it hides her glaring weaknesses among other segments of the party.

It’s really not just about white people. I know that’s really hard for some people to accept, but it’s true.

Update: This is Rikyrah. How bad, blatant and obvious is the continued race-baiting of the Clinton Campaign?

When the likes of Mike Barnicle can see it and will acknowledge it, you know it’s as obvious as you think it is. Not at all a part of your ‘ imagination’.
Barincle’s latest column: Race Is All The Clintons Have Left

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