Southern white voters for Cain: It’s hard to know less than our big pundits do. Last night, guesting on Anderson Cooper 360, Gloria Borger lamented the early date of this year’s Iowa caucuses.
At present, the caucuses are scheduled for January 3. Sadly, Borger said the caucuses were held in February last time around.
Later in the program, Borger corrected herself. But good grief! The Iowa caucuses haven’t been held in February since 1996. Here are the dates of the Iowa caucuses in the last three campaigns:
Dates of the last three Iowa caucuses:No, it doesn’t actually matter. But politics is Borger's only subject, and she works at the very top of the “press corps.” Like so many of her colleagues, she knows every current approved standard narrative, doesn’t know much else.
January 3, 2008
January 19, 2004
January 24, 2000
We were struck by something else on last night’s Cooper 360 show, though tape doesn’t seem to be available. We were struck by interviews CNN did with some Herman Cain supporters in Humphreys County, Tennessee (population 17,000).
We wouldn’t vote for Cain ourselves. But he held a rally in Humphreys County last weekend, and three very southern-sounding white voters said they’d be voting for him. We were especially struck by what the third man told Gary Tuchman:
TUCHMAN (10/17/11): Over the weekend Cain barnstormed through Tennessee attending six rallies. There are fewer than 20,000 people who live here in Humphreys County, Tennessee. Yet this turnout is huge, particularly for an area where so few people live.That third person sounded very southern. He was perhaps 65 years old; he was white. We wouldn’t vote for Cain ourselves. But we think what that man said is a great triumph for the movement Dr. King led.
CAIN (videotape): All of a sudden, the long shot isn't such a long shot anymore. How about them apples?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like Romney, and if he gets the nomination, I will support him. But I think that Herman Cain is more in touch with what the people want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He seems to be a straight-shooter, and just like some of the conservative views that he's putting out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's more like me than anyone else running, and I vote for myself so I vote for him.
TUCHMAN: Tell me why you think he's more like yourself than anyone running.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's country folk.
That man is a very southern-sounding, older white male. His grandchildren got to see him say that the black guy is the person most like him.
This is a tremendous triumph for the American project. For our money, Melissa Harris-Perry was way too casual in her recent piece about white liberal voters. But at the start of her piece, she identified a particular type of racism—a type she said was pretty much dead:
HARRIS-PERRY (9/21/11): Electoral racism in its most naked, egregious and aggressive form is the unwillingness of white Americans to vote for a black candidate regardless of the candidate’s qualifications, ideology or party. This form of racism was a standard feature of American politics for much of the twentieth century. So far, Barack Obama has been involved in two elections that suggest that such racism is no longer operative.We don’t know why Harris-Perry said this type of racism is “no longer operative.” It seems fairly clear that some people didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 due to his race. But Harris-Perry made a good case for the idea that this kind of racism is on the way out.
The testimony of this Cain voter spoke to what she said. It also spoke a million words about Dr. King's ongoing project.
We wouldn’t vote for Cain ourselves. But we’re very glad that this man’s grandchildren, in rural Tennessee, got to hear what their grandfather said.