Politics: The calorie-laden lady has yet to sing
Faithful readers of this column should not be surprised about the violence in Belgrade over the independence of Kosovo or surprised about the Turkish invasion of northern Iraq or about the attempt by The New York Times to destroy the reputation of whoever might win the Republican presidential nomination or the predicted success of President Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars missile defense system or that the planet is cooling. (Globally, January was the coldest month in 15 years.) Some of those predicted events have occurred within the last week or so.
What happens with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Barak Hussein Obama in Ohio and Texas will determine if the prediction of a bloody superdelegate shootout in Denver comes true. At this point, www.realclearpolitics.com shows Senator Clinton eight points ahead in Ohio and 2.8 points ahead in Texas. But, because of the Bradley Effect, Senator Clinton may be in better shape than she appears.
Back in 1982, the late, great, Bill Roberts was managing the gubernatorial campaign of George “Duke” Deukmejian (a white Armenian) to be Governor of California. Deukmejian’s opponent was Tom Bradley, the black, former Mayor of Los Angeles. Attempting to drive down the Deukmejian turnout, the Sinistra Media kept touting Bradley’s five-point lead in the polls.
Like any good campaign manager, Bill Roberts was doing private polling, seeking out those who were the most likely to vote – not just anyone with time on their hands in a shopping mall. Roberts’ polling showed Deukmejian a few points ahead of Bradley. Worried that the Sinistra Media would discourage potential Deukmejian voters from turning out, Roberts held a press conference.
Roberts explained what became known as: the Bradley Effect which is: Some whites, who would probably never vote for a non-white, do not tell the truth to pollsters for fear of having their racism exposed. Immediately, the Sinistra Media launched a firestorm of protest over Roberts’ remarks. Roberts was accused by the Sinistra Media of playing some kind of reverse race card. The media storm got so bad that Deukmejian had to “fire” Bill Roberts.
But history records that Bill Roberts was correct because many of the whites who told pollsters they would vote for Bradley failed to do so and George Deukmejian won the California governorship.
Meanwhile, Bill Roberts played an important role in the election and reelection of Ronald Reagan to be President of the United States. Diabetes took Bill some years ago; however, his knowledge of the political process continues to play an important role at Pepperdine University and at other institutions where Realpolitik is taught.
Thus, it just may be that the Bradley Effect continues with regard to the polling numbers for Senator Obama. This could mean that Senator Clinton could hang in, get to a brokered and bloody Democratic National Convention in Denver, and win. Moreover, Team Clinton can argue that the 5.16 million votes cast (worth 366 delegates) in Florida and Michigan ought to be counted, even though those states disregarded Democratic National Committee (DNC) rules by moving up the dates of their primary elections.
In the end, if 795 party insiders meeting secretly in what used to be called smoke-filled rooms nominate Senator Clinton, millions of younger Obama supporters may decide to stay home to play shuffle board with millions of older conservatives who do not think Senator John McCain is conservative enough.
Turning to the GOP, the attempt by The New York Times (NYT) to discredit the Republican frontrunner -- without publishing proof of wrong doing -- is just further evidence of how the heir to a formerly great newspaper has driven down its circulation and reputation. But “Pinch” Sulzberger may have created the unintended consequence of causing the conservative talk-radio hosts, who despise the left-wing NYT, to rally to Senator McCain earlier rather than later.
Syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today is a former assistant professor of history and political science at Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU). Prior to NWU, Dr. Hamilton taught for Columbia College and for the University of Maryland-European Division.
©2008. William Hamilton.