Poor John Edwards. He’s made poverty the central focus of this, his second presidential campaign in a row, and you’d think he might do especially well amongst black people, since so many of us struggle to put food on our families (or, in my case, myself), but he hasn’t managed to gain much traction at all.
In any other year he may have had more of a shot, but this year he’s running against both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, both of whom are doing remarkably well among black voters.
Obviously Barack Obama’s got the fact that he’s black (-ish) in his favor. He’s not doing well among black voters in the sense that he’s won a majority of them, but, if I’m not mistaken, he’s only trailing Hillary by something like 20% among black voters, while he’s trailing her by something ridonkulous like 33% overall.
And Hillary Clinton is still married to Bill Clinton, despite his shenanigans over the years, and you know how black people love them some Bill Clinton. I don’t know if it’s misplaced daddy worship or what; but whatever it is, it’s almost as strong as our love of gangster movies and shrimp.
The other day, I suggested that Barack Obama may have tripped not going down to Jena, LA to join his people in the fight for a black man’s right to not do time for stomping somebody’s eye shut. But many of you suggested that this may not have been a good move, because it may have alienated his white base.
But I don’t know. I mean, he’s the first black candidate who’s clean and articulate, and yet you get the idea that he isn’t even considered as authentically black as Bill Clinton, who, admittedly, is way blacker than I am as well. That may have been a good move for him.
I guess John Edwards figured he didn’t have as much to lose. He didn’t actually go down to Louisiana or anything silly like that, but the other day, at an MTV/MySpace forum for young voters, he took it upon himself to address one of the most pressing issues facing the black community today – the fact that all black men will eventually end up in prison.
Specifically, when asked what he would do about “inner-city kids partaking in violence” he responded as follows:
“We cannot build enough prisons to solve this problem. And the idea that we can keep incarcerating and keep incarcerating — pretty soon we’re not going to have a young African-American male population in America. They’re all going to be in prison or dead. One of the two.”
Interestingly enough, there was yet another one of these studies released right around the same time that said that more black people live in prison cells than in college dorms. Some people are saying that it’s BS, in the sense that a lot of black people in college live off campus, but whatever. Everybody knows black men are being thrown in prison these days as if it’s going out of style.
Similarly, John Edwards’ plan kinda backfired on him. As it turns out, black people don’t want politicians to address the issues that most affect them, if it’s gonna mean airing our dirty laundry on MTV, which is only watched by racist-ass white kids. You see, to suggest that so many black men go to prison, even if it’s true, is a stereotype, and lord knows we’ve had enough problems this year, what with Don Imus suggesting black women have nappy hair and all.
Even if it’s true, it’s just not nice.
If there’s a lesson to be learned in all of this, it’s that black people don’t want politicians to address the issues that most affect them. They just want to know that a politician is black. As pissed off as black people were about the Jena Six, no one seemed to give a shit that Barack Obama ducked the issue. But black people love the fact that Bill Clinton didn’t have a father, eats McDonalds, and stays balls deep in fat white chicks.
Never mind the MTV/MySpace forum If John Edwards really wants to appeal to black voters, he should shoot an episode of MTV Cribs in that big-ass mansion of his and have the interior decorated with Scarface merchandise. That’s the kind of shit that really resonates with black people.