Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Invisible Voting Blocs

Atrios posted about this piece over the weekend:

At Anjay's Salon in Charleston, the only thing louder than the hair dryer is the chorus of political opinions.

Analysts say black women are more engaged and hold tremendous power in selecting the Democratic nominee.

On this day, owner Angela Jackson is outnumbered. She is the only one supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton over Sen. Barack Obama in South Carolina's Democratic primary Saturday.

"When you apply for a job, they ask you, do you have experience? They hire you based on experience. Hillary's been in office how long?" Jackson asks.

Customer Carol Singleton responds, "For me, Hillary, yes, she was a wife of a president, but she was not a president, so she doesn't earn credit for more experience than Obama. To me they're equal."

Stylist Shanese Jones says, "I just feel like it's his time. I think he's ready."

While three say they're undecided, the rest of the women in the salon say they plan to vote for Obama.

Analysts say black women this year never have been more engaged in a political campaign or held such power in determining the Democratic nominee.

Recent polls show black women are expected to make up more than a third of all Democratic voters in South Carolina's primary in five days.

For these women, a unique, and most unexpected dilemma, presents itself: Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?

No other voting bloc in the country faces this choice.

The bolds are mine.

The statement is silly, of course. White Democratic men, as an example, face exactly the same dilemma: Should they vote for Obama (their gender) or for Clinton (their race)? Republican women of any race face the dilemma that they can't vote for their gender and Republican POC can't vote their race.

But in one sense the statement makes sense: There is no black and female candidate in this race. All other Democrats can vote for their gender-race combination if they so wish. Republicans, of course, can vote for white guys as usual.