Sunday, July 29, 2007

Is America Ready for a Black or Woman President?

That's the question asked at the 7/28/07 panel discussion at the San Diego Democratic Women's Club meeting. The panel included:

Stewart A. Alexander; presidential candidate, Peace and Freedom Party
Francine Busby; Political Consultant
Sheila Jackson; San Diego Board of Education
Geoff Barrett; Vote Hope PAC/Obama campaign
Dr. Isidro Ortiz; Chicano/Chicana Studies SDSU
Al Villamora; President of Filipino American Community Empowerment (PACE)

I'll admit that the question alone makes me cringe, and it's more than a bit pathetic that we're still asking that when 42 (-ish) other nations have already had female leaders, but the sad truth is, we have Issues in this country with regard to race and gender that still need to be addressed.

Discussed at the meeting were studies claiming that 90% of respondents answer yes to the question, "would you support a female president" however when the question is slightly altered to "would you vote for a female president" that number drops to around 60%. The numbers are similar if you substitute African-American for the word female.

There have been other studies where a large percentage say they'd personally vote for a female or African American for office, but when you ask them if America would elect them the number drops again to around 60%. The concern with that is that people are possibly answering for themselves by saying what is "socially acceptable" but not sharing their true feelings. It's a common problem in obtaining accurate results from surveys.

(This issue was discussed at the SDDCWC without mention of sources, but for more info here's one link to a story on related poll results: MSNBC/Newsweek story/polling results.)

It's hard to say how Americans will vote with these variables thrown into the mix. and and it's probably going to boil down to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts. The groups who are the strongest Hillary supporters are young women and single women; two groups with traditionally low voter turnout. When polled, 79% of minority voters believe Hillary is qualified to be president and 54% say Obama is qualified.

Do you think Newt was right this morning? Are we going to have a Clinton/Obama ticket? It could happen, and I think from an electability perspective, that would be a strong combo. It'll bring out the ugliest of the ugly in the campaigns, that's for sure, but it's a potentially winning pair.

Turn out, turn out, turn out. If the Republicans can find common ground between the Christian right, big business, and neo-cons, Democrats should certainly be able to find common ground between women and racial minorities since we all have faced the same struggle to be taken seriously in this country. There is great untapped potential and a fabulous opportunity.

So is America ready for a Black or Woman President?

Not only are we ready, but we NEED non-traditional candidates now. What we're ready for is leadership, New leadership. The old, experienced leadership has gotten us into a world of hurt over the last few years. It's time for change, and change is opportunity.

Speaking less generally and about my own feelings, I have to admit to wishing the first truly viable female candidate was someone other than Hillary. I'm not in agreement with her on several important issues, and I am way beyond disappointed with the road she took in regard to the Iraq conflict. I'll support her if she's the candidate in the general election though, and I'll work hard to get the presidency out of the hands of this current sick version of the Republican party. If you want to help work toward that goal too, contact your local Democratic Party office, and tell them you want to help get out the vote in your precinct. Be a precinct volunteer. Be the grassiest of grassroots activists by working with your neighbors and your community to Get Out The Vote.

Personally, I'm thinking precinct parties, and wondering if that wouldn't be a more efficient way to reach a large number of people in my 'hood. Maybe I can't personally make big change in Washington DC, but I can sure has heck get my neighbors out to a party.

I'll get back to you on that.

P.S. to my many friends that are as disgusted with the Democratic Party as they are with the Republican Party and have already decided not to vote for either: check out Stewart Alexander's candidacy for the Peace and Freedom Party. The P&F Party are the American version of Social Democrats, and Alexander came across to me as a sincere man with a progressive vision and many ideas worth exploring.

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Blogger cali dem said...

Are we ready for a non-Ivy Leaguer President? I don't get the sense from either Clinton or Obama that they will stick up for the workers. They both seem to be in it for their own egos.

7/29/2007 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Terry said...

I'm not a real big Hillary fan, and I sort of agree about Obama. Edwards isn't an Ivy-Leaguer. That's who's currently on the top of my list. If I had to rank those three it would be Edwards, Obama, Clinton.

7/29/2007 12:02:00 PM  

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