I'm a huge fan of the syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show and listen to it every day. Its combination of news, interviews, humor and insightful commentary from such peeps as Tavis Smiley, Michael Eric Dyson, and 'the Revs' routinely draws an audience of 11 million predominately African-American listeners.
IIf there's anyone who has their finger on the pulse of Black America, it's Tom Joyner.
During yesterday's show he conducted a For Real For Real poll that has me extremely nervous about the 2008 election should Hillary somehow get the nomination.
According to this poll, 54 percent said they'd vote for Clinton if Barack is not the candidate. But a whopping 35 percent said they won't vote at all if Obama isn't in the race.
There are a few things you Hillary fans aren't seeing. Sen. Obama's campaign is bringing in large numbers of people who are either new voters or people haven't been engaged in the political process for a long time. It is also tapping into a shared dream that African-Americans have held since emancipation, seeing one of our own taking the oath of office as president.
It took a while for us to get emotionally invested since we've been down this road twice with Jesse Jackson, Sr. in 1984 and 1988. But this time we have a candidate who may actually make this dream a reality. We're beginning to have the audacity of hope that we may see him on January 20, 2009 standing on the capitol steps taking the oath of office while his lovely wife Michelle holds the Bible.
Now that we can conceive the dream and are tantalizingly close to seeing him secure the nomination, the continued negative race-baiting attacks by the Clinton camp is only suceeding in pissing off a constituency without which no Democratic candidate can win in November.
For me and many African-Americans sitting out the election or voting for John McCain is not an option. Hillary Clinton can't overtake Obama delegate wise even if she swept the remaining contests. That ain't happening because North Carolina is one of those remaining primary states with a significant African-American population that hasn't weighed in yet (By the way Hillary fans, Barack has a nine point lead in North Carolina) and because of proportional allocation rules, he'll continue to accumulate delegates..
But that 35% number scares me. I hope those peeps will take the time to think about the big picture and realize that we and the country cannot afford a McCain presidency.
But the point I'm making is that Democrats cannot afford to piss off your most loyal constituency and expect to win. Barack leads in the delegate count, has won double the amount of states, and him being on the ballot in the fall will continue to bring record numbers of new voters into the mix.
If Hillary pulls this out by using the superdelegates, and that's the only way she can remotely get the nomination at this point, it will be perceived in Black American circles as 'she stole the nomination' and the sitzkrieg will commence. Hillary will not get the historic turnout of African-American voters that Barack Obama's presence on the November ballot would generate. She would also have a frosty reception in terms of getting many of us motivated to come to the polls and support her.
So yeah, while I'm happy I get a chance to vote on May 20 for my candidate, I'm still going to be anxious until Barack finally closes out this nomination. .