10 de Enero, 2008
Clinton's New Hampshire Win and The Bradley EffectProblemchylde.]
I don't like assuming the worst about people (*smirk*), but there has always been some knowledge of the fact that liberal whites will tailor their responses to prevailing assumptions of equality and justice when asked about issues of race, gender, sexuality, disability, or what have you. However, what people say and what people do are often much different matters. When it comes down to it, Witentity Pollatix will take the forefront unless our country takes its racism and all the consequences from racism seriously.
It happens often in the blogosphere, where people will chastise ICE officers for separating a mother and child while branding the victims illegal aliens in the same breath. Or when a transwoman comes out to the world and news reports and progressive bloggers describe all of his new experiences and the responses to his announcement. Actions regularly don't synch up with rhetoric. And Nez's Wite-Magik Attax wouldn't be nearly as popular if they did.
So imagine my astonishment when I learned that this lack of synchronicity has a name when you enter the political sector with candidates of color vying for public office.
What the Bradley/Wilder effect is, according to Wikipedia:
The term Bradley effect or Wilder effect refers to a phenomenon which has led to inaccurate voter opinion polls in some American political campaigns between a white candidate and a non-white candidate. Specifically, there have been instances in which statistically significant numbers of white voters tell pollsters in advance of an election that they are either genuinely undecided, or likely to vote for the non-white candidate, but those voters exhibit a different behavior when actually casting their ballots. White voters who said that they were undecided break in statistically large numbers toward the white candidate, and many of the white voters who said that they were likely to vote for the non-white candidate ultimately cast their ballot for the white candidate. This reluctance to give accurate polling answers has sometimes extended to post-election exit polls as well.
Researchers who have studied the issue theorize that some white voters give inaccurate responses to polling questions because of a fear that they might appear to others to be racially prejudiced. Some research has suggested that the race of the pollster conducting the interview may factor into that concern. At least one prominent researcher has suggested that with regard to pre-election polls, the discrepancy can be traced in part by the polls' failure to account for general conservative political leanings among late-deciding voters.
I honestly didn't know the phenomenon had a name. Learning new shit everyday.
I've never been much of a political blogger to track elections bit by bit, but the recent events in New Hampshire perked my ears enough that I felt I should share something. Besides, when Nez comes back, he can still step in and say things ten times better.
Prometheus 6 posted a YouTube vid where a caller describes her experiences as a pollster in New Hampshire and her opinions of the media spin after the Iowa caucuses:
Check out the other videos in his post, too. Do you agree with this caller's assessment that the media's focusing on Clinton's loss in the Iowa caucuses set her up as the underdog?
A strong example of the Bradley effect in media coverage is U.S. feminist icon Gloria Steinem's recent op-ed in the New York Times. Brown Femi Power assembled a link farm of women of color bloggers that have responded to her divisive remarks in favor of supporting Hillary Clinton. But I want to show you a general comparison of Steinem's views in her own words.
Very early in the game, when Obama and Clinton were rumored to try for the nom...
EVEN before Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton threw their exploratory committees into the ring, every reporter seemed to be asking which candidate are Americans more ready for, a white woman or a black man?
...The question is also destructive because it’s divisive. In fact, women of all races and men of color — who together form an underrepresented majority of this country — have often found themselves in coalition. Both opposed the wars in Vietnam and Iraq more and earlier than their white male counterparts. White women have also been more likely than white men to support pro-equality candidates of color, and people of color have been more likely to support pro-equality white women.
It’s way too early to know which candidate will earn trust or survive Swift-boating, but forcing a choice between race and sex only conceals what’s really going on.
--from "Right Candidates, Wrong Question" (New York Times, February 7, 2007)
Immediately before the New Hampshire primary, with a chance in hell that Obama or Clinton could win...
Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House. This country is way down the list of countries electing women and, according to one study, it polarizes gender roles more than the average democracy.
That’s why the Iowa primary was following our historical pattern of making change. Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any women (with the possible exception of obedient family members in the latter).
from "Women Are Never Front-Runners" (New York Times, January 8, 2008)
Same person. Speaking on the same candidates. Yet very contradictory opinions on racism, sexism, and the U.S. presidency once the stakes are raised for a Political First.
It's no wonder that people believe once liberals have been tossed a tiny bone, they fracture off in the fight for the scrap of meat dangling off it.
And in other sad news, Bill Richardson dropped out of the Democratic race today.
As he has all along, he touted his attributes — an experienced negotiator, someone who would seek diplomatic solutions. During his campaign, Mr. Richardson often cut through long-winded answers (and sometimes his own) by offering up simple changes. For example, he often said he had a one-point plan for Iraq: Get Out. On the Leave No Child Behind Act: Scrap it.
But with such starpower of Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as the populist appeal and deeply embedded organization of John Edwards, Mr. Richardson couldn’t get enough traction. He had wistfully said just recently that he wanted to stick it out through the Nevada caucuses this weekend and then primaries in the Western states.
But in the end, he wasn’t raising enough money or drawing enough support to continue. He’s been asked several times whether he would accept an offer to be someone’s vice president, but has always said that being governor of New Mexico was a far better job.
I found myself impressed with him in the New Hampshire debates, even though I was less than awed by his tempered pacing. (He could probably turn the State of the Union address into a three hour tour.) But his ideas were good. He probably isn't sexy enough for the presidency, but I liked his style.
Nez did a mini-spotlight of Richardson's credentials a few days back; I'm personally sad to see Richardson out. Maybe another time.
What are you guys thinking about Election 2008 so far? I've already revealed my own biases by not even bothering with the Rethuglican side of matters (McCain won and shit happened). And who's tired of this amorphous guarantee of change? I think we've had enough change in the past 8 years: we're geared for paranoia as far as national security, we're in the midst of a war, the cost of living keeps skyrocketing, there's a renewed effort to racialize and villainize immigrants and the working poor (but I suppose that's not new), and our position as Top Dog economically is slumping. Will these candidates bring positive changes to our nation and how we're represented in the world? I want a little less posturing for conversation and a little more action for creating and maintaining peace, for sustaining good economic and environmental health, and for emphasizing the humanity behind the political rhetoric.
All of this can't happen with one election in the U.S., but surely it can start from here?
EDIT: Wayne at Electronic Village asks, "Will Bill Richardson Become the Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson for Hispanics?" I'm wondering about why it was so underemphasized that Richardson's Latino since the identity politics for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are so heavy. Also, the two people vying for the Green Party ticket are both black women -- Elaine Brown (a former Panther) and Cynthia McKinney (a former Democrat). How much third party action are we gonna see for '08?
Okay, scratch the Elaine Brown announcement; she dropped her candidacy and renounced membership of the Green Party:
I believe the leadership of the Green Party of the United States has been seized by neo-liberal men who entrench the Party in internecine antagonisms so as to compromise its stated principles and frustrate its electoral and other goals. They have made it impossible to advance any truly progressive ideals or objectives under the umbrella of the Green Party, and, thus, rendered it counterproductive for me to go forward as a Green Party candidate or member.
I believe this small clique that has captured control of the Party has transformed it into a repository for erstwhile, disgruntled Democrats, who would violate the Party’s own vision and sabotage the good will and genuine commitment of the general membership. Indeed, these usurpers foster a reactionary agenda, supporting partisans in and backers of the Bush wars and disavowing the Party’s more progressive tenets in favor of promoting high-profile participation in the politics of the establishment.
Anyone surprised at her allegations?
[posted by Sylvia/M: light on politics; heavy on cynicism]