Sunday, May 22, 2011

The media, pundits never take Black presidential candidates seriously

  Frederick Douglass
Despite Democrat Barack Obama nailing the 2008 presidential election, he was not the first African American to run for the office. I heard it said numerous times that Abraham Lincoln was a Black man. A few years ago it was rumored that his body would be exhumed for the sake of retrieving bone or teeth to conduct a DNA test. If this rumor were true the results have never been published by now. Whatever the case, I cannot wait to read that Lincoln was truly the first Black president of the United States. Did he get away with "passing" for White?

But I digress.

In 1872 Victoria Woodhull and members of the newly formed  Equal Rights Party picked Frederick Douglass, orator, statesman and social reformer to be her vice president. Woodhull was nominated by Equal Rights Party. Douglass did not know that he was been chosen; therefore, he did not accept the nomination. White people who did not cotton well to race mixing on any level, were upset at the prospect of this White woman and Black man working together. Oddly, Woodhull's name was not printed on the ballot. Douglass went on to serve as a presidential elector in the United States Electoral College for the city of New York.

On June 19, 1888 Frederick Douglass delivered a speech at the National Republican Convention in Chicago. He reminded Republicans and delegates that they should fight for the rights of Black Civil War veterans. They were being denied the right to vote in southern states.

Amid his speech Douglass said, “When your army was melting away before the fire and pestilence of rebellion, when your star-spangled banner trailed in the dust heavy with blood, you called the Negro. And he came 200,000 strong! Let us remember that these brave Black men are now stripped of their right to vote. Do not leave them to wade through blood to the ballot box. Make their pathway to the ballot box as smooth and safe as that of any class of citizens.” (The Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York)
Democrat Shirley Chisholm was the first
1972 Pres. Candidate Shirley Chisholm
African American woman to run for president of a major political party in 1972. Jesse Jackson ran in 1984 and 1988; Republican Alan Keyes, ran several times: 1992, 19996, 2000 and 2008. He ran for the Senate against Barack Obama in Chicago. Carol Mosley Braun and Al Sharpton were also presidential candidates in 2004.

Chisholm campaigned in 12 states, winning Louisiana, Mississippi and New Jersey. She lost the nomination to George McGovern at the Democratic Convention held in Miami Beach, Florida. McGovern's opponent, Hubert H. Humprey, turned over his African American delegates to Chisholm, giving her a total of 152 delegates.

Chisholm was a former educator, and the first Black woman to run for Congress, winning office in 1969. She served seven terms. Chisholm once said, "Of my two handicaps, being female puts more obstacles in my path than being Black".

One of the Tea Party favorite candidates for the presidency is a businessman and Republican named Herman Cain. The Tea Party is predominately comprised of White men and women. Minorities are hard to find spot at their conferences, town hall meetings and protests. As a Black man, who owns a Domino Pizza franchise, Cain have made statements that hang on the edge of White racism and self hate. He proved to be a first class panderer.

The Tea Party utilized Cain and his skin color to verify that they are not racist. Cain has been lulled into believing that he will get the nomination over his White opponents. It appears that his base is White southerners who despise President Obama, an African America. Tea partiers, when the media are watching, declare that Herman Cain is more like them than Obama! Cain is a dark skin man who is too dark to pass for White. The real differences are that Cain is a singing, ill informed candidate; President Obama is mature, cool, calm, collected and has a firm grasp on the facts.

Former candidates Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton
As with prior candidates of color the media and pundits were amused by their audacity to run for president of the United States. All of the Black candidates were ridiculed and made fun of.  Anyone who watched the Democratic primaries, Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988) and Al Sharpton (2004) clearly saw that they won the debates. White competitors felt free to rake each other over the coals, throwing out corny jokes rather than talk seriously about issues of interest to voters.  Jackson and Sharpton had to be serious 99.5 percent of the time when they campaigned and debated. Republican Allan Keys, an African American candidate from Chicago, ran for president several times:  1992, 1996, 2000 and 1988. In 2004 Carolyn Mosley Braun, D-Chicago, threw her hat into the ring. She had the distinction of being the first Black to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Her campaign ended the same year it started, however,  she earned a spot to speak at the Democratic Convention.

Both Jackson and Sharpton were vilified and treated like wayward children by the media and pundits. The were called "race hustlers", "race pimps" and "race baiters", neither deemed fit to be president of the United States. Some of their critics even called them buffoons and clowns. None of these labels were stuck on the backs of White candidates.

1988 Jesse Jackson supporters at a rally
In a April 6, 1988, The Nation wrote: "Jesse Jackson  is a serious candidate for the presidency. He was always serious; it was just the the political scientists and the other politicians who belittled his campaign, trivialized his efforts. and disdained his prospects. Despite the contempt and condescension of the media — or perhaps because of it-Jackson went to the most remote and isolated grass roots in the American social landscape to find the strength for a campaign that has already begun to transform politics.

"The enormous energy that his campaign releases has created a new populist moment, overtaking the languid hours and dull days of conventional politics and imagining possibilities for substantial change beyond the usual incremental transactions of the two-party system. It offers hope against cynicism, power against prejudice and solidarity against division. It is the specific antithesis to Reaganism and reaction, which, with the shameful acquiescence of the Democratic center, have held America in their thrall for most of this decade and which must now be defeated. For that reason, The Nation is endorsing Jesse Jackson for the Democratic nomination for President."

April 16, 2004, CNN---"Controversial, conversational and confrontational, the Rev. Alfred
Charles Sharpton Jr. staged a colorful but 
 ultimately unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign on a platform of racial equality, education and health care rights.
President candidate Rev. Al Sharpton
"The longtime activist ended his bid at the Democratic nomination on March 15, 2004, conceding defeat to Sen. John Kerry but pledging to continue campaigning for his 'urban agenda.'

"The outcome was predictable, according to analysts who said Sharpton would have difficulty overcoming his political inexperience and limited appeal before becoming a top White House contender. Sharpton's reputation would seem to work against any challenger for the presidency, said CNN political analyst William Schneider. 'He's seen as divisive, contentious, confrontational,' Schneider said, 'all the things the Democrats don't really need."'

Jesse Jackson  was schedule to speak at the Democratic Convention. He has been accused of making an anti-Semitic statement while campaigning. Jackson addressed the incident in his speech. It was so soul stirring and emotional, there were few dry eyes in the convention center. Al Sharpton spoke at 2004 convention.

When candidate Barack Obama sailed through the campaign storm unscathed, the media and crystal ball reading pundits were dumbfounded. Hillary Clinton had been automatically cast as the Democratic nominee by the media, womens' organizations, bloggers, politicians and pundits. Republican Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York, was the preordained Republican nominee. The final showdown battle was supposed to be between him and Clinton.  Giuliani, nicknamed "America's mayor" by the media, fizzled out before the primaries began. He campaigned on his actions after the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks in New York, where the Twin Towers were stuck by planes that had been highjacked by 18 Middle East terrorists. Joe Biden, a Democratic candidate, said Giuliani's campaign consisted of "a noun, a verb and 9/11".

Realizing that Obama was actually an earnest candidate with a good chance of winning the presidency, the media complex shifted into high gear, driving up their single themed bluster and bluff message created to marginalize this young and handsome Black candidate from Chicago. They relied on skewed polls, fact-challenged opinions and "news" stories to prove their assertions. They pushed unsubstantiated scandals and gossip tales initiated by Sean Hannity on Fox TV. Barack Obama was even accused of being a homosexual. Hannity broadcast on his Fox show that he had found a man who said he had an affair with Obama. They talked about the way he talked. He spoke perfect English not slang and broken English. The way he dressed. By the way, that Hannity interview was not conducted.

It was Hannity who started the ball rolling regarding a Sunday sermon delivered by Obama's  minster Rev. Jeremiah Wright. An edited except from one sermon took a life of its own. Wright made the statement "God damns America", Hannity changed the meaning, suggesting that Rev. Wright said "goddman America"! The media and pundits followed Fox's lead. The lie was the perfect bumper sticker slogan for Obama haters.

Hell broke loose, but Satan's fire could not burn down Barack Obama's campaign. Every sermon ever preached by Rev. Wright was suddenly scrutinized by the media and Hannity. They even went after Michelle Obama, reading her college thesis, talking to some of her Ws who went to college with her. The media and Hannity were on a fevered hunt, searching for something scandalous  prior to Obama running for president. The lies flowed like Salmon swimming up stream. None of the lies and twisted words stuck. Unfortunately, candidate Obama broke ties with Wright, severing their 20-year association and friendship.

The same media animosity towards Cain eventually took hold of his campaign. The media or one of his opponents uncovered a sexual scandal in his past. While he was president of the National Restaurant Association two White females said he sexually harassed them. They were paid undisclosed amount of money that  was included in their severance packages. One woman, married, came forward and told her story. Cain's campaign went downhill after that. The woman disappeared from sight.

David Weigel, writer with The Slate, wrote 12/2011: "Amazingly, in the first weeks of the scandal, conservatives largely stuck by Cain. As it released its newest poll showing Cain collapsing back to to single digits, the Des Moines Register noted that Cain weathered the harassment scandals. What did him in was sloppiness, in how he responded to those stories and how he bumbled other ones. But none of that should have been surprising. When I first interviewed Cain  in December 2010, I asked him for some details on how he'd wind down the war in Afghanistan. "The first thing that I'd do [if elected]," he said, "is summon the experts to find out can we win." The experts dodge became part of his answer to every serious foreign policy question. Why did it take until November to catch up with him? And what exactly was he adding to the race -- what was King thanking him for"?

The Week magazine wrote six reasons why Cain was not electable, predicting his candidacy would fail. The reasons listed did not apply to the White candidates.

1. Presidential campaigns are no place for amateurs.
2. GOP wants a positive message.
3. GOP voters don't really want an outsider.
4. Its awfully tough to escape a juicy sexual scandal.
5. Candidates can succeed by keeping it simple.
6. Republicans should be wary of 'baggage'.

Herman Cain also raised the ire of Vanity Fair contributing editor James Wolcott, who wrote May 21 that "Herman Cain sure has some steep gall copycatting Martin Luther King’s most famous rhetorical crescendo to trumpet his vain, grinny, substance-free candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination." He wrote that "Cain, pounding his fist on the podium, is confident that he will be president in 2013."

It's more than hard to believe this writer is furious about Cain imitating Martin Luther King. I'm not buying the taint cheese Wolcott is selling. He is daring Cain to have to gall to run for president of the United States! Cain was not the only Republican candidate who has a "substance-free candidacy." Wolcott did not talk about any of them in his article. The Republican primary candidates are showing that all of them are substance-free.

Candidate Herman Cain
Wiley Online Library, in writing about African Americans and the presidency, states: “The historic election of Barack Obama as the first African American president of the United States brought issues of race to the center of the American political process. During the campaign, media reports were replete with discussions about the effects that hidden racial bias might have on the election.

"One of the most frequently mentioned concerns was the so-called Bradley effect, whereby 'White voters openly express support for a Black candidate but then fail to vote for the candidate in the privacy of the voting booth. An AP–Yahoo News poll conducted shortly before the 2008 election raised concerns that racial bias might cost Obama the victory in a close contest, as negative stereotypes of Blacks as 'lazy' and 'violent' were endorsed by one-third of White Democrats. Although Obama won a decisive victory, the effects of underlying racial biases may have been mitigated by other pressing factors weighing on the minds of the voting public, especially the mounting economic crisis.”

Cain should not be fooled by straw poll results. They present a false sense of security that is risky in politics.


On Sunday’s Face the Nation, June 26, it might have been a deliberate oversight, or maybe host Bob Schieffer just forgot that Herman Cain is running for president. Discussing a presidential straw poll, Schieffer described Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney as front runners. He mentioned Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, who garnered seven percent of the vote and Tim Pawlenty, six percent. Photos of five these five candidates were shown.  Herman Cain was not mentioned nor was a photo of him shown.

A poll was conducted June 19-22, contacted 400 “likely” Republican voters. Schieffer decided to eliminate Cain from presidential race for reasons only he can explain. In my mind, he overlooked Cain because he does not take him seriously. Schieffer did not think candidate Barack Obama had a chance of winning the presidency, either. He admitted that he voted for John McCain, a frequent guest on his Sunday morning show.

The Des Moines Register, June 25, wrote: “The poll shows that Mr. Romney and Ms. Bachmann leads the crowded Republican field. Mr. Romney received 23 percent of support, while Ms. Bachmann received 22 percent . . .  Among the most surprising results was former Godfather’s CEO Herman Cain, who received 10 percent of support.” 

Translation: The newspaper expressed surprise that Herman Cain is on the same highway with the other candidates, all of whom are White males and one White  female. The media are deciding who will be viable candidates, an idea it will pound into the heads of voters and potential voters. The subliminal message is: erase the Black guy from your mind.

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