Howard Dean And The Democrats` Civil War
order Sam Francis` new monograph, Ethnopolitics:
Immigration, Race, and the American Political Future]
Well, I guess Jesse Jackson won`t be endorsing Howard
Dean after all.
After suggesting in a
recent column (before Mr. Dean`s now famous
Confederate flag remark) that the
ex-governor of Vermont might be on his way to
winning the bloc support of black Democrats and
therefore the party nomination, I must now predict that
such may not be the case.
So intense is the hatred most blacks feel for the
Confederate flag, a
hatred engendered by
racial demagogues like the Rev. Jackson and Al
Sharpton, that Mr. Dean`s one brief comment last week
may be sufficient to lose him the
black support he seemed to be gaining.
Nevertheless, the reaction to his slip by his rivals
for the nomination tends to bear out my larger point.
That point was that the Democratic Party has now become
so dependent on its
black voters that it is virtually impossible for any
candidate to win the nomination without their support.
Only if the black bloc is
split (which to my knowledge has never happened)
could a candidate win without its votes. Moreover, most
know this, even if they don`t usually say so, and
that`s why they spend most of the primary campaign
pandering to blacks as shamelessly as possible.
Mr. Dean has done more than his fair share of
pandering, claiming to a black audience last summer that
a popular rap tune was his personal favorite song and
winning several endorsements from black elected
Now, his remark about the Confederate flag may have
The first to sniff the blood in the debate`s water
was the well-seasoned shark, Mr. Sharpton, a man
thoroughly at home with character assassination since
the days when he was peddling the Tawana Brawley fable
in the 1980s. As soon as Mr. Dean had expressed his
ambition to be
"the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their
pickup trucks" and the banality that "We
can`t beat George Bush unless we appeal to a broad
cross-section of Democrats," Mr. Sharpton flicked
his fins and cruised in for the kill.
"If a southern person running … had said that,
they`d have been run out of the race," the Harlem
ranted. Mr. Sharpton, already peeved because Mr.
Dean had cut deeply into the black votes he
needs for himself, had every good political reason
to snap at his rival`s flanks.
And so did the other candidates. With Mr. Dean
threatening to capture the black vote, the tactical
problem they face is how to dislodge the black support
he enjoys. Jumping up and down at any sort of friendly
remark about the Confederate flag is a good way to do
And so they did. North Carolina Sen. John Edwards
denounced the remark as "condescending,"
while Mr. Sharpton
moaned that the Confederate flag is "America`s
swastika." Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt, locked
in battle with Mr. Dean in the Iowa caucus, spouted that
the Vermonter was trying to win votes from people
"who disagree with us on bedrock Democratic values like
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry accused Mr. Dean of
to the National Rifle Association and of now trying to
"pander to lovers of the Confederate flag."
"I would rather be the candidate of the NAACP than the
NRA," Kerry said in a statement.
What is significant about all these little temper
tantrums by grown-up and politically sophisticated men
is that every one of them acknowledges why it was
important to cast Mr. Dean as a bigot or insensitive or
condescending or flirting with rejection of civil
Getting that message across to black voters, who make
40 percent of the Democratic vote in Southern
primaries, would finish off any prospect of Howard Dean
winning that vote and with it a place on the party`s
That was his point in his controversial remark, and
until some Democrat is able to say that and act on it
and bring back the white voters the party`s
racial pandering has
Republicans, no Democrat will ever win the White
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
[Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,