Howard Dean And The Democrats` Civil War

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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

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

(which to my knowledge has never happened)
could a candidate win without its votes. Moreover, most
Democratic candidates

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
officials already.

Now, his remark about the Confederate flag may have
undone that.

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

. 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

that the Confederate flag is "America`s
." 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
civil rights."

"I don`t want to be the candidate for guys with
Confederate flags in their pickup trucks,"

piously announced
in a statement. There is really

small danger
of that.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry accused Mr. Dean of
having "pandered"
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
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

It would also mean—maybe—that the man who most
viciously denounced Mr. Dean and the

Confederate flag
and the

white people who like it
would stand a chance of
gaining the black vote himself.

Every serious Democratic presidential candidate
understands that for purposes of getting to Square One,
the party nomination, the

NRA`s approval
is not terribly useful. It`s the

that counts.

But what Mr. Dean understands is that in order to win
the election, the

and the

kind of people who join
it are essential.

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


, no Democrat will ever win the White



[Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,

America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The
Disintegration Of American Culture
, is now available

Americans For Immigration Control.

Click here for Sam Francis`