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Scholars Discuss Diversity in Presidential Race

Modified Chat Transcript “Presidential Firsts”

moderator(C) Good afternoon and welcome to Diverse: Issues In Higher Education’s “Presidential Firsts” Web Chat. Today, our expert panelists will offer careful analysis on a number of diversity issues related to the presidential race. Our conversation will converge around a few major themes: Is America really ready for a woman or Black president? What type of vice presidential candidate would each need to emerge victorious? Is there any credence to the notion that Hispanics won’t support a Black presidential candidate

because of the purported riff between Blacks and Hispanics?

 Joining us we have: Dr. Ricardo Ramirez is an assistant professor in the  Department of Political Science and the Program in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. His research interests include state and local politics, political behavior, and the politics of race and ethnicity, especially as they relate to participation, mobilization, and political incorporation. He is coeditor of Transforming Politics, Transforming America: The Political and Civic Incorporation of Immigrants in the United States.

Dr. Desiree S. Pedescleaux is dean of Undergraduate Studies at Spelman College and an associate professor in political science. She is the co-author of The Color of School Reform that received the 2000 Best Book Award from the Urban Section of the American Political Science Review. Pedescleaux’s research interests include urban politics, with particular emphasis on large cities. Currently, she is completing a book with colleagues on the politics of urban education reform.

Dr. Todd Shaw is an assistant professor in University of South Carolina’s Department of Political Science and African-American Studies Program. He researches and teaches broadly in the areas of African American politics, urban politics and public policy and social movements. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Now Is The Time!: Detroit Black Politics and Opportunities for Grassroots Activism.

Dr. Valerie Martinez-Ebers is an associate professor in Texas Christian University’s Department of Political Science and the president of the Western Political Science Association. The former co-president of the Race, Ethnicity and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, Martinez teaches courses in race, ethnicity and politics, Latino politics, public policy, research methods, and civil liberties and political tolerance. Her forthcoming book with UT Press is entitled, Politicas: Latina Trailblazers in the Texas Political Arena. Dr.

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore serves as a Professorial Lecturer at American University where she teaches courses on “The Politics and Policy of Race and Gender” as well as “Women, Politics, and Public Policy.” She is the founder, president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions; a comprehensive policy consulting company in Washington, DC, and the author of The Political Action Handbook: A How to Guide for the HipHop Generation and co-editor of Strengthening Community: Social Insurance in a Diverse America.

moderator(Q) My name is Michelle Nealy. I will be moderating this event.

Let’s get started.

moderator(Q) In a move expected to strengthen her team for the remaining primaries, Sen. Hillary Clinton appointed Maggie Williams her former White House chief of staff to head her campaign replacing Latina, Patty Solis Doyle. Did Hillary Clinton switch campaign

managers to put her in a better light with Black Voters or was it an act of desperation? What is the desired outcome of the switch?

 Dr_Rockeymoore(A) The switch from Patti Solis Doyle to Maggie Williams was not an attempt to curry favor with African Americans so much as it was an attempt to establish more control over her campaign apparatus. There has been widespread news coverage of the divisions and the lack of financial controls within the Clinton campaign. New stories have given accounts of lavish spending, high-priced consultants, in-fighting among consultants and staff and other negative activities. Some blamed these problems on the management shortcomings of Patti Solis Doyle (others have suggested that Mark Penn–one of Clinton’s highest paid consultants–deserves

more blame that he has been given). Maggie Williams served Senator Clinton for a number of years in a very trusted position in the White House. When Senator Clinton needed help, she turned to Ms. Williams to bring order and capable management to the campaign.

moderator(Q) In a move expected to strengthen her team for the remaining primaries, Sen. Hillary Clinton appointed Maggie Williams her former White House chief of staff to head her campaign replacing Latina, Patty Solis Doyle. Did Hillary Clinton switch campaign managers to put her in a better light with Black Voters or was it an act of desperation? What is the desired outcome of the switch?

Dr_Ramirez(A) The appointment of Maggie Williams will not likely have an effect on African American voters. The position is too important and likely disrupted the campaign significantly, so it is unlikely that Clinton would jeopardize her national campaign on a move that won’t have an effect on voters directly

moderator(Q) According to political pundits, Clinton’s name is strong with Hispanics. They know her. In Texas, Hispanic voters favor Clinton 2 to 1. When and where (Arkansas, Washington, New York) did the Hispanic community develop an affinity for Hillary Clinton?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) Senator Hillary Clinton often talks about her early years in politics where she spent substantial time in Austin and San Antonio, TX as an organizer. During this time, she

established connections with many Latino political leaders in Texas and these ties remain today. Many Hispanics also indicate a fondness for former President Clinton. As for the policy details, Senator Clinton has been a vocal advocate for immigration reform and is seen by many Latinos as a leader in this effort. Senator Clinton and former President Clinton have also employed a number of high profile Latinos (e.g. Maria Escheveste, Bill Richardson, Leon Panetta, and

Patti Solis Doyle). Latinos have looked upon these appointments favorably and as a sign of the Clinton’s loyalty to Hispanics.

PortHist(Q) How will the inflammatory antics of commentators such as Bill Cunningham and repudiation by Senator McCain play into the attitudes and voting behavior of moderate Americans? Will a conservative backlash against McCain occur and if it does will it help or hurt either Obama or Clinton?

Dr_Shaw(A) As has often been said about this election, we are unchartered territory on this question. The attempt of commentators such as Cunningham to inflame the passions of those who see “Barack Hussein” as a liberal too eager to sacrifice America’s national security interests for the pursuit of international cooperation are likely working with some hardcore segment of American conservatives. Of course there is a not so subtle way in which this is a use of

“racial codewords”. So memories of David Duke’s racist appeals to the white conservative vote in Louisiana still linger. But McCain’s moderation and senatorial comity with Obama may dampen some of these effects. We’ll see.

MariaLaDelBarrio(Q) Regardless of who is the nominee on the Democratic side, can the candidates (Republican/Democrat/Independent) win the national election in November without the Hispanic vote? How significant powerful is the Hispanic electorate in reality??

Dr_Ramirez(A) The significance of the Latino vote is most significant during the primary season. Because the vast majority of Latinos live in either safe Democratic states like California, New York, and Illinois, or safe republican states like Texas and Arizona, it is unlikely that Latinos will be a swing voting block in the general election. The only states where Latinos are likely to have a significant impact is in New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Florida.

Dr_Shaw(A) If we look at those states where in 2002 Latinos commanded significant portions of the registered electorate — New York (10.5%), Texas (27.6%), California (20%), New Mexico (39%) — those all bellweather states that must or should be part of a bedrock win for either a Democratic or Republican candidate. This of course if further amplified when we consider the electoral votes those states command. There continues to be much debate about how much the Latino vote is or is not a “sleeping giant.” I tend to believe that given this high salience election and the ways in which Latino voters have very strong reasons to vote — especially with regards to core issues such as immigration and education — we are going to see the Latino vote as key to a presidential victory; and right now I’m betting (without fear of contradiction) that the Democrats will most gain.

HistoricMoment(Q) A lot of Obama’s supporters fear for his life. Should we? Or haven’t we moved beyond the time when a Black politician/activist promoting real change has to fear for his life?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) It should be said that some of Obama’s African American supporters fear for his life given the long history of assassinations and murders that have plagued African American leaders in the United States. Recall that Gen. Colin Powell’s wife refused

to let him run for President because of her fear of his life being taken. While these fears are justified, African Americans must move past it if they want to see progress. In addition to Senator Obama, there are many African Americans who are involved in politics and some who are positioned to pursue higher office in the future. Should these gifted individuals back off of a life of public service because of a threat of assassination? I would argue that they should

not. White and black politicians have been threatened. It is a fact of the position. That being said, we must make sure that the Secret Service does its job and provides the best protection possible for

Dr_Pedescleaux(A) In an ideal world, we should not fear for Obama’s life. However, history tells us differently. Those who represent real change in this country elicits fear in some. Those who are fearful strike out at the perceived difference. Hence, I do not believe that we have moved beyond a time when we must fear for Obama’s safety.

r_square(Q) I’m aware that Frederico Pena, a former Clinton cabinet member, supports Obama. Who does Henry Cisneros, another former Clinton cabinet member, support?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) Henry Cisneros, the former Mayor of San Antonio, TX and a former Secretary of HUD under former President Clinton is supporting Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

moderator(Q) At the beginning of the race, political pundits debated whether or not Barack Obama was “black enough” to appeal to African American voters. Questions pertaining to the senator’s blackness have since disappeared and his support among African American voters has surged. Should the African American community press Sen. Barack Obama to discuss Black issues or his agenda for Black America?

Dr_Shaw(A) I believe there is a strong recognition in the African American community that Barack Obama is running to be president of all America and thus cannot be perceived firstly as the “President of Black America.” I heard several commentators make reference to this during the Tavis Smiley State of the Black Union program this past weekend. However, this a precarious situation. On the one hand, to be African American (which Obama is) is to have an experience that often is not well understood by or readily translatable to White America — thus the t-shirt slogan long ago, “It’s a Black Thang, You Wouldn’t Understand.” Such is the case about many (although clearly not all of ) Black America’s embrace of Minister Louis Farrakhan despite arguments that he is anti-Semitic and homophobic. On the other hand, to distance oneself from “Blackness” is to give into an impulse W.E.B. DuBois warned about in his idea of “double consciousness” — thus whitening one’s Black self. It is also to turn off a very important base for Obama and the Democratic Party. So, overall it is a fine line that Obama must walk. A very fine one.


Dr_Pedescleaux(A) What exactly are black issues? African Americans are impacted by the same concerns as non-African Americans. It seems, to me, that the number one issue for African Americans is the economy. Another is health care. Is it fair to push Obama on these issues? Sure it is.

PortHist(Q) Are Americans more sexist or racist? Will race and/or sex sway this election?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) Racism, sexism and classism are so intertwined in the American experience that it is difficult to pull them apart. I think that we have seen a number of racially insensitive and sexist remarks during the course of this campaign. I do not, however,

believe that the American people have been swayed by the discourse of the past. For example, some of the remarks made by the Clintons that were defined as racially insensitive did not go over so well with either African-American or mainstream audiences. This was proved by the voting margins that were given to Senator Obama in South Carolina and elsewhere. Similarly, television political pundits have been called out for remarks that have been deemed sexist. One has even been suspended from his position. The American people have been vigilant on this matter and I don’t think that charges of sexism or racism are influencing voters as much as where the candidates stand on the issues and how they present themselves

PortHist(Q) Are Americans more sexist or racist? Will race and/or sex sway this election?

Dr_Pedescleaux(A) I think we are more racist than sexist. However, voters seem to be saying that they are willing to vote for an African American candidate. The General Election will really be the test, especially in the South.

Dr_Ramirez(A) While race and gender of the candidates are important, it is not clear that those are the determining factors in the vote decisions of most voters. A candidate’s race has clearly been a factor in many elections, and it is likely to have an effect on a small minority of voters. However, domestic and international policy stance of the candidates will be what really sets the them apart from one another and impact the final vote decision.

moderator(Q) Clinton appeared at the ninth annual State of the Black Union symposium, hosted and presented by commentator Tavis Smiley. Sen. Barack Obama didn’t. This event focused on the role Black Americans will play in the 2008 presidential election. Many African American voters took offense to Obama’s absence. Is Sen. Barack Obama taking his African American supporters for granted especially now as he focuses on Latino voters.

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) Absolutely NOT! Senator Barack Obama had already campaigned in New Orleans in advance of the Louisiana primaries and he won a substantial number of the African-American votes that he courted. Tavis Smiley’s event was inconveniently scheduled in New

Orleans after the primaries. By that time, Senator Obama was campaigning in other states where the race is tightening (Texas and Ohio). Senator Obama graciously declined the invitation with the very legitimate excuse that he needed to be campaigning in states where he is currently behind (Ohio) in the polls or in a tight race (Texas). It was ridiculous for Mr. Smiley to be offended by Obama’s rational response.

lesatter(Q) Why is it necessary in 2008 to talk about race or gender as a prerequisite for running the country? Look at the rest of the world who are doing fine with leaders of all backgrounds.

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) We’ve got to remember that this is America. While the rest of the world has progressed, the U.S. has never had a woman leader or a leader of color. It is for this reason that issues of race and gender are taking center stage during this election.

Dr_Martinez(A) You ask a good question and make a good point. There is much discussion of race and ethnicity in this 2008 campaign BECAUSE this is the first time a woman and a person of color are perceived as having a good chance to be elected president of the US. I know that women have been elected as heads of state in other parts of the world. Does anyone know whether a racial minority (within the respective country) has ever been elected to lead.?

r_square(Q) For Dr. Ramirez —- What should Obama do differently in California if he’s the Democratic nominee to rally strong support from the Latino community there?

Dr_Ramirez(A) If he is the nominee, Latinos will rally around him, as they have for other democrats in the past. He simply got a late start with the grassroots mobilization of the Latino community in California, but since then, his campaign has begun to focus on Latinos. Quite frankly, he will have to focus more on swing states, which will mean that he will have to pay less attention to California.

HistoricMoment(Q) Dr. Rockeymoore, I’m not sure the American people are as vigilant about sexism and racism. Everyone is so PC. But when they enter the polling place, won’t their votes be determined by their racist and sexist views?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) There will always be racists and sexists among us. However, the important fact of this race is that race and gender have not served as a barrier for voters in the Democratic primaries. This is evidenced by the fact that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the last two candidates standing (out of a field comprised of all white men). I think that the high turnout and level of excitement that voters (black, white and brown) has for both of these candidates suggests that there are many whose votes will not be swayed by racist or sexist views.

MDPROF(Q) Since Obama’s perceived weakness is foreign affairs. Do

you think it is conceivable that he would name Bill Richardson as a

running mate or is that ticket too drastic for American (actually it

was two questions)?

Dr_Martinez(A) Why would this be a drastic ticket? Selecting Richardson as the VP would be a smart move for a variety of reasons. Richardson has both extensive foreign policy experience and executive experience. He also could perhaps induce a greater percentage of Latinos to turnout and vote Democratic.


Dr_Shaw(A) I think the inclusion of Richardson on the ticket would (1) strengthen him in the area of foreign policy; (2) present an interesting coalition and certainly a strong connection between Latino and Black voters in key states; and (3) put a Western governor on the ticket. But as other commentators have noted, this would go in the opposite direction of “de-racializing” Obama’s candidacy. There is just a strong of a case for putting Gov. Janet Nepolitano from Arizona on this ticket; not to mention garnering more of the vote of women.


MDPROF(Q) For Dr. Ramirez: Since Obama’s perceived weakness is foreign affairs. Do you think it is conceivable that he would name Bill Richardson as a running mate or is that ticket too drastic for America?

Dr_Ramirez(A) Having Richardson as his running mate would help him in the Mountain West states like Colorado and Richardson’s home state of New Mexico. Richardson would also definitely bring in some noteworthy foreign affairs experience. However, I am not convinced

that these two things will be enough for him to select a governor/formber cabinet member from somewhere outside of the Midwest or the South. I think that Obama’s campaign will seek out

someone with regional influence in the South or Midwest with foreign affairs credentials. Who this will be is unclear.

hiphopgeneration(Q) Isn’t it all over for Clinton? If so, where did she go wrong?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) She went wrong with her choice of consultants, with her campaign organization, and with her choice of messaging. Senator Clinton enjoyed substantial double digit leads for most of this campaign. Her first tactical error was to let her consultants convince her that she had to put forward an air of “inevitability.” Many people viewed this as an arrogant and misguided strategy. When her campaign failed to organize effectively in Iowa, it lifted the lid on the fact that her campaign was woefully unprepared to run a 21st Century operation that included people on the ground, a large Internet outreach and fundraising apparatus, and other things. Of

course, the overspending didn’t help either. Then comes the question of what to do with former President Bill Clinton. He didn’t help her cause at all. In early speeches he was off message and then many were disturbed by what seemed like his willingness to take over her campaign. There were so many tactical errors made in the Clinton campaign, it is hard to enumerate them all.

Dr_Pedescleaux(A) I don’t think it is over just yet for Sen. Clinton. Maybe after March 4th, it may be over. I think Sen. Clinton thought that Super Tuesday was going to give her a commanding lead and even designate her as the front-runner. When that did not happen, I don’t think her campaign has a Plan B ready. She’s having a difficult time re-grouping.  


blue_man(Q) Dr. Pedescleaux — What kind of pressure have you seen in Ga. with regard to Congressman John Lewis and Congressman David Scott that’s seen them changing their superdelegate vote pledge from Clinton to Obama?

Dr_Pedescleaux(A) I live in Congressman Lewis’ district but have not seen any pressure on either of them to change their vote. It was unfortunate that they came out so early for Sen. Clinton. I think they are re-thinking their support to reflect the popular vote in their districts. Is it political? I think so. Will it stick? I don’t think so, at least not for Lewis. By the way, Lewis is being challenged by a young candidate. However, I don’t believe that it has anything to do with Lewis’ support of Clinton. I think the challenger simply sees this as a good time to strike out as a change candidate.

moderator(Q) “Ready Day One.” “Thirty-five years of experience.” “Solutions, not speeches.” Clinton’s mantras have failed to resonate with voters the way Obama’s have. Why is that?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) It is hard to argue that you are “Ready on Day One” when your campaign apparatus is in shambles and unable to organize effectively. Some say that it is fair to judge how the candidates will run the country based on how they have managed their campaigns. The “thirty-five years of experience” has always been questionable when weighed against Senator Obama’s experiences. Both Clinton and Obama have nontraditional experiences. Clinton’s includes her time as First Lady. Obama’s includes his time serving is a community organizer. But when it came down to it, many voters looked at the fact that Obama actually had more experience in elected office than did Clinton and that his other nontraditional experiences counted just as much as hers did. This had the effect of canceling out the claim of experience. “Solutions, not speeches” rings hollow. Why not solutions AND speeches? I think that Americans don’t believe that it has to be one or the other. At the end of the day, I believe that many have listed to Senator Obama and have heard and intelligent, insightful and authentic candidate whose positions they identify with. This, combined with Senator Clinton’s ill-fated

vote for the War in Iraq, has served to undermine all of her attempts to establish leverage and credibility over Senator Obama.

Dr_Shaw(A) Unfortunately, I think it is the messenger and not the message. There is a “ABH” or anybody but Hillary constituency out in the American public, and I think that Democratic voters for better or worse have picked up on this and made calculations in proportion to Obama’s obvious political skills. Besides, it’s a staple of American politics to run against Washington especially when in Washington there is unpopular President and a “Do-Nothing” Congress. Obama actually benefits by saying, “But I just got there…”


Yemurai(Q) Is there any validity to Latino voters being more apt to vote for Republican as opposed to a Democrat? I am especially referencing female voters between 24 to 45 years old?

Dr_Ramirez(A) I have not seen this in any reliable polls of Latinas and Latinos. In fact, young Latinas are among the most likely to vote for democrats. That is why Latinas outnumber Latino voters in most states.



HistoricMoment(Q) Drawing off of what happened with Harold Ford in Tennessee, does Obama need to have a commanding lead in the polls approaching November?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) Yes. He does need to build a substantial lead beyond the margin of error given that there is a history of many voters telling pollsters one thing and doing something different in the voting booth.

Juan_Garcia(Q) Dr_Martinez: With all the hype on the Democratic race and certainly is going to be historic. Is it possible the Republicans may overtake the Presidency?

Dr_Martinez(A) Unfortunately, I think the answer is “yes” the Republicans can win this election. However I hope it would not happen as a result of the hype or over attention given to the race

and gender of the candidates. I would hope it would be because the American people see the Republican candidate as holding policy views closer to their views, as having the better qualifications, etc. (Of course my husband has always told me that I am foolishly optimistic

when it comes to issues I care about. :-))

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) It is possible, but not probable given that the likely Republican nominee has decided to make the defense of the Iraq War the center piece of his campaign. As you know, this is a very unpopular war and many Americans want to move beyond it. Now, what could happen that could sway the election in favor of the Republicans? Unfortunately, the U.S. could experience a terrorist threat or some other grave instability that frightens the American

public into questioning the Democratic stance on withdrawing in Iraq. If this happens, many Americans may rethink their stance in favor of a President who is pro-war.


hiphopgeneration(Q) Well, Dr. Rockeymoore, did Clinton do anything right?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) I think that remains to be seen. If she wins, we can look back and say that she was wise to invest in winning the large states while ignoring the caucus states. At the moment, however, because she is behind in the delegate count, her campaign’s gambit seems more foolish than wise.

blue_man(Q) Dr. Pedescleaux — African American analysts, such as Smiley, have pointed to issues, such as the disproportionate rate of Black imprisonment, the high rate of Black women with HIV/AIDS, the high dropout rate of young Black men (an issue that affects young Latino men as well), the disparate treatment of Blacks in housing, healthcare, and education as comprising “Black issues” to a certain extent. Shouldn’t Obama speak out forcefully on these issues?

Dr_Pedescleaux(A) Obama has cast himself as a deracialized candidate. I think he will focus on the broader issues and in doing so will focus on issues relevant to the Black community, namely

employment, housing, health care, education and crime. These issues, while they disproportionately impact African American, are universal concerns that all can support.

slake(Q) Have you noticed a Obama bias in the media? Clinton complained about always being asked the first question during the debates. Is there something to this?

Dr_Ramirez(A) I think the Clinton campaign is overanalyzing this. She is simply trying to raise doubts among the undecided voters. If the tables were turned and she was asked second, she would likely complain about not being given the chance to respond first.

Dr_Shaw(A) I believe gender and by extension sexism very much matter in American society. And thus I agree that Clinton’s gender has mattered in this race notwithstanding that she is White (and thus her race also matters.) But I found it strange for her to bring up this “bias”. She might have more artfully have noted this bias and then said something like, “…But I’m happy to set the terms of the debate.”

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) Was there an Obama bias in the media when she was 20 point ahead in the national polls? I find it ironic that these claims of bias are coming now that she is in a tight race. She was not saying this three months ago when she was ahead.

Dr_Pedescleaux(A) The media seems to be giving Obama a pass at this time. The media is still behaving as though Sen. Clinton is the front-runner. Maybe after the March 4th primaries, the tenor of the media will change.

MariaLaDelBarrio(C) ¡Viva la revolucion!

Yemurai(Q) Is there any validity to Latino voters being more apt to vote for Republican as opposed to a Democrat? I am especially referencing female voters between 24 to 45 years old?

Dr_Martinez(A) Party identification does seem to having less saliency for Latinos. Their is a sizable percentage of Latinos who claim to be independent and/or that parties do not matter. and that like to say that they vote for the person. However, I am not aware of any empirical evidence to suggest that in this election (with McCain versus Clinton or Obama) that Latinos would choose the Republican over the Democrat – especially among younger Latinas!

MariaLaDelBarrio(C) El pueblo, unido, jamas sera vencido

Titian(Q) Though we in this country speak of “change”, etc., much of the European press characterizes what is occurring in American politics as “cult-like”, does such statements matter?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) I think that it is interesting that anyone would reference a candidate’s supporters as “cult-like.” Not only is the claim questionable, it undermines the process essential for a functioning democracy. It is legitimate for candidates to persuade and for voters to support those who are most persuasive to them. Don’t call Obama supporters “cult-like” just because so many of them find resonance in his positions and what he has to say.

Titian(Q) Though we in this country speak of “change”, etc., much of the European press characterizes what is occurring in American politics as “cult-like”, does such statements matter?

Dr_Pedescleaux(A) I don’t think this statement matters. I think what we are witnessing is real excitement about this election; an excitement that will bring voters to the polls.


MDPROF(Q) To: Dr. Shaw: If Obama wins the nomination, do you foresee any possibility that he will put Clinton on the ticket. If not, will Bill and Hillary Clinton go all out to help Obama win the general election?

Dr_Shaw(A) I can’t see Clinton being the vice-presidential candidate to Obama, although the other configuration appears more plausible but now less likely (given his ascendancy.) I do believe that some of Clinton’s comments about seeing it as an honor to run against Obama as part of a “United Democratic Front” and that she and Bill would campaign fairly strenously for Obama. After all, they have a legacy to protect if she doesn’t win the nomination.

HistoricMoment(Q) Does McCain have a shot at minority voters?

Dr_Shaw(A) I am loathe to give one word answer but in this case it applies…”no.” Not in significant numbers.

Dr_Ramirez(A) On the whole, he is not likely to do very well among minority voters, but in select cases, I think he does have a chance. Among older Latinos who served in the military, among Latinos in Arizona and Florida, and among those Latinos who view his immigration Reform proposal with Kennedy in a positive light.

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) Sure. He has really been a leader on immigration issues and I think that his support resonates with Latino voters.

moderator(Q) from dutkofski: The issue of race and gender are being discussed as factors in this primary, but isn’t the very nature of the way the races are held causing candidates to shift focus to accommodate the latest polls concerns before each primary? Wouldn’t

wee be better off with a single, national primary runoff before?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) While I think that the idea of a single, national primary is interesting, it fails to provide a readily apparent way for candidates to hear and respond to the unique concerns of voters in various states across the country. There are regional differences and even differences among voters within states. The way the primaries are currently staggered allows candidates to understand and respond to these differences in a way that speaks to the concerns of voters. I don’t know how that would be done effectively in one national primary.


MDPROF(Q) To Dr Rockeymoore: I agree with the idea that the process is necessary to provide a platform to discuss regional issues, however, do you think the primary process is too long?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) It may indeed be too long. Especially in the of digital media age. At the same time, this extended process is getting many people engaged…


deuce125(Q) Dr_Rockeymoore: Do you think Nader will have any impact on the Democrat or Republican votes since he has entered the fray?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) I think that he will have a marginal impact but not enough to make a difference as he did in 2000.

r_square(Q) Dr. Shaw — Do you think Obama’s affiliation with Dr. Jeremiah Wright, an outspoken Black nationalist Christian minister, will prove a detrimental liability for him should he win the Democratic nomination?

Dr_Shaw(A) I know that it has already caused him some consternation with regards to Wright’s reaching out to Farrakhan. But this is the nature of African American politics in Chicago and the relationships between Black liberation preachers such as Wright and other outspoken leaders such as Farrakhan. Obama will have to “tip toe” around renouncing Farrakhan without renouncing his own pastor who of course gave him the entire theme for his campaign: “The Audacity of Hope.” I suspect at some point he’ll say that a good pastor is like a good parent, you don’t have to agree with everything they said to love and admire them.

r_square(Q) Dr. Martinez –Do you think a Latino running mate with  Sen. McCain would put states, such as Illinois, New York, California, in contention for a Republican wins in Blue states against either Clinton or Obama?

Dr_Martinez(A) Perhaps…I just really do not see it ever happening. McCain is already perceived by many conservative Republicans as being to “soft” on illegal immigration. If he selected a Republican Latino who also shares his views on what to do about illegal immigration (and I think they all do) conservative Republicans would stay home on election day.

moderator(C) We at Diverse would like to thank everyone for participating in today’s event. The transcripts from this discussion will posted tomorrow at


Vann(Q) In watching several debates, I have great respect for the demeanor in which Obama is able to maintain. Seldom is he defensive. On the reverse side, Clinton has conveyed a more defensive role that I do not believe has been “masked” very well. How much of a role has this played on the American public. Specifically, female voters?

Dr_Rockeymoore(A) I believe that gender stereotypes make it more difficult for female candidates to be inconsistent in their presentation. Senator Clinton has been viewed as being “all over the map” in terms of her tone, style and message while Senator Obama’s demeanor and message has remained relatively even. This perception of unsteadiness is likely to have had a negative affect on Senator Clinton’s standing in the polls (which are precipitously dropping


Vann(Q) In watching several debates, I have great respect for the demeanor in which Obama is able to maintain. Seldom is he defensive. On the reverse side, Clinton has conveyed a more defensive role that I do not believe has been “masked” very well. How much of a role has this played on the American public. Specifically, female voters?

Dr_Pedescleaux(A) I had dinner with girl friends last Friday and a similar question came up. One friend said that Sen. Clinton appeared to be on her “monthly cycle.” None of them thought her demeanor projected a confident leader who would behave/react well under pressure. American voters want a strong presence in the Oval Office and frankly Sen. Clinton appears to be running scared.


MariaLaDelBarrio(C) But if it is a personality contest, then Barack would win. Nobody wants to sit down and have a beer with a man who has a jaw as stiff as McCain’s and someone who makes people want to fall asleep like McCain does.

blue_man(Q) For Dr. Shaw — How important do you think the support of either Clinton campaigning for Obama, or vice versa, will be for the Democratic candidate in the general election?

Dr_Shaw(A) I think a united front is what the Democrats want overall. So I suspect that either Obama or Clinton will be out on the stomp because both sides know that if they loose this election; the party is in deep trouble.

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