January 23rd, 2008
09:35 AM ET
15 years ago

Martin: Ignoring white Dems in S. Carolina isn't smart

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/01/22/roland.martin/art.martin.cnn.jpg caption="Roland S. Martin says that in some respects, there's a blackout when it comes to talking to white voters."](CNN) - Ever since we got into the thick of the presidential race, reporters, anchors, pundits, columnists and writers have spent a considerable amount of time on the fact that nearly 50 percent of the people who will vote in the South Carolina primary are black.

Considering you have a black male candidate - he's really half white (mom) and half Kenyan (dad), but identifies himself as African-American - and a white woman - who is the wife of a former president beloved by black folks - leading the pack for the Democratic nomination, everyone has been waiting to see how this fight will turn out.

But for the life of me, I don't understand - and have been literally screaming this fact on CNN, on my Chicago, Illinois, radio show and on every possible platform I have - how we can focus on blacks making up nearly 50 percent of the voters, and absolutely, positively, unequivocally ignore the other 50 percent!

Note: Watch Roland Martin on CNN.com Live at 11:10 am ET Wednesday.

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Filed under: Roland Martin
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. Fred


    Instead of complaining about the focus on 50% of the populace, how about writing an OpEd with a focus on the white voters of South Carolina?

    Also, I've noticed a big pattern when it comes to race and this election in regards to your comments on T.V. and writings on the Web. On Monday night you jumped on the racial tension between blacks and hispanics, to which the other members of downplayed the tension.

    January 23, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. Wanda

    The thing that bothers me most is that we claim that we aren't racially segregated anymore, but we have politicians campaigning to specific racial groups or one gender over another. I want to hear one candidate say, "I'm not campaigning to get the 'black' vote or the 'female' vote. I'm campaigning for the vote of the American people and I don't see it as a color or gender issue." But then the different ethnic groups (who claim that they are racially repressed) or one gender over another will be in an uproar that the candidate isn't recognizing them as different. You can't have it both ways, people!

    January 23, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. God Help US All, Atlanta,Georgia

    Roland nails it, and SC will be closer than the experts predict.. to paraphrase the old coach, Lee Corso!

    January 23, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. CJ

    You are right Roland, the white voters of S.Carolina must ask themselves do they count they are 50 percent of the vote. Ask Hillary Clinton do they count?. Obama and Edward seem to think so. Bill Clinton is not running for there vote. If she thought they did she would be there.

    January 23, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Lucy

    I'd like to know why Hillary and Bill originally brought up the "black voter" focus and why the media continue to focus on it. It's obvious that it's a divisive tactic used by the Clintons in an attempt to marginalize Obama as solely a "black candidate" and scare off white voters. Disgusting. I wouldn't vote for Clinton now if you paid me to do so. So much for a "United States of America".

    January 23, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  6. Christopher Porter

    We have to understand that every issue is media driven. Ignore the media and vote for who you think would be best. there is a reason they throw all of these numbers at us. The numbers tell us where to go or where not to go. The ni=umbers tell you to pick a side.

    January 23, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. JJ, CA

    According to the latest poll Obama is getting only 18% of white votes in SC.
    But he still wins easily overall.
    I think SC win will be a defeat for Obama in the big picture.
    The results in SC is going to define him as a black candidate whether he like it or not.
    It is going to drive white votes away from him in the rest of the country.

    January 23, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Tom Wittmann

    Dietrich Cusseaux

    Do not be astonished because there are so few comments !!

    The fact is that CNN seem to be suppressing them !

    January 23, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. Jose

    When African-Americans deliver a win to Barack Obama in South Carolina, it will be a sword that cuts both ways. Yes, he'll have won his first primary, but he will also be seen as "the black candidate". The media will predictably focus on Obama's race aand on the race of the voters that delivered his victory.

    I predict an unhealthy narrative will develop from this expected Obama SC victory.

    January 23, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. Super Tuesday- can't wait. NJ for Hillary

    To be quite honest as an African-American male I am supporting the candidate I truly think can lead this country into greatness again. I am supporting the candidate who I believe is most capable and experienced. The candidate with a vision and substance and strength. It has nothing to do with race or gender because if it did I would be supporting Barack Obama. Go Hilary Clinton for President ! New Jersey can't wait to deliver its votes to you and America can't wait to send you to the Whitehouse !

    I really hope Blacks and Whites in South Carolina vote logically and not based on race or even gender for that matter. Look at the candidates' record, experience, abilities (especially against the Republicans in Nov) and then cast the vote. You will find that Hillary will win.

    January 23, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Okay, someone needs to point out the obvious to Mr. Martin. You can't look at the South based solely on population. You must look at the political affiliation of that population. The South is overwhelmingly republican. Blacks, on the other hand, vote in large part democrat. So Mr. Martin is confused why the democrat candidates are concentrating on the black vote? Earth to Roland! The black populous is where the democrats get most of their votes in the South.

    You don't see Huckabee talking mainly about blacks in the South. Instead he talks about religious moral values. Why? Because the South is the heart of the Bible belt. They are ultra conservative evangelicals. They are right to lifers and don't vote overwhelmingly democrat.

    I have a hard time believing Roland Martin is as stupid as he comes across in this article.

    January 23, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. joy

    Clinton has shrugged off the white vote in SC she is not even campaigning out there

    January 23, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. carol

    Thank you.

    I am glad someone is interested in what the rest of the US is thinking.

    I would have no problem voting for Bozo the Clown if I thought he was the best candidate. I just happen to think Hillary is the best for the US.

    January 23, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. CM, OH

    As every news person showed, it's fairly easy to ignore an entire group of people when it came to the primaries in Michigan.

    January 23, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Becky

    Why don't you post the comments from everyone....not just select the ones you want to??? It isn't fair CNN....I am not going to watch CNN anymore...going on over to MSNBC!!! and I know this post will not be added either!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. Tom Wittmann

    This is the Gist of my comment suppressed by CNN. unfortunately, I have made no copy:

    N.C. white majority for Hillary Clinton, contrary to what happened in other states, is a comprehensible reaction to the perception that blacks are voting Obama only because he is black

    And that women should consider the possibility that Hillary is acting as a front for Bill, and that it could be that as she is so convinced of her capabilities, she even does not realize it !

    January 23, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. D in SF

    You can thank your own network, CNN for creating the "race race". Nobody else (public and new media) seems to care but them.

    January 23, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. Focus

    His townhall meetings are not just for one group of people. It's the MEDIA that is causing the race and gender issues. I don't think any of the candidates are just going for one group....

    January 23, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. Becky

    Yes...CNN IS SUPPRESSING COMMENTS...You bet they are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. DP

    I support Obama and will vote for him but I believe Hillary will win the nomination.
    I am an African American female, 60 years of age, who has voted Democrat all my life but will vote Republican AGAINST Hillary. If she wins, it will be business as usual!

    January 23, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. Donald, Butte, MT

    Yeah, what about the White folks down in SC and the hispanics and other majorities?

    Wasn't it Barack Obama that said "There is no Red America, there is no Blue America, there is only the United States of America!".

    Is he running to be President of Black Democrats only or as President of the United States - which conincidentaly includes ALL Americans.

    January 23, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. Deborah

    So many of the people who commented on this site have reinforced what my husband and I said the past two weeks – who will feel sympathy for a black man? Obama is "crying and whining"??? When did he do that?!?! When Hillary Clinton went on tv in Hew Hampshire and "cried" everyone felt sympathy – oh my she is human after all. He is vulnerable. Women all over flocked to vote for her. a black man says only that he wants to run against the candidate whose name is on the ballot and the media and voters claim he is a cry baby and whiner. Wow! And we claim that there is no double standard. I will say it again – the public will get exactly what it votes for

    January 23, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. abate

    I am not a US citizen. I admire how American democracy is in the campaign trial. I am a black man having white wife and two children. I also like to say this "Please,please don't inject racism knowngly or unknowngly in the campaign trial for political gain only-the world can expect and learn more from American democracy."
    Good Luck for all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. Khwaty

    The campaign of Obama in SC is focused on black voters which I find disturbing; if he's a "uniter" as he claim to be, he should be campaigning for both with the same intensity.

    Its so nice to be in a dream world, the man claiming to be a "uniter" is now dividing this country into race. What a shame.

    January 23, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. Tyharri

    I hope we're not being misled by another media trap. THEY decide what makes it to tv. Barack is too smart not to be campaigning for all voters but guess which forums make it to the news? I wonder how the black voters in NH and Iowa felt when all they talked about was the white vote out there? The media today is not too far from the media in foreign nations that forces their citizens to watch what they want them to see....stay vigilant people.

    January 23, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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