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. Joe

    CNN print the truth and stop picking and chosing user comments.

    CNN gives Roland Martin too much exposure when it is evident during his analysis on your programs he is pro-Obama. So, why not tell him to take his "reaching out to whites for votes" directly to Obama? Seriously, this guy posted some "second coming" commentary about Obama within the past two weeks on CNN and then CNN changed the title of his piece after it had floated on the CNN home page all day. Where is the truth behind that decision?

    Also, Obama has been running from being labeled as the "black candidate" and with his win in South Carolina, Roland is just attempting to play down the large black turn out for Obama and the low vote turn out by whites and latinos for Obama. Who is fearing the "black candidate label" more Obama or Roland? Trying to downplay and spin the point just makes Roland and Obama look desperate. Tell Roland to stick to the radio.

    January 23, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. therealist

    It's the democrats have made this into a contest about race. Obama will win the states with more black voters so Hillary is spending her time in states with mostly white voters. "This is an electoral contest" as Hillary's pollster said. And since the DNC is 60% white and 40% black, the white people of the South are left out of this DNC race. No pun intended..

    January 23, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Jon

    Good for you Roland. Yes he has to say that he's half black & white. Does he not have any respect for his mother's heritage? That's sad that he doesn't say much about his mother's heritage.

    January 23, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. James Brown ( Independent )

    The American people are smarter then some people seem to think. It is very clear to most folks that the Clinton's are trying to make race an issue , and use all there gutter tactics to win at any cost.

    And by the slim chance the Clinton's do worm there way back into the White House , what you will get is another do nothing congress , a house divided , and a President that runs on self – will.

    But i don't think we have to worry much about Clinton because, there is just no way she can win in the General Election. She won't get the Independent vote , and more and more Democrats every day , are willing to cross party lines to keep her out of the White House.

    January 23, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. Chris, Middletown, CT

    "who is the wife of a former president beloved by black folks" – I would be really curious to hear from these people...and find out specifically which of Hillarys proposals they are supporting...I truly believe its the "theres always someone else to blame" game

    January 23, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Enough said.

    This isnt actually Obamas fault. Its the African American communitys fault. With some ridiculous 80% 10% split, everyone will KNOW for a fact they voted for Obama because of race.

    Nothing turns white voters off more than having to judge someone based on the issues alone, when the very same black voters who DEMAND that kind of justice run off and vote for Obama BECAUSE HE IS BLACK.

    Its going to cause an even HARSHER split in white vote in clintons favor.

    January 23, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. k2p

    So true, maybe its the media that brings up the blacks votes because any intelligent person know that white people vote too in SC. Sometime the media just don't know what to say.

    January 23, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. CD

    I know this isn't the point of your article, but thank you for pointing out that Obama is just as much "white" as he is "black". Everyone considers him the "black" candidate, but couldn't he just as easily be the "white" candidate?

    January 23, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. James Brown ( Independent )

    CNN PLEASE ( STOP ) SUPPRESSING PEOPLES COMMENTS !

    I am a 51 year old white male , and Obama gets my vote.

    Most people in this country are smart enough to see the Clinton's and the media are going out of there way to make this thing about race.

    January 23, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. ttj

    Maybe because blacks tend to vote for democrats, and thus will have particular influence in making South Carolina's choice for the democratic nominee? Whatever the case, I hope black voters there will consider voting for John Edwards.

    January 23, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. Randall, Knoxville, TN

    While Obama has the right to "identify" with whatever group he choses, I'd like to see him acknowledge his White American mother more than he has. Not as an issue but as point of fact that should recognized as part of his heritage whenever he's being described as the "fill-in-the-blank" candidate by media. It probably doesn't sound glamorous to be described as "mixed" but so what? We aren't voting for race anyway, are we? Let the man stand on his own merits and judge him accordingly. Isn't that what the minority talking-heads have been clamoring for?

    January 23, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Lisa, Texas

    You people act as though the African American population in SC grew overnight since Obama is running for President. Get real!

    The vote in SC from the AA have been the deciding vote for many candidates.

    Not a candidate out there has not pressed hard for the SC African American vote.

    Roland is funny. Yes the Caucasian vote means something, but so does the African American vote.

    January 23, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Lisa, Texas

    So is Roland saying the media plays favorites to certain cultures, depending on what the news is about?

    If this is his point, he needs to be more clear for me in understanding his argument.

    January 23, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Millie

    I am an African American senior citizen who have voted Democratic since age 18. However, I have also voted for republicans such as Senator Arlen Spector everytime he has faced election. So I am capable of chosing good qualified candidates what ever their party. From the start this time around, my candidate of choice has been Bill Richarson, who is most qualified of the democrats, but has been largely ignored by the media and general public. Bill Richardson recognized this and has withdrawn from the race. This leaves me with whom of the three remaining Democrats are most qualified. Black people say Hillary because her husband, Bill, is black (has even been referred to as the first black president) and has always supported black people and has slept with so many black women prior to Hillary. Blacks who are saying this are putting Bill Clinton in the same category as the slave masters who also have slept with many of their female slaves. However, Bill Clinton chose not to marry and take to Arkansas' governor 's mansion and to the White House a black woman. Yet, Blacks still idolize Clinton for sleeping with Black women.

    January 23, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    well here we go again. there is so much focus on black vote in South carolina it make it seem nobody else count. There are other people in South Caroline beside black people. this need to stop. once again race come in to play. Get out and vote your choice we are America

    January 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. TruthTelling

    Hillary Clinton salivates about fighting with the Republicans. She brags about waiting for them to attack her. That's an opinion based in fact.

    With that said, how can anyone recognize the ineffectiveness of our government due to insane partisan bickering and believe that Hillary Clinton will be able to get anything done as POTUS with her mentality of demonizing Republicans? How in the world will she be able to carry Democrats in Congressional races across the country in to office with her brand of polarizing politics?

    Wake up! Democrats can not win the WH with just Democrats and Hillary's rhetoric proves that we will see a continuation of the same type of "politics as usual" from not only the last 8 years, but the wars and hyper-distrust from the 90's if she is elected. Where's the attraction in that for Independents and Republicans disillusioned with their own party?

    Obama offers the best hope to lead a unification of our country around healing our many divisions, achieving the big goals needed to move our nation forward domestically and internationally, and he has the proven legislative record and campaign success to show that he can draw Independents and Republicans to join in that goal.

    Cynicism is not the answer, nor is hardened loyalty that diminishes if not outright ignores reality. We need that "working coalition" or else we'll sink deeper in to the depressive malaise that has effectively paralyzed our once great American spirit.

    January 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. "D"

    Isn't it a shame that no matter how you cut it, it all comes back to race....it won't go away but I fault no one for wanting to put a uniter in the white house. The question is, who is the true UNITER? I'm sure all the candidates have their short comings but we need to read between the lines and think for ourselves. Remember the old saying that went something like ...."DON'T BELIEVE WHAT YOU HEAR AND ONLY HALF OF WHAT YOU SEE?" Try doing some research on our government and the powers that be over the last 60 years. We are trending to an era that will "SHOCK AND AWE" US ALL!!! Go to this web site: YouTube – NORTH AMERICAN UNION & VCHIP TRUTH......there are several videos. Then ask yourself...."what is all the rhetoric all about?" The race question is not even the issue!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. mixed

    as a person of mixed origin, when i walk down a street of drunk, racist "good ol' boys", i am black and that's all. they don't care if my dad is white, or whatever. why emphasize that obama is not "really" black, or even that his dad is kenyan? are we revoking his "hang-out" card, or showing he's more of foreign origin (playing into that "he's a muslim" conspiracy)? nearly all african americans have some white in them, and those that don't tend to be of more recent immigration from africa...hmmm where kenya is. just doesn't make sense to play around with what his mom is or what his dad is.

    by the way, I'm a clinto fan but this kind of crap transcends politics...or maybe perfectly illustrates it.

    January 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Cindy

    to all the voters in SC think smart about voting listen to the candidates and about who will be the best candidates who can save the country for the best, yes we need change are they talking about change for the best or for the worst?
    The biggest questions is who can beat the Republican? is it Obama with no experince at all or is it Hillary? if it Obama get ready Mcain will eat him alive that's for sure.
    as a black african american I don't thing Obama is ready at all for this game.
    Enough about this racist issue, don't you all think they should focusing about what's good for the Country.

    January 23, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. Ron Loggins

    I find this entire RACIAL reporting extremely irritating. How in the world is the American electorate going to get beyond the racial/gender issue if the the news media can't!!! Every day, every hour, there is a 15 to 20 minute special report or segment on some blasted poll segregating the nation!! We all know it (race and or gender) will play a part in the final decision but wouldn't be GREAT if the media actually found a way to downplay it. I believe MOST Americans are going to make their decision based on the character, proposed programs, and policies of the candidates. What we need from the NEWS MEDIA is tougher questions that require more specific answers. The stakes are HUGE and we need to get more facts on issues and fewer race/gender polls.

    January 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. JK Powell

    The dems need to be a party of inclusion. That means the whites in dixie or they will not regain the White House. Instead we will get more of the same with John McCain.

    January 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. barry

    I often hear round table discussions about how the clintons are in danger of alienating black voters with their negative campaign tactics. What everyone is failing to realize is that Obama is garnering approximately 40 percent of the white vote nationwide; they too will be disenfranchised and not motivated when november comes if the clintons strong arm their way to the nominatioin. I am a white person who normally votes with the democrats. I will not vote for the clintons if they win the nomination; notice i said they. There are tens of millions of democratic voters like me in this country. The democrats are about to score the winning touchdown...for the other team.

    January 23, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. Gene

    CNN is indirecting promoting race/gender card in this election. That's not what matters, issues and truthfulness matter most in this election. CNN! please stop dividing the democratic party.

    January 23, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. Al, KS

    I'll say it again, Roland, it's the black vote that will be ignored in SC. At the end of the day, whoever wins the white vote will be "declared" the winner. True but sad. The black vote just will not count. After CNN and all the other pudits, split the vote into all of their demographics...it will be "and oh, by the way, blacks voted for Obama."

    January 23, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. Scott in Asheville, NC

    I think we saw in the SC debate who acted Presidential and who could lead by example. VOTE Edwards for President.

    January 23, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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