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.

Full story

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


    As a long time supporter of Obama, I have to say his camp is too weak. The Clintons have so many negative things that can be used against them. Instead, Obama always come out to defend himself. Obama will lose this election, if he always come out to defend himself. How come his campaign is not making the Clintons come out to defend all of those scandals around them?

    I am starting to reduce my support for Obama because of his weak campaign strategy. Obama act too confident before an election, then come out to defend himself after losing. I am a fighter, and I do not like losers. Obama is becoming a loser.

    January 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Democrat in NY

    I amazed at the few comments about the war.

    John January 23, 2008 2:12 pm ET

    "First of all, Hillary did take responsibility for her take on the war. She admitted she made a mistake. "

    She did not Mani – never called it a mistake – says she was mislead. She never even read the report that she claims mislead her. Bought and paid for!

    SHE WAS MISLEAD.. Is she a kid???? and oohh I am sorry…weep weep. weep..Who is responsible for so many deaths in Iraq???
    No wonder Hillary supporters are uneducated…Its not me saying..Its the exit polls.

    January 23, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. linda savannah ga

    I am a registered dem and have been for all my voting life but this year I am going with the republicans. There is to much mud slinging and both foxes should smell their own s... before bringing down the other

    January 23, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Lisa

    This guy is great! Finally, someone who can talk about racial differences head on and not sound like a racist. It's about time we tackled our issues head on! Talking about this stuff will lead to a better understanding of one another. Those calling him a racist are only projecting their own racist feelings onto him. -white woman in california.

    January 23, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. dee

    Billary camp spinning out of controll

    Obama 08

    January 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. Maeve

    To the people who spout off here that they won't vote for Clinton if she is the Democratic nominee:

    If you truly want your vote to go for the good of the country and your choices are, for instance =

    McCain, who sings "Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb Iran," and imagines U.S. troops being in Iraq for another 100 years, and Clinton, who – like all the democratic candidates – speaks of working for a withdrawal from Iraq

    – would you really vote for McCain?

    If you say, "yes," then you probably really aren't a Democrat and certainly you really aren't concerned with the future of our country.

    Just wanted to let you know you're not fooling many here.

    For there to be any progress towards greater civility within the United States and improved relations with countries around the world and a greater respect for America, you must vote for the Democratic nominee, no matter who he or she is and no matter what color their skin happens to be.

    January 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. dave

    An amazing article that completely glosses over whats really going on here. As a white male Republican in NC, I'm no fan of either candidate. But Obama is on a downward arc. He started out as a message of hope, able to appeal to all Americans. Now he is systematically being painted into a corner, as just another 'black' candidate, who will win a few primaries in the South and then peter out. The Clintons and their surrogates are doing all they can every day to remind white people, and Hispanics, that Obama is black. They are pushing the black vote at Obama as fast as they can, hoping the Hispanic vote will react by supporting Hilary when they see blacks unite behind Obama. And whites of both parties will react the same way, although they will never admit it. Its a great strategy.
    Too bad this article doesnt address the deviousness of it.
    And as for the comment about Obama's white mother, that's a pretty low blow. Implying he's half-white seems like a good way to pry a few black votes from Obama's camp. A poster a few comments up said the author is on Obama's side, but I doubt it seriously.
    I just hope people of all races are reading between the lines and paying close attention. The defeat of Obama is going to be a case study in political theory for decades to come. Peace out!

    January 23, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. HC

    What do you mean "identifies himself"? He IS African-American! In fact, he LITERALLY is African-American. Get a map and do some research before you write such nonsense.

    January 23, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. Graduate Student

    Whats funny is that the media is always talking about how the blacks in South Carolina are nearly the majority when there are 3 whites for every 1 black in SC. The primaries in SC are really being hyped up. If the democratic presidential candidates were all white, the black vote would be of no concern. We would only look at the issues and how each candidate plans to handle those issues. But, no, since we have a black candidate, the issues have been thrown out of the window. The only thing that we seem to care about now is race. If I dont vote for Obama, im considered a sell out which is really messed up. I want to vote for the candidate who can take care of America the best. I used to think that Obama would make a great Vice President. He could be the first black Vice President and then the first black President. But now, im not even sure about that. His camp loves to attack, but whenever the Clintons or Edwards camp returns fire, Obama's camp wants to complain about it. In Nevada, so many people thought that Obama was going to win, but he didn't. The majority of women and hispanics voted for Hillary and she won by a very large percent. America wants change alright, but that change is going to have to come through Hillary Clinton who we hope to be the first female president of the United States of America.

    January 23, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. jake

    sorry this guy is baised. He is number 1 Obama fan.

    January 23, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Roger Williams

    As per your comment, why did Bill Clinton locate his presidential office in Harlem, New York? To secure the black vote for his wife Sen, Clinton.. The Clintons are playing the race card to divide the democractic party vote. Moreover, Charlie Rangal and the rest of the do-nothing black leaders are backing the Clintons-however, President Bush had more blacks in his cabinet go figure. This is called the Banality of evil-evil is commonplace. White voters in S.C. are also backing Obama and not Clinton. In addition, the media is not presenting the data correctly to the American people. It is time for the collective conscious -the demos to take back this process -we will start with S.C. first......

    January 23, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  12. Sig, Los Angeles CA

    I am just amazed to hear how Democrats talk about other Democrats which is why we'll always be the party of just half of the country and never able to pull some moderate Republicans and Independants. If there ever was a year ANY Dem should win the White House, it is this year and sadly it will not be because of the mean spiritness and name calling on both sides. I'm so done with the Democratic Party, all parties to be honest; however, there is a LARGE group of young and educated voters who are registering independant and I will join that group. I have voted for a Democrat since I was legally able to vote in '92 when I voted for Bill Clinton. But now, I'm just exhausted and sadden by this party who will tear down their own and ruin reputations instead of thinking what's good for the party.

    January 23, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. Phd Level

    dave January 23, 2008 3:13 pm ET
    And as for the comment about Obama's white mother, that's a pretty low blow. Implying he's half-white seems like a good way to pry a few black votes from Obama's camp

    How is that a low blow Dave? It is a fact. Is there something wrong with saying that someone is of mixed race? Whats wrong with his mother being white? Its a fact. At the end of the day, Obama is still black but he is not a traditional African-American. A traditional African-Americans has a long line of ancestors from the US. Some people who are directly from the continent of Africa or are African, but born in the US do not even respect "African-Americans" because they say that we are not true Africans (which is very stupid). When blacks hear about him being mixed, it doesn't even matter to us, because there is a lot of that going around. But, when blacks found out that his father is African, a lot of African-Americans started to say that he is not really black in the traditional sense. We even began to wonder if he felt the same way about us. I know, its crazy to think, but many blacks have wondered about it. I will continue to call him black, but in the back of my mind, I am thinking that there is a chance that Obama is going to be the first African President, not the first Black President.

    January 23, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. Sig, Los Angeles CA

    Roger Williams:

    "As per your comment, why did Bill Clinton locate his presidential office in Harlem, New York? To secure the black vote for his wife Sen, Clinton."

    Unfortunately, Bill should move his office to 5th Avenue because his effort has failed. Why on earth do they think they can attack Obama the way they have and still garner the black vote? Sure, many blacks do have affinity towards Bill, not Hillary necessairly; however, the mistake that Bill, and some other whites, make is that they mistake affinity and admiration for love and affection, which Obama has. Just because you may get along with black people and some may say 'you're my brotha', when it comes to reality, a black man will always win out against someone who's just invited to the party.

    January 23, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. Roger Williams

    There is a document that exclaims, "We the poeple..." America needs a type of leader who wants what is good for Americans and not whats good for the lobbyist who own 80% of politicians and law-makers at both the state level and in Washington.

    January 23, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. Barrie

    So happy to hear someone say it ... as a native South Carolinian & longtime Democrat, I've been feeling slighted by the media coverage of "SC's 50% black Democrats." It's not that simplistic.

    There will be white folks who vote for Obama – black folks who vote for Clinton – and some folks of both races who vote for Edwards because they're sick of hearing the bickering back & forth between the two frontrunners. The most important criteria to most voters isn't either race or gender ... it's the candidate's stand on issues. But, character counts & this endless backbiting doesn't reflect well on anyone.

    Let the media cover the real news – not the polls predicting tomorrow's ... or even Saturday's news. Isn't recent experience enough to tell us that polls cannot be relied upon?

    January 23, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. Ann Lorne

    So many voters seem incredibly stupid. All one has to do is to listen to ALL the debates of both parties; watch political shows on TV, read editorials relating to all candidates, and honestly ask themselves WHICH CANDIDATE HAS THE OVERALL EXPERIENCE AND INTELLIGENCE TO HANDLE COMPETENTLY ALL THE ISSUES THAT WILL BE AT HAND ON DAY ONE OF THE INAUGURATION.

    It's a no-brainer, folks. It's definitely HILLARY CLINTON who can unify the races, political opponents, and any and all problems!! Obama is an excellent speaker and probably will have a successful future but is NOT READY FOR THE U.S. PRESIDENCY YET . He needs to acquire a vast amount of real experience before he can be a really qualified candidate for this important office.

    January 23, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. demwit

    You mean there are still white people in South Carolina??

    January 23, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Tom Masters

    Again, there are no 'white dems' there are dems.

    This entire approach is racist.

    People are people, they are not black people or white people.

    We are all people.

    January 23, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. Ruth Mctizic

    As an Obama contributor/supporter.........It is the media focused on the black vote in SC. Obama's message and the person that he is has been overshadowed
    by the need to defend himself against the distortion of facts by the Clintons. I;m reasonably sure that Obama is not disregarding the white vote in SC.....remember he is a uniter. I will breathe a si of relief when that primary is over and he can resume the type of campaign he started and was so successful
    in Iowa. The Clintons will do anything to erase that from the minds of blacks,whites,. and latinos. If Hillary is the nominee...for the first time in my life
    I will be voting for a republican president.

    January 23, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Carlos, Los Angeles

    What is it with the Obama supporters and the Independents? I am so tired of hearing them state if Hillary wins I'm going to vote for the Republican candidate. Go ahead and vote Republican, don't forget it was the Independents who helped get us in the mess we are now in and they will help to continue the same failed policies since they helped the Republicans take power. It is important that we focus on all voters, and yes I'm a Clintonista, however If Obama won the nomination of my party I would support him 100% and vote for him in November because I'm a loyal democrat and I believe it's the democrats who are going to best solve the issues our country is facing. There is not much difference from Obama or Clinton on their platforms, I just believe Hillary is the right candidate for the times we are in. Wake-up Democrats, stop the family fight.

    January 23, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. SKC Ogbonnia

    That the newsmedia has the potential to determine electoral outcome is well chronicled in history. The role of the US media in the 2008 Presidential primary underscores that fact. First, the press built up Senator Hillary Clinton probably because of the sympathy generated from the ipeachment saga or accomplishments/popularity of former President Bill Clinton. It was therefore natural for Mrs. Clinton to lead in early polls. But the same press also recognizes that a competitive primary offers an opportunity for high ratings and financials gains for the different networks. As such, it was important for the media to encourage other Democratic rivals, particularly Senators Obama and Edward and their WIVES to begin attacks on Senator Clinton in earlier debates and primaries. As at then Bill Clinton was virtually absent, which made some sections of the press to suggest that Bill probably didn't want the wife to win the nomination. Thereater, Mrs. Clinton's lead began to erode...resulting in the competitive race so desired by the almighty media.

    As soon as Obama started looking believable for the presidency, the same press drew several stories, including Bill's "fairy tale" speech and Hillary's tears before New Hempshire. The situation was so bad that Clinton's victory in New Hempshire was simply a protest vote from women and die-hard Clinton supporters. Bye, Bye, Obama...

    Barrack Obama is the son of a white woman and a Kenyan father, hardly a typical Black American. As Ronald Martin noted in the CNN story, Obama is indeed more white than black. Instead the press crafted or suppored stories to paint Obama black–knowing fully well that a good number of Americans are NOT ready for a black president, for now. If not, how on earth could any one build a conclusion that Mrs. Clinton's comment on MLK was racially motivated? Even if it was, did press need to drum that story as it did and continues to do?

    In sum, the news media built Senator Hillary Clinton to win the presidency but wanted a competitive primary. At this point, Obama should resist the temptation of being used to enrich the financial fortunes of the different news agencies, by attacking the Clintons and, consequently, hurting his Democratic base and his promising future. Obama's problem is NOT the Clintons, but a biased US press!!

    January 23, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. PS, KC, MO

    Thank you, Roland.
    I realize that, if the Black population breaks sharply one way or the other, it will decide the primary and have a definite impact on the nomination. But we need to be looking beyond that to the general election. If the Democrats ignore the rest of the population, they will remember that whe it comes time for the general election and vote overwhelmingly Republican.

    January 23, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. californian power

    In every election everything about the candidate will come out, even her/his soul. But this coming presidential elections is a unique one in our history... the almost certain candidate of a major party is either be a woman or an African-American which further make the case more fragile. Whether we will admit publicly or not I am sure that each one of us has his/her own view about the candidate's race and gender that I am sure will influence our decisions to choose.

    I am a life-long Democrat but in every election I vote for a PERSON and not for a PARTY (that's why I sometimes vote for Republicans). I rooted for Richardson but since he's out I am leaning towards Hillary.

    BTW, I am Asian but I love my African-American brother-in-law to death. GOOD LUCK AMERICA AND GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.!!!

    January 23, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Cliff,Baltimore MD

    When will they fire this guy..... If you want to blame any news organization/individual for pulling the race card in this election blame this character. Ronald Martin.

    He only talks about faith, race, and reasons we should doubt Obama.
    ugggghh....What do you see when you look in the mirror, Ronald??????

    Nothing that he's ever reported on has been newsworthy..think about it...
    do you remember his segment on What Jesus Would Do???

    Heres some advice Ronald...go back to school, diversify your portfolio, and try it again.

    Them self-hating ones are always the toughest.
    If you know what I mean.

    January 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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