big ad

kaus files dot com logo

Why Gore Won't Pick Richardson

An impolite thought ...


Posted Monday, April 24, 2000

        Energy Secretary Bill Richardson is among the most-mentioned of potential Democratic vice-presidential picks, heavily touted on the McLaughlin Group and anywhere Robert Novak is permitted to express himself. Richardson's unique selling proposition: He's half-Hispanic. This is supposed to give the Democrats a leg up with the "burgeoning Hispanic vote."

        Hmmm. Let's think about this for more than two seconds. Hispanics now constitute about 5 percent of the national electorate. African-Americans, on the other hand, are 10 percent of the electorate. Hispanics are concentrated in states like California, New York, and Florida whose electoral votes are not up for grabs in 2000 (they are safe for either Bush or Gore). But black voters are a factor in the presidential swing states of the Midwest. Congressional Democrats also need a large black turnout if they are to regain the House.

        Here is the impolite thought: Will black voters really be inspired to vote Democratic if Gore chooses a Hispanic VP nominee, when the Democrats have never chosen a black VP nominee? Will African-Americans turn out in solidarity with their fellow oppressed people of color? Or will they resent this newer immigrant group jumping the queue, so to speak, to claim the first minority spot on a national ticket?

        That's crude, I know. But then the whole idea that Hispanics will vote automatically for Richardson because he's Hispanic is pretty crude to begin with. We're talking crude here, as is often the case when we play identity politics. On this crude level, choosing a Hispanic running mate seems like a pretty good way to trigger not-very-submerged African-American fears that their privileged place as America's most prominent minority is about to be usurped, even as Hispanic immigrants pass them on the economic ladder and in sheer numbers. You don't have to live in Miami (where there were riots in the black part of town after two blacks were shot and killed by a Hispanic policeman) to recognize that relations between these two American minorities are not a simple, PC-friendly matter.

        Certainly it's hard to believe that Gore and his advisers are dumb enough to be stampeded by the media's Great Hispanic Awakening hype. Sure, Gore could still pick Richardson on the grounds that the energy secretary's ability outweighs any consideration of ethnic politics--i.e., in spite of, rather than because of, Richardson's unique ethnic selling proposition. But kausfiles suspects Gore will be more calculating (and cruder) than that.

        New E-mail service: Sign up, using the ListBot gizmo below, and you will be notified by e-mail whenever there's a new item on [Note: this service is free. You'll be asked a couple of demographic questions; if you find them annoying just leave them unanswered.]

Join the mailing list!
Enter your email address below,
then click the 'Join List' button:
Powered by ListBot

Is Robert Wright a Marxist?

posted 03.20.00

        Recently archived:

        How Convenient! Now McCain tells us.

        Now She's Done It Maybe that nice centrist Mrs. Clinton really is against welfare reform.

        Pardon Our Reporting Clinton left the door wide open!

        Elian: An Overlooked Angle? Castro did Clinton a big favor last year.

        Boomers Against Death The shift against the death penalty isn't necessarily a shift to the left.

        The Perfect Campaign All e-mail, all the time!

        No Justice, No Paez The LAT and 'judicial activism.'

        Kausfiles Battles for the Vital Center! Why Bush has plenty of time to reposition himself.

        Clean Sheets The case for selling the Lincoln Bedroom.

        Don't Push It, Hillary Plus: kausfiles moves its cheese!

        Faster Politics Why 'momentum' ain't what it used to be.

        Why I Hate Exit Polls Do they prove Bradley's heart scare doomed him?

        NYT Reader Alert! Giuliani vs. the non-profits.

        Jeffrey Toobin, Chicken! Fifth of a series.

        Hillary's Shocking Truth Plus: the Nissan Cojones Watch.

        Hit Poems A kausfiles contest.

        Gore's Press Problem Plus: How he blew his chance for a New Hampshire knockout.

        Bush Knows What "Regatta" Means Bradley's SATS; the media's moodswing; the neolibs' nightmare.

        Jeffrey Toobin, Hypocrite, Part III! How dare Isikoff write a book, says Toobin in his book.

        Not Gotcha Why Gore's gay flip was a genuine gaffe.

        Pay Up, Shrum! Litmus test flip-flop smoking gun.

        Jeffrey Toobin, Hypocrite 'Tawdry voyeurism,' anyone?

        Cuomo Family Values Did Mario raise his son to be Hillary's Boy?

        DeParle Gets Half the Story The NYT doesn't tell us what we need to know about Milwaukee's poor.

        Bill Clinton Wants You on Welfare! Is this the dole administration after all?

        The Pornographer Who Didn't Bark Why wouldn't Flynt bust Newt?

        Yes, There Are Easy Answers! The NYT and WaPo find a quick fix for affirmative action.

        Who Stole Nissan's Cojones? Jerry Hirshberg'a got a lot of ... chutzpah!

        Doesn't Anyone Want to Be Famous? The political opportunity of a lifetime.

        The Ending of the Black Underclass, Part XVIII African-American welfare receipt falls to new low.

        Just Buzz Me! Synergy City! Harvey Weinstein plans a TV show based on Talk.

        Is Daniel Patrick Moynihan the Devil? A review of the evidence to date.

        Harvey Scores Again! An exciting new Talk contest.

        Is It Over? Clinton's Pathetic Second Term Revealing the one Big Thing he still might accomplish.

        Maybe Bush Didn't Snort Coke -- Maybe He Dropped Acid! One solution to the Bush drug mystery.

        George Bush, Drug Pioneer? Bush's pharmacological time-line seems a little ... out of the mainstream.

        Will Tina Fire Lucinda? Talk and truth.

Copyright 2000 Mickey Kaus.

In Association with