Saturday, January 05, 2008

What the Obama and Huckabee Wins in Iowa Mean

Barak Obama and Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses this week. For Huckabee, a virtual unknown three months ago, to win on a shoestring budget is quite amazing. But the bigger story is Barak Obama's win. Obama, an African-American, won in overwhelming white Iowa. This just shows how far Americans have come on racial issues. Fifty years ago, fifty percent of Americans said they would not vote for someone who is black. Today, that number is around 6 percent. Whatever you think of his politics, the fact that Americans in at least one state were willing to nominate an African-American is a good thing and a feel good story.

In fact, the news of Obama's stunning victory over Hillary Clinton, who had been the frontrunner and finished 3rd, was the shot that was heard all around the world. This coverage has been reported worldwide. Here are a few examples.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080105/ap_on_el_pr/a_black_president

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/01/04/wuspols504.xml

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Editorial/TODAYS_ARTICLE_The_Race_Is_On/articleshow/2676080.cms

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article3134331.ece

Many commentators have said that Huckabee's and Obama's nominations are a sign that the country is ready for a change from the divisive politics of the past. They both spoke of bringing political parties together. Obama spoke of a "purple America," not blue or red states. Of course, we have heard this from other politicians in the past who were running for president, but they got to Washington and the status quo remained.

I report on this political event to make a cultural obeservation. One thing is for sure. Young people came out in droves in Iowa. Turnout was about 50% higher than normal. Whether this is sustainable, or will stay in Iowa remains to be seen. But clearly, a message of hope, inclusiveness, and honesty resonates with younger generations. They want someone to inspire them. They want to be color blind. They want to see people who are different holds hands together and serve together. They don't want to bicker about minor matters, or live in an atomosphere of derision and division. We need to remember this as we seek to reach out to the world.

What trends have you seen in younger generations?

6 comments:

Mr. E said...

I too am an election nerd. See one of my latest blogs. Even though I have not yet decided on who I will cast my votes for in the Texas Primary, I am keeping track of all the debates (at least recently). I was impressed that Obama beat Mrs. Clinton. I didn't think he had the appeal across the racial line. He does seem a little young and inexperienced though, but I wish him well. It is true that just 10 years ago we would have never had a black person or a woman for that matter garnish so much support from the American people. If I was forced to choose now though, I think I might pick Huckabee for the Republican vote and maybe Edwards for the Democrats, but that is just if I had to vote now.

Kyle said...

We should start an election nerd club. I've almost felt like I was watching a sporting event while watching the Iowa caucus coverage on MSNBC. Then watching the debates on Saturday night...the democrats were fascinating in their exchanges. Unfortunately the Republicans were doing way too much nit-picking and bickering...not to say the Dems were innocent of this, it just dominated the Rep debate.
I've been following Obama, like a lot of people, since his 2004 speech at the Dem National Convention. I've read both of his books and find him very interesting. I just get the feeling from reading his thoughts in books and watching him during interviews and speeches that I can believe in this guy...and I find myself believing. I find him to be genuine and consistent. It doesn't bother me if any politician 'changes their mind' like people think is such a big deal. How can you ever grow if you never change your mind about things after learning more about them. Who wants a closed-minded person as a leader? As long as principles are stuck to...changing a view here and there is not a bad thing, no matter who the accused is.
Thanks for weighing in on the issue...

Dave Ewing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

I could go for a political nerds club. I'm not real high on any of the candidates, unfortunately, but it should be an interesting election.

I think that what you say about changing positions is true. We all hopefully grow over time. I think that this only should be a concern when it appears that a politician has no core values and switches positions based upon whatever is popular at the time.

Kyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

Kyle,

I don't know how old you are, but I was a big Reagan fan. I still get warm feelings when I watch old clips of him.

However, as one commentator on FOX News said last night after the New Hampshire debate, we are now in a post-Reagan (and perhaps even a post-Clinton) era.

It is difficult for anyone campaigning to stay "pure." Politics, by its nature, is geared around compromise. As I listened to Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, last night talk about "putting the boot down" militarily on anyone who challenged us, I wondered if that was something I could do. I know that government has a God-given role to play, but I would think that I would have great difficulty in putting out orders to kill people. I know that governments must do this, but I still don't know if I could do this.