From the Financial Times:
Like most people in Mingo County, West Virginia, Leonard Simpson is a lifelong Democrat. But given a choice between Barack Obama and John McCain in November, the 67-year-old retired coalminer would vote Republican.
“I heard that Obama is a Muslim and his wife’s an atheist,” said Mr Simpson, drawing on a cigarette outside the fire station in Williamson, a coalmining town of 3,400 people surrounded by lush wooded hillsides.
None of the 22 Democrats interviewed by the Financial Times at the Clinton rally would commit themselves to voting for Mr Obama if he became the nominee, and half said they definitely would not. The depth of opposition is particularly striking considering that Mingo County is one of the most Democratic places in West Virginia, having cast about 85 per cent of its votes for the party in the 2006 midterm elections. If Mr Obama cannot win there in November, he has little chance of carrying the state.
Most people questioned said they mistrusted Mr Obama because of doubts about his patriotism and “values”, stemming from his cosmopolitan background, his exotic name and the controversy surrounding “anti-American” sermons by Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor. Several people said they believed he was a Muslim – an unfounded rumour that has circulated on the internet for months – despite the contradiction with his 20-year membership of Mr Wright’s church in Chicago. Others mentioned his refusal to wear a Stars and Stripes badge and controversial remarks by his wife, Michelle, who described America as “mean” and implied that she had never been proud of the US until her husband ran for president.
Fortunately, Obama’s performance in WV’s primary is irrelevant in deciding who the nominee will be. Even if Clinton were to win all of that states’ 39 delegates, Obama would still have a net gain in delegates since Indiana and North Carolina.
Of course, it makes sense for Clinton and her surrogates to campaign there as hard as they can in hope that a 40 point Clinton win in WV will change perception about Obama’s ability to win in November. After all, they tell us, since 1916, no president has won the White House without winning WV.
Whatever. Obama will lose WV in November, and probably by a wide margin. He can make up that ground in other states like CO that would be hard for Clinton to win.
What gets me about this article is the aggressive ignorance of the WV voters that were interviewed. They seem to be taking anonymous e-mails that bash Obama, based on clear misinformation quite seriously. Do they believe everything they get in their inboxes?
I’m wondering if WV residents communicate with Nigerians who want to put money in their bank accounts at a higher rate than people in the rest of the country do.
If a Democrat votes for Clinton over Barack, he’s not a racist any more than a Democrat who votes for Obama or Clinton is a sexist. Sure there are some who will vote against either candidate over gender or race issues, but I think those kinds of voters are the exception rather than the rule.
But when zero of 22 Democrats unable to state that they will vote for Obama when he is the nominee, I have to think that racism is playing a large role in determining for whom to vote.