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Surprise: Southern Primary Voters Selected Anybody But Obama

It’s no secret that President Obama is unpopular among white voters in the South—so as further evidence we have yesterday’s Democratic primary results in Arkansas and Kentucky.

In Kentucky, which has a closed primary, meaning only registered Democrats can vote, 42 percent of voters chose “uncommitted” rather than vote for the President. In Arkansas, which has an open primary, meaning voters can select a ballot for either party, a Tennessee attorney named John Wolfe was grabbing about 40 percent of the Democratic votes.

This comes a week after a Texas inmate garnered 41 percent of the vote in West Virginia’s Democratic primary.

While some pundits will want to make a big deal out of these results, and claim that they show the President’s vulnerability in November, let’s not pretend for a second we don’t know what’s really going on here. Anyone who has spent time in the South over the past four years knows that many whites in the region are still in a state of apoplectic disbelief that a black man in actually the leader of the free world. This disbelief crosses party lines, though it is clearly more prevalent among white Republicans, who have been known to cruise around with bumper stickers on their pickups that say things like “Don’t Re-Nig in 2012.” So we can save all the pretend shock that white voters in the South chose an inmate or a white dude from another state over Obama. Those “candidates” had the one campaign platform the President lacks: white skin.




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