One thing that both Democratic candidates have is that they can be targets of 'isms.' Hillary Clinton can be vulnerable to sexism and Barack Obama might be vulnerable to racism.
Race should not matter. When Harold Ford ran for the Senate in Tennessee he was ahead until racist ads appeared. They were quickly pulled, everyone denied that they were behind it, but they did the damage and he lost. Racism is a very potent politically ally, however, and sadly, the the Republicans, it is one that many candidates have been willing to use. Racism is the key to getting poor, working class and middle class white voters to vote for a Republican Party that advances a political agenda that directly goes against their own economic interests. I like to think that no candidate of either party would stoop to such a level, but, sadly, it does take place.
I don't believe that John McCain has a racist bone in his body, but, as we all saw with 'swift boating,' racist issues will be raised if he runs against Barack Obama.
Racism is, frankly, a part of talk radio. Every day when people tune into Rush Limbaugh people help to promote racism. Limbaugh, who has a history of race baiting and very racist comments, will subtly remind listeners that Obama is an African American and we ought to be afraid.
Much of the criticism of Trinity United Church of Christ has become from racially driven people who want to condemn a mostly African American congregation, not acknowledging that Sunday morning is one of the most segregated times of the week. I don't believe that it's because of racist agendas, but it is very cultural in terms of w0rship style preferences.
If one does some research, and it isn't difficult to follow the time line, the rise of the so-called Religious Right has its roots in an interesting spot. Most people see the Religious Right as having social agendas opposing abortion and gay marriage. True enough, but when abortion was first legalized, the religious conservatives were not opposed to Roe v. Wade. In fact, many of them supported it. It wasn't abortion that triggered this movement as much as Bob Jones University, a blatantly racist school, was stripped of its tax exemption status because of the racism. It was only after that event that the Religious Right (born in Virgina, home of Falwell, Roberson), determined that they needed to become more politically active. They rose up to protect a racism institution.
Of course, they couldn't publicly support racism, so they chose a surrogate. Abortion. It wasn't until after the Bob Jones University controversy became an issue that abortion became an issue. It wasn't until after Bill Clinton was elected President that gay rights became much of an issue in that universe.
I do not believe that most Republicans are racist. I also don't believe that all Democrats aren't racist. What I do believe is that racism is alive and well and will definitely become an issue if Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate.
I happen to like Hillary Clinton better than Barack Obama, but it's all about experience. I also believe that whoever wins the nomination will have done so after a difficult fight and I would happily support Barack Obama. If he does win the nomination, however, I do hope that we, as a nation, are able and willing to confront racism and shine the light of day on hatred so that it might be exposed and eliminated.
One thing in life I have no understanding of is why people find it so desirable to hate others. Nothing is sadder than that.