Barack Obama repeated it this weekend; for him skin color is not a “determining factor” in the race for the democratic nomination. However, it seems that ethnicity, sex, or even social category are becoming the more and more decisive criteria in the duel between the Illinois senator and Hillary Clinton which has now lasted seventeen weeks.
At the approach of the primaries in North Carolina and Indiana, next week, the contrast appears even more striking. Obama is ahead in the polls in North Carolina where an important black population lives, but he is tied with Clinton in Indiana. In this state, his electorate is located in urban zones where the black community is concentrated, in contrast to his rival, appealing in rural areas and among the working class, notably women. These are the divisions that gave close to 10 points of advancement to the New York Senator in the Pennsylvania primary last week. This success allowed Mrs. Clinton to stay in the race, even if Obama is still ahead in the number of delegates in view of the National Democratic Convention next August in Denver.
As a guest on the Fox News network Sunday, Barack Obama recognized that ethnic groups “remains a factor in society”. Before adding: “Is this the determining factor in a general election? No, because I am absolutely sure that the American people want someone to resolve their problems.” The senator of Illinois conceded that he had to do more to raise his popularity among working class, particularly affected by the current economic difficulties. “I have to be more present. I have to knock more at doors. I have to do more,” he affirmed. Because, “I am a candidate facing the best of the Democrats,” he underlined, in reference to Hillary and Bill Clinton. Barack Obama expressed himself while his old pastor, reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr, took the floor at the annual dinner of the NAACP, the American association for the defense of colored people. Reverend Wright had interrupted the campaign in March at the occasion of the appearance on the Internet of old videos in which he accused the American government of racism and of having flooded black majority neighborhoods with drugs. Remarks that led Obama to publicly disassociate himself from his old pastor.
Sunday, the Chicago reverend defended himself from accentuating the division and racial tensions in the United States. “I am not in the division,” he assured. “I am rather in the description.” “In the past, they taught us to learn to see those who are different as people that are somewhat deficient. I think that a change is going to take place because many among us are determined to change the manner of seeing those who are different.”