Day By Day

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pennsylvania (and Ohio) Politics -- The Significance of Swann

Peter Brown, of Quinnipiac University, notes something significant in this year's election. In two of the heavyweight swing states, Pennsylvania and Ohio, the Republicans are on the verge of nominating black candidates for governor. Brown sees this situation as providing a crucial test of two propositions.

1) Democrats like to allege that Republicans are racists. But Republicans argue (and polls seem to support the proposition) that the real differences are philosophical -- blacks tend to favor big government solutions while Republicans want to shrink the role of the state. Both Lynn Swann in Pennsylvania and Ken Blackwell in Ohio are small government conservative blacks. If Republicans choose, as they are likely to do, Swann and Blackwell to lead them into the fall elections in big, important, swing States, it will go a long ways toward discrediting the charge that the party is racist.

2) Blacks are the most reliable element in the Democrat coalition -- reliably delivering about 90% of their votes for Democrat candidates, both white and black. If, however, Swann and Blackwell are able to peel away significantly more than 10% of the black vote, they might well be redefining the parameters of electoral politics all across the country.

Even if neither Swann or Blackwell wins in November, Brown argues, if they pass these two tests, they will have significantly changed the American political landscape.

Read it here.

I think he's right.

UPDATE: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Swann is very close to locking up the nomination and could well do so tonight at a straw poll of committee leaders in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Read it here.

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