Why Does Obama’s NH Loss Surprise Us?

I do NOT want to be one of those folks who immediately points to racism when Barack Obama loses a contest. There were a number of factors that contributed to Obama’s narrow loss to Hillary, Tuesday night. On the other hand, I never completely trusted all the polling numbers we’ve seen over the past few days.

As recently as 1988, Dartmouth College had to convene a student council on racial tolerance because several Caucasian students harassed an African American professor. This is an Ivy League institution we’re talking about here. It’s the only Ivy League school to my knowledge that has a documented track record for racial problems. So whenever I read the polls, I kept thinking about Dartmouth. 20 years is not so long ago. Clearly, for some reason, New Hampshire voters chose to tell the pollsters one thing and then vote another.

As my wife reminded me, winning a caucus and winning a primary are two different things. Your “vote” in a caucus is public. If you don’t follow through on what you’ve been telling everyone, you look like a hypocrite. Since primary votes are private, you can look politically correct in public and then let your biases take over in the voting booth.

Once again, our country’s long tradition of racism is hurting us. Not because we know Obama’s defeat was due to bigotry; we don’t. It’s the doubt that is so troubling. Our country’s racial history muddies the waters, hence we will never know when Barack is rejected for the issues or when he is rejected for the color of his skin. How sad.



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