Clinton And The Seniors
Whence the love? I asked; you answered. Many of you shared this reader's reaction:
For one thing, they tend to be more racist than younger Americans.
Other readers made this point:
I think as voters get older they favor the familiar, and are more open to messages that harken back to the past, to a day they may remember (rightly or wrongly) as better.
And yet others took this route:
Hillary's base is skewed female. And as we all know, men die off first. There are a lot more women over 65 than men.
This anecdote seems closest to the truth:
Growing up near Pittsburgh, which has an elderly population among the highest per capita in the nation, I think that seniors support Clinton largely because they remember the struggles of the last 50 years insofar as civil and women's rights are concerned. They remember all the opposition along the way, and they feel that opposition still exists to an extent today.
My father is 68, and has said vehemently that -- although he might support Obama -- he just doesn't believe the nation is ready to vote for a black President. Another long-time family friend, almost 70 and Jewish, told me that he thinks there are still too many racist people in America, and that Obama doesn't have chance in the general electorate. He told me this over dinner one night, and I said to him, "I hope you're wrong." He said, "So do I, but I doubt it."
Today on the phone with my father -- who has also been a broadcast journalist in Pittsburgh for almost 50 years -- he told me that it looks like Obama will get the nomination but that McCain will "blow him out of the water." To him, Obama is too young, too black, and too different to win.
It's a cautious cynicism. It's not anti-hope, but it is hope-weary. I think Barack simply still has some muscle left to show and some inspiring left to do.