Eric Margolis: Major trend in the primaries is the emergence of ethnic and religious voting blocks


Story Transcript

ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER: Super Tuesday has come and gone. What emerging trends did you see play themselves out yesterday?

ERIC MARGOLIS, THE REAL NEWS ANALYST: Well, first of all, the pre-election polls were pretty accurate, and we’ve seen a couple of important trends, first of all that this is not an election based on issues of political philosophy; it’s an election based on image, the images of the candidates. We saw one trend that I personally find quite disturbing, and that is the strong emergence of ethnic and religious voting blocks. We saw, for example, far-right conservative Christians voting en masse for Mike Huckabee—a reverend and a Christian minister who seems to have forgotten that Christians are supposed to turn the other cheek, because he keeps advocating more military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. We saw blacks voting in large part for Barack Obama. We saw, I believe, Hispanics voting in block for Hillary Clinton. This happens in the States, but I haven’t seen it so well defined, so well etched before. And I worry about the politics of ethnic voting blocks. These never have a beneficial effect on US government or on US foreign policy.

NKWETA: McCain didn’t win a lot of southern states. He didn’t really triumph in the conservative heartland. How do you see that affecting his campaign going forward?

MARGOLIS: Republicans are not going to have any place else to go if McCain is the nominee. They’re certainly not going to vote for the two Democratic candidates. So they will fall in line, or else they just won’t turn out and vote. But my vote is they will turn in line and that McCain will probably say soothing words to them, appear a little more militant, play a little to the Christian far right to secure this vote before the election.

NKWETA: So, Eric, Obama won more states, but Clinton won more delegates. How does this affect both of their campaigns going forward?

MARGOLIS: In American politics, the big battalions carry the day, that is, the number of delegates, and Hillary Clinton won very important states with lots of delegates, New York, Massachusetts, and particularly California, which Obama supporters were hoping that he would win. I can tell you I’ve just come back from Washington, and senior Republican bigwigs there are down on their knees praying that Hillary Clinton is going to win for the Democrats, because they really are concerned about facing Obama, and there’s concern that Obama is going to carry through on his pledge to get America to stop thinking about war and to change its militarized foreign policy. This is something that’s causing consternation in Republican ranks.

NKWETA: Any insight going forward? What should we be looking for?

MARGOLIS: Well, we’re certainly going to be watching two very important states coming up now, which are Ohio, traditionally a Republican state, and Texas, which was Democrat and is now more or less Republican. These are going to be very important primaries. Whoever wins there will probably be the candidate for the Democratic party. McCain looks like almost a certain winner on the Republican side.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Story Transcript

ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER: Super Tuesday has come and gone. What emerging trends did you see play themselves out yesterday? ERIC MARGOLIS, THE REAL NEWS ANALYST: Well, first of all, the pre-election polls were pretty accurate, and we’ve seen a couple of important trends, first of all that this is not an election based on issues of political philosophy; it’s an election based on image, the images of the candidates. We saw one trend that I personally find quite disturbing, and that is the strong emergence of ethnic and religious voting blocks. We saw, for example, far-right conservative Christians voting en masse for Mike Huckabee—a reverend and a Christian minister who seems to have forgotten that Christians are supposed to turn the other cheek, because he keeps advocating more military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. We saw blacks voting in large part for Barack Obama. We saw, I believe, Hispanics voting in block for Hillary Clinton. This happens in the States, but I haven’t seen it so well defined, so well etched before. And I worry about the politics of ethnic voting blocks. These never have a beneficial effect on US government or on US foreign policy. NKWETA: McCain didn’t win a lot of southern states. He didn’t really triumph in the conservative heartland. How do you see that affecting his campaign going forward? MARGOLIS: Republicans are not going to have any place else to go if McCain is the nominee. They’re certainly not going to vote for the two Democratic candidates. So they will fall in line, or else they just won’t turn out and vote. But my vote is they will turn in line and that McCain will probably say soothing words to them, appear a little more militant, play a little to the Christian far right to secure this vote before the election. NKWETA: So, Eric, Obama won more states, but Clinton won more delegates. How does this affect both of their campaigns going forward? MARGOLIS: In American politics, the big battalions carry the day, that is, the number of delegates, and Hillary Clinton won very important states with lots of delegates, New York, Massachusetts, and particularly California, which Obama supporters were hoping that he would win. I can tell you I’ve just come back from Washington, and senior Republican bigwigs there are down on their knees praying that Hillary Clinton is going to win for the Democrats, because they really are concerned about facing Obama, and there’s concern that Obama is going to carry through on his pledge to get America to stop thinking about war and to change its militarized foreign policy. This is something that’s causing consternation in Republican ranks. NKWETA: Any insight going forward? What should we be looking for? MARGOLIS: Well, we’re certainly going to be watching two very important states coming up now, which are Ohio, traditionally a Republican state, and Texas, which was Democrat and is now more or less Republican. These are going to be very important primaries. Whoever wins there will probably be the candidate for the Democratic party. McCain looks like almost a certain winner on the Republican side. DISCLAIMER: Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis is an internationally syndicated columnist and renowned book author. He’s a veteran Korea-watcher who specializes in north Asian military/strategic affairs. He’s been all over the DMZ and produced his documentary there last year featuring a segment from Panmunjom on the DMZ. Two special areas of focus:  1. What would a war actually look like if one erupted?  2. The geopolitics of the region – the Koreas, Japan, China, Russia, the US.  Eric was a regular columnist for Japan's Mainichi Shimbun and is a long-time member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.