Do black votes for Obama count?

Racism is alive and well on … NPR?

The Clinton camp’s spin on Obama’s likely victory in South Carolina is already clear: “He only won it because of black votes, so it doesn’t really count.”

I’m not sure why, but NPR’s commentators seem to have decided to lend their credibility to the Clinton campaign’s decision to racialize the contest. Daniel Schorr’s commentary is hard to decipher, but if it means anything it means that Obama’s decision to speak about civil rights from the pulpit of the Ebenezer Baptist Church on Martin Luther King’s birthday was somehow in conflict with Obama’s claim to be the “unity” candidate.

(Of course, Obama’s sermon was about much more than “civil rights,” but that’s a separate question. Schorr’s point seems to be that Obama sounded awfully … well, black. )

Meanwhile, Cokie Roberts seems to think that if a white candidate gets white votes, that’s natural, and if a white candidate gets black votes, that’s wonderful, but if a black candidate gets black votes then he’s no longer a “unity” candidate and becomes ineligible to get white votes. Or something.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: