Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bradley Effect

A generation ago Tom Bradley, charismatic black mayor of Los Angeles, lost a California gubernatorial race despite a ten point lead in the polls. Conventional wisdom is that racial attitudes among poll respondents embarassed by their own prejudice led to that outcome. Something similiar is about the best the McCain Palin crowd can hope for in the current presidential race. It's not a nice strategy, but it's about all they've got at this point.

I think it's a possibility. But I don't it will happen.

Here are three pieces of Texas trivia that suggest not. First, for most of the year my son was a 'closet Obama supporter' down in the Rio Grande Valley. In the last month or so, Obama has been doing well enough on the Border that he decided to come out of that particular closet. Second, my mother-on-law, who has lived her life according to the gospel of Nieman-Marcus for the last half century, claims that she voted for Obama (she's already voted since she and a girlfriend headed out to La Jolla for November). I'm not sure if I believe that, or not,but it's the fashionable claim to make. Finally, the local newspaper in Bryan College Station, home town the Texas Aggies, home base of Professor (before Congressman or Senator) Phil Gramm, and site of the presidential library of Bush 41, has endorsed Obama. He's the first the first Democrat the paper has endorsed since the 1950s.

I'm not saying Texas is in play. I'm just asking, as if I were a Republican riposte to Thomas Frank, 'what's the matter with Texas?'

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