FROM Ron Walters
The Economy, the Campaign and Polling The Bush Administration reluctantly made good on its promise today and partially nationalized American banks with $250 billion. Shortly afterward, John McCain said it's time for action and announced a $52 billion plan of his own. Will McCain's focus on the economy help him catch up to Barack Obama ? Is Obama courting votes by sounding unrealistically optimistic? We also consider the so-called "Bradley Effect." Polls showed that the Tom Bradley , first black mayor of Los Angeles would win the race for Governor of California in 1982, but he lost the election to white Republican George Deukmejian. Ever since, there's been an assumption that voters lied to the pollsters to hide their racism. Do voters tell pollsters they'll vote for a black candidate and then switch to the white opponent in the polling booth?
Evangelical Voters and the 2008 Election George W. Bush won eight out of 10 Christian church-goers in 2004, and evangelicals have been a reliable part of the Republican base. But John McCain has failed to inspire the religious right, while Barack Obama has advocated expressions of faith in the public square, pushing hard for that one-forth of the presidential vote that's been considered most reliably Republican: evangelical Christians. Are evangelicals focusing less on abortion, stem-cell research and gay marriage than they are on poverty and the environment? Did McCain make a mistake by rejecting two right-wing pastors? Can Obama overcome his association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright?
Contemporary Politics and the Legacy of Slavery In 2004, Rev. Al Sharpton ran for President on a civil rights platform. In 1948, South Carolina's late Senator Strom Thurmond ran as a segregationist. Now it turns out that Sharpton is descended from slaves owned by Thurmond's ancestors. After asking Sharpton's permission to research his ancestry the New York Daily News hired a group called Ancestry.com , which made the connection, one Sharpton calls "part of the shame and glory of America." Ron Walters is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maryland.
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