A Campaign Issue for Pennsylvania: Affirmative Action?

The most recent poll in Pennsylvania on the question of affirmation that I was able to find, a 2003 poll, shows that Pennsylvanians oppose affirmative action programs by more than 20%.

Considering the unique nature of this year’s presidential election, I wonder if McCain isn’t making a massive blunder by not clearly running against quotos and race-based set-asides–especially in a place like Pennsylvania which has a large economically-depressed white population which is resisting his candidacy based on economic issues.

  • Demographically, Pennsylvania is 87% white.

  • Affirmative action IS an economic issue–and one which generates enormous frustration from those who do not benefit from it. Especially during hard economic times.

  • There is no reason whatsoever to “triangulate” on this issue. Due to Obama’s “historic” candidacy as the first African-American candidate, McCain has already lost the white liberal and African-American vote by overwhelming numbers. Not just in Pennsylvania but around the country. Running with this issue in Pennsylvania would not hurt him in other states in ways that he hasn’t been hurt already, and presents tangible opportunities in Pennsylvania. Presumably, since the poll I cite includes all Pennsylvanians, disapproval of affirmative among the white population is significantly higher than 20%.

  • The media will cry “racism.” And how is that different from what they’re already doing? Objecting to race-based quotas and set-asides is not racist in the least–it is merely adhering to Martin Luther King’s plea to judge people by their merit rather than their skin color.

  • This is an issue that will make Obama squirm–he cannot equivocate about this as he does with other issues. It places him in the awkward position of having to advocate for measures which are enormously unpopular with whites but passionately defended by populations which are voting for him at rates of over 90 percent (but which don’t exist in numbers large enough to deliver him the election).

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