By Dick Morris October 26, 2004
Bill Clinton has mounted his white charger and rushed to the rescue of his party and John Kerry, appearing in Philadelphia today and perhaps in other cities later in this final week.
The likely catalyst for Clinton's last-minute involvement: Kerry's trouble with the black vote. The recent survey by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies showed President Bush pulling 18 percent of the African-American vote, up from only 9 percent four years ago. Most of the converts are older religious men, likely concerned about social values issues like gay marriage.
This breech in black support for Democrats could doom Kerry in a race that's now razor-tight. With blacks casting about 12 percent of the national vote, a swing of 9 percent of their vote would create a two point shift in the national polls, perhaps enough to beat Kerry.
It's about time middle-class African-Americans began to desert the Democratic Party. Bush's dependence on Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice demonstrates amply his freedom from racism and his tax cuts show how good he is for upward mobility for all people of all races. If middle-class blacks start voting their class not their race, it would help all blacks by forcing the same kind of bidding war as we've seen for the Hispanic-American vote.
The Democratic Party takes blacks for granted, treating the their bloc support like a golf handicap, never taking real trouble to cater to their needs.
Clinton will also help Kerry to get votes among single women, a mainstay of the Democratic coalition and will likely increase the turnout from the Democratic base. He may be good for 2-3 points, perhaps enough to tip the balance.
But why would Clinton do so? If Kerry wins, Bill will never again live in the White House, for Hillary won't be able to until 2012, when she'd need to beat John Edwards. And Bill Clinton's surgery gave him all the excuse he needed to stay in bed.
But no matter how much the former president's head must have militated against speaking out for Kerry, his heart likely drives him to do it — his hunger for a fix of the energy he gets from an adoring crowd. Indeed, campaigning will likely prove a medical tonic to him as well as a political benefit to Kerry. The crowds, the adulation, the publicity, the spotlight could all jump-start his immune system.
But you don't see Hillary on the campaign trail. All over America you hear ads by Guiliani endorsing Republicans from Bush on down, but none by Hillary. This woman, whose head always dominates her heart, knows when to keep quiet and let her party's candidate lose.
Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Clinton.