Will the elections end up in another Bradley effect?

Bloggers throughout Brazil have promoted a new banner in support of Barack Obama, in which the race question is imbued. The “Não vote em branco” strap line has a simple but yet clever word play: in Portuguese, it means both at the same time: “Don't cast a blank vote” and “Don't vote for a white person.”


The banner, created by Brazilian blogger Gordo Nerd, has spread quickly among the Portuguese language blogs and has sparkled the race question once again. With Obama rising in popularity, what if the Americans are declaring to vote for Obama merely for fear of being labeled racists, and the polls eventually show that McCain is the new US President? In other words, bloggers question whether the Bradley effect will again be at play.

From Portugal, Rui Monteiro comments on last month's Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll, which “shows that a substantial portion of white Americans still harbor negative feelings toward blacks.” He wonders if this will define the elections:

Nos Estados Unidos, uma sondagem recente apresenta valores preocupantes de racismo. Que irão aliás condicionar, não tenho dúvidas nenhumas, os resultados eleitorais. Por uma simples razão: mesmo aqueles que dizem que não deixam que assuntos de cor da pele influenciem a sua decisão, na hora de votar, no anonimato da cabine, muitos irão votar em McCain porque Obama é “negro” (que em rigor, aliás, não é).

In the United States, a recent poll has shown a worrying set of ethos towards racism. Which will, I have no doubt about it at all, influence the election result. For a simple reason: even those who say they do not let the race issues influence their decisions, at voting time, in the anonymity of the voting cabin, many of them will vote for McCain because Obama is “black” (actually he is not).

Brazilian blogger Yashá Gallazzi [pt], who hopes for McCain's victory, but believes it is Obama who will be elected,  challenges the above points:

O simples fato de alguém dizer que não quer Obama, mas McCain já é suficiente para que seja imediatamente chamado de preconceituoso, racista, fascista, direitista, conservador e outras coisas do gênero. É por isso que eu vejo uma enorme diferença entre DIZER QUE VAI VOTAR em Obama e, efetivamente, SAIR PARA VOTAR em Obama no dia 4 de novembro. O obamismo espalhado pelo mundo já percebeu isso e tratou logo de criar um estereótipo: se as pesquisas estiverem erradas e McCain vencer, é graças ao racismo disfarçado e envergonhado dos americanos. Entenderam a jogada deles? Se o novo messias negro vencer a eleição, os americanos serão saudados como o povo que deu ao mundo o seu novo redentor. Se, porém, ganhar o “velhote”, são todos um bando de rascistas.

The mere fact that somebody saying they don't want Obama but McCain is enough for them to be immediately called prejudiced, racist, fascist, rightwing, conservative, and similar things. This is why I see there is a huge difference in SAYING THEY WILL VOTE for Obama and eventually GO TO VOTE for Obama in November 04. The Obamaism spread through the word has already realised this and came up with a new stereotype: if the polls are wrong and McCain wins, this is thanks to covert and ashamed American racism. Did you get their move? If the black Messiah wins the elections, Americans will be cheered as the people who gave the world its new redeemer. If, however, the “oldie” wins, they are all a pack of racists.

Pedro Dória [pt] says that the US elections and the race debate can not be taken apart, and Obama winning will be nevertheless a mark in history:

Em 2008, são 40 anos do assassinato de Martin Luther King. Outros 40 do assassinato de Bob Kennedy, principal articulador do fim das leis segregacionistas. E 45 do assassinato de Jack Kennedy, o presidente que tomou a decisão de enfrentá-las. Se Obama for eleito, a vitória será daqueles três. É porque o racismo declarado ou não já não tem mais força política nos EUA.

In 2008, it is 40 years of Martin Luther King's assassination. Another 40 years of Bob Kennedy's assassination, he who was the main contributor for the end of the segregationist laws. And 45 years of Jack Kennedy's assassination, the president who decided to defy them. If Obama is elected, it will be those three victories. It will show that racism, declared or not, has no more power in the US.


  • Nice digest Paula, I really enjoyed reading it :)

  • Micky

    It’s amazing to see that the world has an eye on U.S. Politics. I am an american born Hispanic and at times feel the racism in the U.S. If a minority wins the presidency – even though we should not look at the color of his skin but his merits – it will indeed be a starting of a new era. It will finally show the meaning of the “United States of America”.

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