Public Comment

Commentary: Why the Democrats Should Pick Obama

By Peter Opa
Friday January 26, 2007

There is no doubt that the present Bush administration has done serious damage to the image of the Republican Party. But as discredited as the Republican politicians may stand today, the Democrats could still lose the White House in 2008 if they choose the wrong flag bearer.  

Of all the democratic candidates aiming for the White House, polls show that John Edwards, Barak Obama, and Hillary Clinton, are at the top. It is the opinion of this writer that choosing either Clinton or Edwards over Obama would place the Democrats at a higher risk of losing the White House. Obama has unique advantages over both Clinton and Edwards. For example, as the son of an immigrant father, Obama has much more in common with the immigrant voters than Edwards and Hillary. The black votes are very significant, and very few blacks would vote for either Edwards or Clinton over Obama. Beyond the black votes, Obama’s life history brings hope and inspiration to all immigrants, and his story is naturally more appealing to the immigrant voters than the chronicles of the privileged white candidates.  

Unlike Obama, both Hillary and Edwards pose a threat to the Republicans in different ways. Business owners and corporations are afraid of Edwards. When it comes to Republican voters, the name Clinton still remains a liability for Hillary. It’s been over five years since Bill Clinton left office, but the conservatives still hate him and his wife with passion. Obama doesn’t have any such liability. If anything, Americans of all political persuasions are curious and fascinated by his “new ideas” philosophy. 

Not only that, Obama is already the darling of the women. Gone are those days when women didn’t matter in politics. Women like Oprah, for example, are powerful king makers today. Anyone who doubts this should ask Arnold Schwarzenegger. Obama is enjoying the backing of some of the most powerful women in the country. The same cannot be said of Edwards, and not all women are intrigued by Hillary Clinton.  

Perhaps the biggest advantage Obama has over his opponents is his good standing with the evangelical community. Needless to say, the evangelical Christians have become a force to reckon with in politics. For example, in the 2000 and 2004 elections, most Christians, black and white, voted for George Bush, all in the name of God and Jesus. There is no better candidate to tap into the vast Christian votes than Obama. More than Hillary and John, Obama receives ready welcome at the church. He is a member of the huge born-again club, Clinton and Edwards are not. Obama speaks the Jesus language, and he speaks it very fluently; Hillary and Edwards don’t speak it as well.  

Miracles do happen. It happened in Minnesota when a wrestler became the governor. It happened in Massachusetts when a black man was elected governor in 2006. It happened when a hard-core liberal from San Francisco, a woman, became the speaker of the House of Representatives. It could happen again if Obama is given a chance. 


Emeryville resident Peter Opa is from Africa and is a student of politics, philosophy and economics.