Wednesday, October 31, 2012

If Joe Biden Could Channel Dusty Rhodes, Then Obama Would be Winning in a Landslide

Greatest. Promo. Of. All. Time.

Mitt Romney has continued to expand his support among white working class (male) voters. In a base election, where mobilizing one's existing supporters and bringing in some new independents is the key to victory, Romney's chances have only improved because of this huge advantage with that cohort.

However, much of the emphasis on the white working class vote is a result of misunderstandings about the American electorate. Class is still largely correlated with vote choice where poor and working class people, across the color line, still overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates.

The white male working class vote that Romney is chasing--and expanding--over Obama is actually comprised of white men who are not college educated, but make a fair sum of money as construction workers, truck drivers, or in the skilled trades. These are the "angry white men" that are the base of the Tea Party GOP and central to Mitt Romney's ascent in the polls. For several decades Democrats have lost this cohort; the country's first black president has no chance of winning them back.

Dusty Rhodes was the working class's professional wrestler champion. He feuded with Ric Flair and the Four Horseman in a series of epic bouts which embodied the best of professional wrestling in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Dusty's character was complex: on one hand he played the "white negro" who was cheered by fans of all colors. Rhodes also flirted with racial stereotypes, where he was a stylistically "black" wrestler (his interview in the Legends round table series on this topic is very honest and sincere. All smart marks owe it to themselves to watch it).

Rhodes further added to the contradictions and complications of his relationship to blackness, when in his later years he worked with an African American valet named "Sapphire." Yes, her name was Sapphire. Then as in now, professional wrestling is, and was, not known for its subtlety.

Dutsty's promo on being a working class man who was hit with hard times by the monied classes is one of the greatest examples of mic work in the history of the business. Every trade or craft has a core set of competencies, examples of masterful craft, a literature of sorts, which forms the basis for what we in that world aspire to be if we reach its heights.

This promo is one such example. If Joe Biden--or maybe Bill Clinton--could reach out to white working class voters just like Dusty did those years ago with this promo, then Obama's electoral fortunes would be much improved. Obama is a ghetto nerd. I have not doubt that he was a mark for Dusty Rhodes back in the day. I just wish that those lessons had stayed with him.


Daddy Squeeze Me! said...

I think Sapphire is a lovely name.

nomad said...

Obama was raised in the household of a banker. So he's not a ghetto anything. Romney ain't Flair. He's the Million Dollar Man. And everybody got a price.

chaunceydevega said...

@Daddy. I hope you are kidding.

@Nomad. Don't get ahead of me. We are going there, but you have to build up the storyline.

Daddy Squeeze Me! said...

I'm not kidding. I want to know why you hope that. I would hope that a site dedicated to respectable negroes wouldn't have an author judging us as whites do about what we name our kids. We are not like them and we have NEVER had names like them. We have always had names that were out of that box here and there. The problem I have is, if she were some foreign girl named Sapphire, everyone would think it was EXOTIC! which is a second class citizen word and I despise to describe ethnic or women of another culture! A Sapphire is a precious gemstone. I would hope that someone as yourself who probably has a daughter of his own, would understand how precious your daughter can be to you.

chaunceydevega said...

@DSM. Sapphire is a classic racist trope to describe black women. It is one the archetypes of stereotypical black womanhood along with the mammy, "hoochie mama" etc.

Read the embedded link to learn more.

chaunceydevega said...

@DSM. Again, I hope you are kidding. There is lots to be learned by "black naming" practices and what they embody about low socioeconomic mobility, limited life worlds, and are a symptom, quite often, of children having children when the gradma is only 30 years old.

Freakonomics has a nice explanation of the different "class markets" for names. So in short, yes, I do judge those sad souls with "black names." I feel sorry for many of them.

Daddy Squeeze Me! said...

There is no link there in your comment.

Well that's very sad that you would judge them negatively when it doesn't matter to many whites what name you have. Being black in the first place is where the rejection and hatred have always started and will remain. Children should be named very unique things. No one complains when foreigners do this. Many try to learn their names and love the uniqueness of their naming practices. Yet you can only hate your own people and demean anything they do that is not conforming to the white mindset of what naming should be. Its sad that you believe children should grow up as robots all named sarah 1, sarah 2, betty 24,406.

Bruto Alto said...


I gotta back CDv on this one. Tyrone Johnson will have a harder time getting a job over Martin Phillips. The funny part is they could both be white and Tyrone still would have less of a chance.

nomad said...

Well said. Sapphire is indeed a beautiful name.

chaunceydevega said...

@Nomad. You might as well name here "mammy" then. As I said that name has so much baggage.

@Daddy. Unique names are often a sign of poverty not "blackness." It is sad that folks have conflated the two. Like I said, I will be posting a short video on that subject.

nomad said...

By the same token, we probably shouldn't name boys "Tom".

Daddy Squeeze Me! said...

I find it very offensive that we are nothing unless we are trying our best to fit into the ofay club. For this to be a blog calling out the artrocities of the white establisbment, I am in awe that you look down on your own people this way. We had a great martin and they MURDERED him. Him being named MARTIN did nothing for them then and it damn sure does not. If a woman named CONDOLEEZA can make it, I know shaniqua and delwuan can too. I know crackeads named carolyn and shelby! I do not agree its a sign of poverty. I have a very unique name and my father was a successful business owner of a tile and terrazo company. We were upper class blacks growing up. Everyone I've come in contact with has loved my name.

I just can not look at ur blog the same. And I've liked it since I chose to follow a few weeks ago. But its ok.

chaunceydevega said...

@Daddy. I challenge folks. Sometimes what we want to believe is undercut by the data. I never said people with "unique" black names couldn't be successful. But, many others those names--the vowel win at Scrabble names esp. that are made up by children who want their born out of wedlock babies to be "special"--are really a product of a marginalized ghetto culture where those who survive it will be forever hamstrung by their mother's poor choices in nomenclature.

Like I said, I am glad you are successful. I wish I had your success. But, that is different from an empirical claim about social capital and black naming practices, where "blackness" has been conflated with poverty.