Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Should Fear of Riots Influence Your Vote?

Prof. David Corbin was interviewed recently by Jim Brown of on the role of race on election day ("Could an Obama Loss Spark Race Riots?").

A political scientist at a Christian college in New York City warns that if Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama loses the election on November 4, race riots could break out in large U.S. cities.

A recent Associated Press-Yahoo News poll suggested Senator Obama's race could cost him up to six percentage points on election night. David Corbin, a politics professor at The King's College, contends there is potential for public riots the night of or after the election, if Obama's lead in the polls does not translate into victory.

"I don't think that's something that we've looked at very closely, and I think that this could be a powder keg here as we get towards that day, given that Senator Obama is an African-American and given that there might be some backlash if he actually loses," Corbin explains.

Corbin notes that seemingly small stories involving O.J. Simpson and Rodney King have brought into play terrible riots in major cities across the U.S. "I think a lot of people are looking to an Obama presidency to affirm the notion that somehow Americans aren't racist and, if for some reason Senator Obama loses, then it's just, 'Oh well, it's said and done. We must be a racist nation,'" Corbin adds.

People who fuel that claim of racism, according to Corbin, do damage to one of Senator Obama's main themes -- moving beyond a red-and-blue, or black-and-white America.

David Corbin is assistant professor of politics at The King's College in New York City.

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