November 3, 2008
Oklahoma: Republican Heartland
Moving farther away from large cosmopolitan cities, I arrived in Tulsa, Oklahoma this afternoon. It is practically summer here! Ditching winter coats and scarves, donning sunglasses, we were greeted by a friendly shuttle driver with whom I had an immediate political conversation. This man was particularly impressive because he was an avid reader and thinker. He had very strong political bias against Obama, saying that he was worried “Obama wouldn’t have had the international experience necessary, nor the international outlook” taken for Presidency. I proffered an alternative views, asking whether Obama’s early years abroad (Indonesia) would have an effect on his international outlook. His strong Republican stance replied that McCain would be the best man for the job.
At the Obama rally in Pueblo, Colorado yesterday, I asked some young high school kids what they thought of Obama. This is their reply below. (they also say hi to Malaysia here)
The two videos are typical of each party campaign’s criticisms of each other. The Democrats criticise the Republicans for the following reasons:
- Republicans are myopic and insular;
- Republicans are conservative;
- Republicans are traditional and cater to the older people
Likewise, there are severe criticisms on the other end. Republicans criticise Democrats for the following:
- Democrats are too young and unable to reason or analyse properly;
- Democrats are too liberal and open;
- Democrats are willing to think about leaving Iraq and adopting open border policies, dialogue without pre-conditions.
This was an appropriate introduction to South-Central/South American political leanings. Oklahoma, which means “red people” because it has the largest Native American population of any state, has gone for the Republican presidential candidate in every election since 1968 and has one of the most conservative congressional delegations in the country. In Oklahoma’s Republican primary McCain secured most of the state’s 38 delegates. At the end of September, polls showed McCain holding a 2-to-1 lead over Obama. Interestingly, McCain has 95% of Republican support, and 41% of Democratic support in Oklahoma.
Aside from the Presidential candidates, the entire Oklahoma House of Representatives will be up for election, and half of the State Senate, currently evenly divided between the Republicans and Democrats. Perhaps one thing I can look out for is whether the State Senate can swing back to the Democrats.
Over the next few days I will be meeting with local churches, campaign offices and of course – finally – the polling booths themselves on Tuesday 4th November!
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