A friend and colleague of mine is a rabid Republican. She and I have fought for months, sometimes very uncomfortably, about politics and the presidential race. As the primaries were winding down she tried to bet me $100 that McCain would win the election. (I modified the bet to lunch and I'm looking forward to collecting on November 5.)
On Monday she said she had a confession for me. She was considering voting for Barack Obama for President of the U.S. and A. This is a woman who has never voted for a Democrat in her 40 years, still thinks George W. Bush has done a good job, thinks Obama is probably a socialist and also likes Sarah Palin. So what is it that has (possibly) turned her around?
In short: the need for the country to come together and the ugliness of McCain's supporters. The blatant racism and divisiveness that flood her e-mail inbox from acquaintances. She's sick of the division and doesn't want to be associated with the hatefulness of some of McCain's supporters. I assured her that I didn't think that McCain was a racist or that all his supporters were hateful people, but that the Obama camp would welcome her with open arms.
This is a big reason why McCain's campaign is failing. He could have repudiated these tactics. Instead he continues to fan the flames of hate and fear with mailers and robocalls continuing to try to link Obama with terrorism.