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Have Hate Groups Been Quieter Than Expected This Election?

Despite news of a dead bear cub shot through the head and draped with Obama signs and a car vandalized allegedly for sporting a McCain sticker, apparently hate group activity has been less intense than expected this campaign. Groups who monitor hate activity with an eye toward preventing violence are reporting an eerie silence from traditional sources of open racism — much less than they expected this late in the race.

The director of a law center that tracks hate group says, “What we really haven’t seen is white supremacists really rallying over an Obama presidency. Hate groups are in a more or less stunned position right now; they haven’t been able to figure out how to proceed just yet.”

Politician Douglas Wilder, 20 years ago had a campaign almost fail because of the Bradley (or Wilder) effect — where polling indicates voters will do one thing before succumbing to suspected race-related cold feet in the booth. He now says, "America has grown, people have grown."

Is this the case? To find out,


Perhaps. Though even children are acutely aware of the issue of race in the campaign, it seems to be having an unexpected affect — nine percent of voters say they're more likely to vote for Obama because of his race, more than those who wouldn't for the same reason.

But has hate been quiet? We've seen presidential mailers looking like food stamps emblazoned with fried chicken, an effigy of Obama hung from a tree at a college in Oregon, and the KKK saying they hope if Obama is elected it will inspire a white backlash.

I suppose listening is in the ear of the beholder as to gauge the volume level on that. But will hate groups' vociferousness become more prevalent in the next two weeks — or on election night? Are they really too stunned by the becoming more real possibility of an Obama presidency to gather their organizations to rally? Or has America, like Wilder says, "grown?"


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