Poloniaâ€™s choice: Clinton, Obama, McCain?
By Robert Strybel, "The Polish Answer Man" Poloniaâ€™s choice: Clinton, Obama, McCain?
Polonia’s choice: Clinton, Obama, McCain?
By Robert Strybel, Polish/Polonian Affairs writer
ul. Kaniowska 24
01-529 Warsaw, Poland
Like US citizens of every background, come November, Americans of Polish descent will be faced by a major decision. Some have already decided whom to vote for, others are still weighing their options and still others don’t plan to cast their ballot. “Politicians are a bunch of crooks. They’ll promise you the moon and then steal you blind once they get into office!” That is the way the non-voters often justify their absence.
At this stage, can anyone answer the question contained in the headline above? Is there even such a thing as a “Polonian electorate” or a “Polish-American vote”? Around the mid-20th century the answer would have been obvious. Starting more or less with FDR’s New Deal, Polish immigrants and their American-born offspring usually voted a straight Democratic. That was also true of other immigrant communities, Afro-Americans (formerly called colored people or Negroes), southerners and union members regardless of their ethnic background.
That began changing during the violent 1960s and ‘70s which were marked by assassinations, the emerging drug culture and anti-war protests which were seen by many as simply anti-American. In the 1968 presidential race, Republican Richard Nixon Democrat Hubert Humphrey by only a narrow margin, But by 1972 the Democratic Party was being increasingly associated with radical celebrities (such as pro-Vietnamese Jane Fonda), flag-burners, pro-abortionists and violent fringe groups such as the Black Panthers, Black Muslims and Weathermen.
Had Polish-American Edmund Muskie
(Marciszewski) secured his party’s nomination, that would have undoubtedly
helped keep many Polonian voters in the Democratic fold. But the choice of
leftist George McGovern turned off a great many Polish Americans who cast their
backlash vote for Nixon. Polonia’s pro-Republican stance became more firmly
grounded during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr, both of
whom were seen as aiding the cause of
But now it is 2008, and Blacks, Jews,
Latinos, trade-unionists and most
Immigration-law reform enabling Polish immigrants to obtain legal status –
permanent residence or
¨ Ensuring more Federal Government appointments, including cabinet posts, for Polish Americans;
¨ Vigorous prosecution of anti-Polonism through the creation of a special Polish anti-defamation unit at the US State Department similar to that which now monitors anti-Semitism;
student, academic and cultural exchange programs with
business opportunities for Polish companies in the
¨ Making good
on the F-16 offset program, whereby the
¨ Inclusion of Poland in the visa-waiver program, enabling Poles to visit the US without having to apply for an American visa; the US is now the only NATO country that still discriminates Poles in this way.
still have time to make up their minds whom to vote for. Hillary Clinton and
Barack Obama are both expected to conduct a leftist liberal policy, favored by
the pro-homosexual and abortion-rights lobbies and are competing as to which of
them will end America’s military involvement in Iraq sooner. Conservative John
McCain, 70, is more likely to provide military aid to
To demonstrate that Polish Americans
constitute a bloc of politically aware and responsible voters, a group of young
Polonian based in the