In Northwest Philly, Plenty of Support for Obama
Tuesday afternoon, placards and posters for Sen. Barack Obama clung to the front of the northwest Philadelphia office of the community group Concerned Black Men. Outside, Harry Wilson, 71 years old, said he voted for the Illinois senator. Wilson cited Republican antipathy to Sen. Hillary Clinton as a reason he voted against her, saying she would have difficulty getting things accomplished in Washington.
Wilson also talked about the need for new national leadership. “I don’t want an oligarchy,” said the retiree of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. To him, another Bush-Clinton swap amounts simply to “two families running the country for 28 years — which I think is absolutely absurd.”
Michelle Sawyer, 44, said she was still undecided when she walked in to cast her ballot, but ultimately chose Obama. “Maybe he’ll put an end to this war, which is really important to me,” said the mental health worker. And while Kathy Nelson, 63, considered voting for the New York senator, over the course of the campaign she began to dislike Clinton’s style, calling it unladylike. On questions of policy, Nelson said “It’s just that I don’t trust Hillary.”
Poll workers said that the turnout was strong at the polling place, which is in the predominantly black neighborhood of West Oak Lane. One worker said roughly 200 people had voted by 1 p.m. A typical day of Democratic primary voting there would have been about 25 people total.
Today’s turnout is a direct result of Obama’s candidacy, Wilson said. It would do serious damage to the Democratic effort to win the White House in November if superdelegates “steal the nomination” away from him, he said. “In minority neighborhoods, people are going to sit on their hands,” he said, adding “the superdelegates can either make this party, or destroy it.”