the Racial Mix

SINCE IT’S ELECTION TIME, the men of the moment are expected to make a foray or two into the music arena. Who knows what’s going on in Bob Dole’s acoustic skull when he is dragged into some Branson, Missouri, auditorium to lend an ear to Glenn Campbell cranking out “Wichita Lineman”? Or when his speechwriter makes him fulminate sourly against films he has never seen and hip-hop records he has never heard, and wouldn’t recognize if they were blasted in his ear? For white lifers like Dole, any perceived weakness for popular music, especially black music, makes them seem like race traitors. Their handlers are people like the late Lee “the Hortonizer” Atwater, who know which blue notes to play on their guitars and which race cards to play in their campaign ads.

For Bill Clinton, music is less a liability than an obligatory item on his electoral dance card. Hence the complex blend of average

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