“What does that feel like to be a minority, to be a white male?” Tyra Banks asked John Edwards on her show. Edwards laughed, “It feels like you have to fight for everything you get.”
It was a joke, but at the same time a great rhetorical twist. Now suddenly Edwards is the downtrodden minority, just in time to campaign in the heavily African-American areas of rural South Carolina.
Edwards has long played the underdog, describing his opponents as “celebrities” and reminding voters of his mill-town roots. But this is different: If he runs with the idea that he—not Hillary or Obama—is the anomaly in this race, maybe he can convince people that his would be the historic, plate-shifting presidency. Free campaign slogan: Make history; Vote for the white guy .
I actually wouldn’t be surprised if the hey-look-I’m-a-minority joke surfaces on the Edwards trail in the coming days. It’s a clever comment on the topsy-turvy nature of this race, and it gains Edwards no small bit of sympathy. But more importantly—and perhaps more insidiously—it reminds white Southerners that they do have the option to vote for a white male, and that it’s OK to do so.