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Obama in NASCAR Country « The Washington Independent

Jul 31, 2020
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MARTINSVILLE, Va.–Let me make myself clear: I don’t get NASCAR. I have no friends who get NASCAR. In fact, the only person I know who has any interest in the sport is my barber Ray in Oxford, Ohio who’s turned his shop over the years from a wood-panel basement filled with deer heads and mounted fish into a shrine to Dale Earnhart. And, truth to tell I’m not which motif I find more strange. For the record Ray–who gave me first haircut at age two–has and will forever give one hell of a haircut.
But I digress. Because while I will never understand its sport and its fans’ devotions, the presumed Democratic nominee for president, Barack Obama must. That’s because, for whatever reason, the sport has come to symbolize a new powerful voting bloc who do one important thing besides drive the ratings of cars going around in a circle: Vote. It’s this understanding that today, on a day when a new national poll shows him suddenly trailingSen. John McCain by five points in the polls, Obama arrived at Patrick Henry Community College’s Motorsports Facility where they train people to work in NASCAR.
It was here Obama stood with the state’s former governor Mark Warner, himself engaged in a race for the U.S. Senate. As much as I don’t get why NASCAR’s considered a sport, it’s difficult to honestly and truly understand what’s happened to a town like this. A town built on manufacturing has been leveled by companies who’ve moved their operations overseas. In many ways Martinsville and towns like it are the frontline of this campaign. It might seem like difficult terrain for a candidate that’s been painted as an elitist, but Obama’s been on this terrain before. Running for U.S. Senate, he overwhelmingly won over white male voters in Southern Illinois who voted Republican their entire lives. Now on the national stage he must do the same–making sure they can relate to him and his ideals, making this contest Obama’s race to win.
Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

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Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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