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Sir Charles Speaks

""I was a Republican until they lost their minds," says Barkley, who's at least claiming to be considering a run for governor of Alabama. I think Democrats should try harder to recruit more sports stars to run for office . . . given the demographics of pro sports it's got to lean in that direction, and I think athletes tend to have a lot of the qualities that voters (mostly wrongly, but that's a different issue) look for in a politician.

July 27, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

What are these qualities that athletes have that people are looking for?

Please, don't list "charisma" as one.

Posted by: Blaha | Jul 27, 2006 12:34:58 PM

I wonder whether most sports stars are Democrats. They're also very rich. I remember a sports magazine photo of athletes in Congress, and I think there may have been one or two Democrats, and like five Republicans.

I hope that Kyle Orton gains some skills over the next few seasons -- the guy is apparently the son of Iowa's labor commissioner, and he wants to go into Democratic politics once his football career is done.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jul 27, 2006 12:39:28 PM

Redskins world-historical bust Heath Shuler (who was much better as a high school player in the district and as a college QB right across the state line) is probably going to be the next congressman from the NC-11, running as a pro-life Democrat. I'm baffled as to why Matt thinks most professional athletes lean Dem, though. They've got millions and millions of dollars; what's the overall breakdown of partisan affiliation among the rich?

Posted by: Steve | Jul 27, 2006 12:49:40 PM

The relevant question is: what is the partisan affiliation of rich blacks?

Posted by: Al | Jul 27, 2006 1:02:42 PM

world-historical bust Heath Shuler

That's beautiful.

The relevant question is: what is the partisan affiliation of rich blacks?

No, that's not quite right either. It's, "What is the partisan affiliation of rich African-Americans that come from, and often have family and friends remaining in, pretty desperate poverty?"

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jul 27, 2006 1:23:58 PM

"What is the partisan affiliation of rich African-Americans that come from, and often have family and friends remaining in, pretty desperate poverty?"

We're slicing it finer and finer here... I wonder what are the financial and family circumstances of most rich (non-athlete) blacks? Do you think that they mostly come from wealthy families and have no family or friends in poverty? Genuine question - I don't know.

Posted by: Al | Jul 27, 2006 1:31:43 PM

i could be wrong, but it seems like most pro athletes seem to be republican, or at least republican leaning (watts). athletes, particularly in sports like football, seem more likely to be conservative, because they likely will believe in authority (coaches), that hard work leads to success (even if they're genetic freaks), that unfairness is a fact of life (you can't just dictate that everyone be a star or that everyone start, we all have our role to play, etc.). and they're rich. so i would think successful athletes less likely to lean lefty (they have little reason, and it likely doesn't fit their world view very well). don't get me wrong, there are some notable athletes who are lefty, but they seem to be the exception (at least, they often claim as much and are frustrated with their "peers"). maybe this changes by sport, though.

Posted by: dj superflat | Jul 27, 2006 1:47:33 PM

Athletes like Steve Nash and Etan Thomas who are educated and politically aware skew left. But the majority are mealticket meatheads who trade on their brawn and follow the party line of God, Country, & Capitalism like the rest of Amurrica. There was an interesting article on this on espn p. 2 I think with a breakdown of sports figures' political spending... i will look for it. In summation: most are apathetic, default macho right wingers. The smart ones get ostracized for having opinions, and I needn't go back as far as Muhammad Ali, who had his own show going.

Posted by: greg | Jul 27, 2006 1:47:56 PM

not to be difficult, but are you aware that many studies show republicans have the same if not higher levels of education and intelligence than democrats? that is, i'm not sure how you can assume/assert that the other sports guys are republican leaning just because they're meatheads. put another way, do you think on average that an african american in the NFL is more educated and aware of what's going on in the world than (e.g.) someone living in the projects? the NFL guy has some college, has travelled around the US at least, has smart, educated advisers (agents, etc.), has a fairly complex, involved job (NFL schemes aren't particularly simple, he has to handle media interview, etc.). so he's likely to be better educated, more worldly than (e.g.) an african american male working at mcdonalds in baltimore (who almost certainly votes democratic, if he votes at all). i think you're just assuming what you want to be true (that if they thought about it, athletes would skew democrat).

Posted by: dj superflat | Jul 27, 2006 2:56:20 PM

I thought the thing was that high school dropouts and people with postgraduate education were the most Democratic, while things get more Republican the closer you get to the middle.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jul 27, 2006 2:59:28 PM

that may be right (rings a bell), but still doesn't suggest that jocks would be republican just because they're meatheads (nash and e. thomas certainly don't have post-grad degrees, nor have i seen anything to indicate either is particularly intelligent compared to smart people, rather than other athletes). is lynn swan running repub or demo?

Posted by: dj superflat | Jul 27, 2006 3:09:33 PM

I'm pretty sure that Neil is right: Republicans are the mediocre majority. And anyone who thinks that African-American players as a whole wouldn't vote primarily for Democrats is, absent some serious proving, to be treated as crazy. The subset of African-American players who actually vote? Don't know.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jul 27, 2006 3:10:06 PM

Here is a USA Today article on the subject.

Campaign contributions from athletes were pretty minimal in 2004. Tom McMillen says: "In general, I'd say most (pro athletes) aren't that interested...It's very much of a rarity. There's a lot of self-absorption in sports."

"Among those athletes and coaches who have donated to presidential candidates, Bush is the overwhelming choice."

Someone says that "Athletes tend to be conscious in particular of tax policy...In general, they're very much in favor of lower taxes, with their salaries. That can put them on the Republican side."

Posted by: Christopher M | Jul 27, 2006 3:10:49 PM

And really, the larger matter is that 82 games has just convincingly demonstrated both that Game 5 was fixed as a part of some sort of Iran-Contra-like deal involving Venezuela and Iraq, and that Pat Riley is identified in both the Bible and Don Quijote as a minor dybbuk.

Which is to say, if you support the Heat, or supported the Heat and have not since repented, you're going to Hell.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jul 27, 2006 3:13:59 PM

that 82games analysis is way cool. i understand all about confirmation bias and true randomness (which means its entirely possible it's just random that (e.g.) MJ got the benefit of calls, etc.), but can't shake the feeling something's wrong where there are so many notable examples of NBA games turning on questionable calls that seemingly favor the league's favorite (i.e., shaq's team). that is, people often think their team was jobbed by an NFL ref, but rarely think conspiracy. the NBA's gotta figure out a way to get rid of some of this, lest they go the way of cycling or somesuch (cause if it's ever true, even once, it will seemingly vindicate years of speculation). though it might be good for ratings, who knows. i also realize it's silly to think the league would try to manipulate outcomes, where they have far less at stake than gamblers.

Posted by: dj superflat | Jul 27, 2006 3:23:22 PM

Steve Nash and Etan Thomas and Carlos Delgado and others are politically more astute and involved than most. Intelligence is not proportional to level of education. Engaging your mind, thinking critically, and questioning assumptions are sings of intelligence. Mario Andretti giving money to Bush because he's rich is not; that's just avarice. Same with the jocks who vote bush to 'fight terror' and 'defend freedom.' That's just lockstep idiocy.

Posted by: Greg | Jul 27, 2006 3:29:03 PM

Lynn Swann has the Republican nomination for governor in PA. After some early good polls, he's losing to Rendell by a lot.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jul 27, 2006 3:55:04 PM

And really, the larger matter is that 82 games has just convincingly demonstrated both that Game 5 was fixed

Convincingly demonstrated? I don't think so. It's based on the guy's subjective interpretation of whether the calls were good or bad. It's not any more convincing than any other demonstration.

Posted by: Al | Jul 27, 2006 4:07:22 PM

Convincingly demonstrated? I don't think so. It's based on the guy's subjective interpretation of whether the calls were good or bad. It's not any more convincing than any other demonstration.

Al, you jackass. I tied the game to a Venezuela-Iraq deal to indicate overstatement. Perhaps, as a Republican, you think any allegation that ties together any two American "enemies" is on its face convincing. In which case, I should have factored that in, and my bad.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jul 27, 2006 4:59:54 PM

Two factors probably determine party affiliations of porfesional athletes: (1) they owe their economic success to the strength of their labor unions. (2) they owe their athletic success to Jesus. Since these factors lead to opposite party identifications, it's not surprising that athletes may run on either ticket.

Posted by: arthur | Jul 27, 2006 5:01:24 PM

SCMT: the part of your post after the section I quoted was gobbledygook.

Posted by: Al | Jul 27, 2006 5:18:06 PM

the part of your post after the section I quoted was gobbledygook.

Damn it. I can't tell if you're teasing me. It was supposed to be gobbledygook.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jul 27, 2006 5:37:46 PM

Adonal Foyle: I assume that he is/would be a Democrat.

FWIW, about 99% of the PGA is conservative Republican Shocking!). Billy Andrade is a notable exception. I am not sure that Tiger is out of the politcal closet one way or the other. Fuzzy Zoeller wonders why people bitch about W: after all, America has never had it so good.

Posted by: Nat | Jul 27, 2006 6:26:00 PM

Interestingly, both the Chuckster in specific, and the NBA in general, were overwhelmingly in the John Edwards camp in the '04 primary race.

Hence, NBA players are smarter than the average Democrat.

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As to Matt's larger point: yes, it'd be a really good development if Democrats were more amenable to recruiting and running celebrities in general, not just athletes. The GOP has had a celebrity candidate advantage for some time now, and it's been good for them.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 27, 2006 6:29:23 PM

http://www.newsmeat.com/sports_political_donations/

An interesting site for looking at political donors. It shows Barkley's $2,000 to Edwards in '04 was his only contribution to either party. Matt will be excited to know that Pat Riley gives 0% to the Republicans; Alonzo gives 100% to Democrats; and David Stern has given almost 700k to Democrats since 1984.

Click on the player's name to see the campaigns to which they contributed.

Posted by: Just Karl | Jul 27, 2006 10:44:03 PM

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