WHITE REPUBLICANS' BLACK REPUBLICAN PROBLEM. Here's an interesting preview of a forthcoming article by a Yale economist demonstrating that "white Republicans nationally are 25 percentage points more likely on average to vote for the Democratic senatorial candidate when the GOP hopeful is black," and that there is no noticeable boost in black voter turnout when the Republican candidate is black. Similar findings also apply to House and gubernatorial races. The sample size for black GOP senatorial candidates is, needless to say, limited -- the economist, Ebonya Washington, identified and analyzed five such races between 1982 and 2000. I know Alan Keyes's senatorial bids in Maryland account for two of them; anyone know what the other three races were?

The study is obviously relevant to both Michael Steele's Senate bid in Maryland and Ken Blackwell's gubernatorial race in Ohio this year. But of course, as Alec showed in our last print issue, Steele's campaign currently has plenty of other problems that go beyond white Republicans' difficulties with black candidates. It's never good to violate the time-honored "don't make off-the-wall Holocaust comparisons in front of a bunch of Jews" rule of American politics, for example.

--Sam Rosenfeld