Political Asylum — August 28, 2012, 2:43 pm

We Can’t Be Zeros

There is talk at the convention about the lack of a Republican minority vote, and of course almost no visible minorities can be found on the floor, which appears instead to be a stimulus program for bow tie shops and purveyors of seersucker fabric. One stat you hear, but no one laughs about, is that according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Mitt Romney is losing the African-American vote by a margin of 94 percent to 0 percent. Statistically speaking, Romney is pulling a zero. (John McCain earned 4 percent of the African-American vote, George W. Bush 9 percent.) So, yesterday, far away from prime-time television, Herman Cain raged before a Republican audience about the number. “I am not,” he said, “a zero.” The third-string gag writers were invited to take over from there.

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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