Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's endorsement of his fellow Rhodes scholar, Bill Clinton, may nail down a number of Baltimore votes in next Tuesday's Maryland primary, but the key to the election could well lie in the Washington suburbs. That's where one third of the Democratic votes will be cast. That's where politicians who have signed on to the Clinton campaign have good reason to wonder just how the party rank-and-file will vote.
To wonder and to worry. Voting patterns in New Hampshire made it pretty clear that the more upscale and suburban a precinct, the more likely it will wind up in the camp of Paul E. Tsongas, currently Mr. Clinton's chief rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. So it was logical for the Arkansas governor to go after the urban vote.
Mr. Clinton's efforts to identify himself with the aspirations of black Americans comes naturally to a Democratic politician of the New South. Large numbers of segregationists have drifted off to the Republican Party, where they are being wooed by Pat Buchanan and David Duke. Large numbers of once-disenfranchised black voters have become pivotal in Southern elections. In his years as governor of Arkansas, Mr. Clinton has appointed many African Americans to high office. But he also has backed the death penalty and has not altered Arkansas' position as a right-to-work state without a civil rights law -- positions that do not go down well in black communities everywhere.