2008 Presidential Election, Race and Racism
Professor Vernellia Randall
Speaking Truth to Power!

Race And The Obama Campaign


Send Letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton:
United States Must be fully Participate in United Nations Conference
 on Eliminating Racism (Durban Review).



Home March 13,2008 Hillary Clinton and Gearldine Ferraro     February 26, 2008 - Tim Russert;     February 21, 2008 - Bill O'Reilly;       February 20, 2008 - Bill O'Reilly;          January 30, 2008 - National Organization of Women - New York;          January 15, 2008  - MSBNC, Brian Williams and Tim Russert Discussion Forum
This site focuses on one issue: racial inequality. It does not endorse or oppose any party or any candidate.


Home                                                    x
Worst Person                               x
Institutional Racism                                    x
Inequalities & the Election                                  x
Race and Racism                              x
Racial Groups                                       x
World Perspective                               x
NAACP Questionnaire                            x
Primaries and Caucuses                             x
Site Map
This website is always under construction please email me  relevant links related to any of the candidates or to race and racism and the election.
African Americans                                         X
Asian Americans                                                   X
European Americans                         X
Latino(a) Americans                                          x
Native Americans                                 x
Pacific Islanders                                       x
Institutional Racism                                     x
01 Race and Racism                                     x
02 Citizenship Rights                                     x
03 Justice                                     x
04 Basic Needs                                     x
05 Intersectionality                                     x
06 Worldwide                                     x

Joe Rothstein
Editor, USPolitics.einnews. com January 14, 2008

When the candidates for president say they want to bring "change" to the White House, not a one of them, in either party, could pull off the change an Obama presidency could bring.

A black man as president of the United States? It's hard to top that for change. Up until now Obama's blackness has been treated by most political commentators as more of a curiosity than a central campaign issue. But the New Hampshire results provided a jarring reality check. Racism may be muted in the United States, but it's still with us a fact of political life.

One of the first campaigns I worked on as a political consultant was a special election for Congress in Alaska. My candidate was an Athabascan Indian. Every poll we had in that campaign showed us with a 10 point or better lead. But we lost. It was my first lesson that poll respondents don't volunteer their prejudice when being interviewed. Years later I worked with Doug Wilder in Virginia. Again we had strong poll numbers. But when Virginians voted it took a recount to confirm Wilder's election as governor.

There are so many examples of black candidates not running as strongly as their poll numbers that poll takers routinely build in a discount factor to their results when weighting actual interviews. That's a significant little secret most people didn't know until the polling firms scrambled to explain the New Hampshire results.

In Iowa, Obama actually ran better than advance polling suggested. But Iowa didn't have an election in the traditional sense. No one in Iowa's caucuses could vote by secret ballot and hide their prejudices.

Since New Hampshire, many have been tip-toeing around the obvious truth: race determined the outcome. The race-based vote wasn't large, but it was enough to tip the balance and to breathe new life into the Clinton campaign.

In South Carolina, race is front and center. Clinton and Obama have been openly competing for the black vote, and as that state's January 19 election nears, the majority of the state's black voters are lining up behind Obama. In fact, one of Obama's claims on the presidential nomination is that he can bring out enough black voters in November to turn some southern states blue.

The racial divide that still exists in the U.S. is recognized more by blacks than whites. Responding to a CNN poll conducted about this time last year, 49 percent of the blacks interviewed said racism is a "very serious" problem, while only 18 percent of whites shared that view.

When TV shows reach out to interview black leaders they invariably call on Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or Andrew Young as the most recognizable voices on racial issues. Significantly, not a one of them is supporting Obama. Young is backing Clinton; Jackson and Sharpton haven't declared for either candidate.

Shelby Steele, a black academic who has written widely about race relations, was interviewed by Bill Moyers on Moyers' PBS Journal last week and expressed the opinion that the Obama phenomenon is threatening to the nation's civil rights leadership. That leadership, he argues, derives much of its power from the angry chip many blacks carry on their shoulders from centuries of abuse.

Steele characterizes the Obama message as a new bargain with the white community that goes like this: you forget I'm black and I'll forget you're a racist.

If Obama's message succeeds, says Steele, the old civil rights leadership will lose the power that comes through confrontation.

Beyond the familiar leadership faces, race is very much a factor for ordinary black voters. For most of 2007 black voters were reluctant to jump on Obama's bandwagon simply because they felt he had no chance to win and were concerned with what an Obama campaign might do to distort racial relations.

But something happened after Iowa. When Bill Clinton characterized the Obama campaign as a "fairy tale," that was widely interpreted in the black community as Clinton dismissing the idea that a black can be elected president. That's an idea with a lot of currency among blacks, but it landed on them harshly when a prominent white---particularl y Bill Clinton---said it. Clinton has been scrambling ever since to attribute other meanings to his comment.

Then Hillary Clinton compounded her husband's error by suggesting that Lyndon Johnson had more to do with passage of landmark civil rights legislation than Martin Luther King. Her statement, along with Bill Clinton's are readily explainable in non-racist terms, but both comments swim in a sea of electro-charged sensitivity serving to bond black voters to Obama, just as we are witnessing the first indications of white flight away from him.

The idea of a mixed race, former community organizer from the Chicago streets, with a middle name identical to Iraq's former dictator, rising to take on and defeat entrenched political power and be the leader of the free world could well be considered a fairy tale. One that could melt old ideas of what's possible in American politics, and, quite possibly, what's possible in American government.

That would be change like this nation has seldom seen. It's making a lot of people, both whites and blacks, very anxious. But there's no escaping the fact that race is emerging from the shadows of this campaign and over the next few weeks it will likely determine the Democratic nomination, and possibly the presidency.

Joe Rothstein, editor of US Politics Today, is a former daily newspaper editor and long-time national political strategist based in Washington, D.C.


Discussion Forum

This Page Last Updated:
Thursday, July 03, 2008  

You are visitor number
Hit Counter  
Since January 9, 2008


Submit for Periodic Updates
Update List

DEMOCRATIC                   x
Obama                                                    x
REPUBLICAN                            x
McCain                                                    x
McKinney                                         x

This website is always under construction please email me  relevant links related to any of the candidates or to race and racism and the election.
Minnesota Public Radio                        x
WQAD  TV                             x
Australia - US Survey                                 X


Same level:
Hillary-Obama feud shifts focus from black issues ] The Blight That Is Still With Us ] The Maturity or Masking of America ] We are not in a post-racial America ] Playing Against a Stacked Deck ] Echoes Of Tom Bradley ] Racism and Sexism in Election 2008 ] Women Turn on Oprah ] Give Candidates the MLK Test ] Why Should We Care About Racial Inequality per se? ] As Obama Rises, Old Guard Civil Rights Leaders Scowl ] The Independent (New York)  Racist Parody of Obama ] [ Race And The Obama Campaign ] Racism and Presidential Elections Since 1964: A Short History ] Katrina and the 2008 Elections ] Oprah and The Dangers of a Life of Race Neutrality ] Casting a Black President ] Selected Quotes on New Racial Politics ] A Parable of Politics and Race in America ] A Parable of Race and Politics ] CNN-CBC Democratic Debate on MLK Day ] Obama, Oprah, Cosby: Invisible Bargainers ] Avoidance is our answer to tough racial issues ] Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr. & The "Post Racial" Fairy Tale ] Triple Evils: Militarism, Racism, Economic Exploitation ] Playing the Race Game in South Carolina ] Racism in Post-Racial America ]
Child Level:
Home ] Up ]
Parent Level:
What is Institutional Racism? ] Institutional Racism in America ] January 2008 Articles ] March 2008 Articles ] Racial Inequality in America ] February 2008 Articles ]
[Race and Racial Groups] [Citizenship Rights]  [Justice and Race] [Patterns of Basic Needs] [Intersectionality Issues] [Human Rights]

Always Under Construction!

Always Under Construction!

Copyright @ 2008
Vernellia Randall. All Rights Reserved

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, some material on this website is provided for comment, background information, research and/or educational purposes only, without permission from the copyright owner(s), under the "fair use" provisions of the federal copyright laws. These materials may not be distributed for other purposes without permission of the copyright owner(s).


Last Updated:
Tuesday, April 07, 2009  

You are visitor number
Hit Counter  
Since January 9, 2008