Thursday, April 24, 2008


Going into the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, Barack Obama is still the frontrunner for Democrat presidential candidate. When the feverish primary campaigning and debates began early in 2007, the pundits had all but sent out invitation to Hilllary Clinton's coronation.A substantial number of Americans didn't even know who the hell Barack Obama was. Now he's on the verge of running for president. The big question is: Should he get his party's nomination, can an African American be elected President of the United States in 2008?

Obama's main support has come from African Americans (no surprise) who have given him 95% of their votes.His second largest block of supports have been young people, particularly those of college age. But to win in November, he would require support from a much broader section of the electorate. That gives rise to a second question: How many white Americans are prepared to cast their presidential vote for a black man?

It is one thing to cast a vote for an African American in a primary contest; afterall, it doesn't put him in the White House; it merely makes him eligible for residency. It is quite another thing to cast a vote in a general election, where the votes do determine the next White House occupant. Given the history of this country, I truly believe that when it comes time to cast that vote, many white Americans will have second thoughts and serious misgivings about casting their vote for an African American.

The polls, in my opinion, will not give an accurate picture.Cowed by political correctness and a desire to avoid coming off like a racist and bigot, I believe many whites will tell pollsters that they would cast a vote for Obama. As a result, virtually all the polls will overestimate the strength of Obama's support among white voters. I am not suggesting that the vast majority of white Americans are racially biased and will cast their vote on the basis of skin color. I am saying that a signifigant number of whites will vote on that basis.

Of course there are many diverse factors and issues other than race that will influence a person's choice of candidate. What we can be sure of is race has been and will continue to be a major issue in the political life of America.

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