Thursday, November 27, 2008

How Obama Won - Excerpt from Chapter 5


The Catch 22 Black Vote

In exit polls before the May 6, 2008 North Carolina Democratic presidential primary nearly a quarter of black voters flatly said that race was the biggest factor in their vote. Obviously that meant race motivated them to vote for Obama. The percent of them who said race drove them to Obama dwarfed the percent of whites who said that race was a factor, and presumably that meant that they voted for Clinton.

The white and black racial divide was virtually frozen and predictable for Clinton and Obama from the start of their primary battles. More than ninety percent of blacks backed Obama and the overwhelming majority of whites backed Clinton. But it was his black support that was the most compelling and problematic for him and the Democrats.

Black Obama supporters treated has candidacy as a virtual messianic holy calling. Black church leaders came close to a dive off the deep end by shouting out his name with that of Jesus. Obama furor among blacks was so great that the not inconsiderable number of black Clinton supporters were bullied and harangued as racial traitors. Former BET founder and billionaire businessman Bob Johnson also took heavy heat from many blacks when he publicly went to bat for Clinton. The unprecedented chest thumping pride, even mania that Obama stirred among throngs of blacks was easy to understand. He was the Democrat that blacks desperately longed for to come along and wipe away the horrid taste of the Bush years. And he was a black man who they saw who could actually win the big prize.

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