The Obama Effect

Could race give us an Obama Effect?
Could race give us an Obama Effect?

Concerning Election 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain there are a lot of issues that voters and the American public speak on.  Some more prominent than others.  There is one issue that is rarely talked about between the two campaigns.  It comes up in the media every so often, but it remains taboo.  We’ve all heard it talked about.  The United States of America is on the verge of picking an African-American as president for the first time in its history.

Sometimes known as the big pink elephant in the room, one clear difference between Barack Obama and John McCain is the color of their skin.  Neither campaign wants to spend any significant time on the subject, and as a whole, America would like to say that we can look beyond race, but how possible could that be when there are still so many people in our country who look at race, saying it matters to them specifically when it comes to voting for president of the United States of America.

Barack Obama himself has said, “I know there are some people who won’t vote for me because I’m black, and that’s ok.”  The unfortunate thing about this is that it is okay.  But what’s even worse is when people who aren’t being truthful to themselves.  They say he’s an Arab, a terrorist, a Muslim, a socialist, etc.  They come up with a number of reasons why they do not want to vote for him, when it really is the underlined truth of why they don’t want to vote for him. 

But as we come towards a close in this political season that will end in less that a month, we see Senator Obama building a lead that is getting bigger.  Will it be enough?  You may or may not have heard the term “The Bradley Effect” before.  But do you think that will come in to play in this election?  Back in 1982 when African-American Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley was running for governor of California against a Caucasian rival, polls had him out to an early lead.  It was a sure thing that many people would have thought that a win by Bradley was going to be the outcome.  Election day came and things didn’t turn out as they had predicted.  Bradley lost by a slim margin.  The possible explanation could have been the alleged tendency of some voters to tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, but when it comes down to it on election day they vote for the white opponent.  It is said they give false responses to polls because they do not want to give the appearance of being racially motivated.

The Bradley Effect is also known as the Wilder Effect, after a similar election for the governorship of Virginia, but Douglas Wilder managed to squeak out a slim victory after being expected winner by a large margin.  Could November 2008 give us a new term of the Obama Effect?  A new Newsweek poll says Obama is ahead by ten points.  Even if that lead does last, will it be enough?  And how much will the skin color of Barack Obama play into how many people vote or not vote for him?  We would like to think that our country has come a long way, but you still have to wonder when you hear people say outright they will not vote for Obama because he’s black.  And that number could be in the millions.

Not for nothin’, but Caucasian candidates or Caucasians in general do not have to thing about race on a consistent basis.  Black people, on the other hand do.  The issue shouldn’t be put on a back-burner, but instead confronted head on similar to the civil rights movement years ago.  Obama was once already forced to confront the issue of race back in a speech last March when issues with his divisive preacher Jeremiah Wright became public.  Senator Obama is doing what he sees is the best way for him to handle the issue.  I’m not saying that he’s wrong, but I feel bad when I think of the number of Americans out there are simply not right.

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